Friday, September 18, 2015

The Amlicites – Part II

Continuing with the Amlicites and how evil men take over governments as normally good men stand around and watch as evil leaders build a cadre of evil men about them for their own protection and the subjugation of others, even an entire nation.
Throughout history, including that of the Nephites, certain people have always wanted to be popular. Some have tried to go to great lengths to get it—often, however, they are not interested in the people they claim to serve at all, but only in themselves
    Now it was not the intention of Amlici to bring the people of Nephi a better government, nor was it the intention of his followers who wanted him to be their king to think they were helping the people. Nor was it just that the people of Nephi opposed to having kings rule of them, nor their concern with the level of government they were asked to change and the new type of government they were asked to accept.
    It was, as it has always been and always will be, a matter of freedom! After king Mosiah II taught them the principles of leadership, kingship, and following the commandments of God, and most importantly that when a king rules “all his iniquities and abominations, and all the wars, and contentions, and bloodshed, and the stealing, and the plundering, and the committing of whoredoms, and all manner of iniquities which cannot be enumerated” (Mosiah 29:36), and also made clear that “these things ought not to be, that they were expressly repugnant to the commandments of God.”
    And after Mosiah sent his information among the people they were convinced of the truth of his words and they relinquished their desires for a king, and became exceedingly anxious that every man should have an equal chance throughout all the land; yea, “and every man expressed a willingness to answer for his own sins” (Mosiah 29:37).
    One can only wonder at what must have been the full content of Mosiah’s lengthy written message he sent among the people (Mosiah 29:4) that Mormon abridged at this point. The fact that the people understood from what was more fully written that “every man should have an equal chance throughout all the land,” and be responsible for his own acts, would have been a major leap forward in governmental direction at the time.
    We need only recall that sometime around 490 B.C., during the days of Jacob, brother to Nephi and son of Lehi, that a man named Sherem, who is described as “having a perfect knowledge of the language of the people wherefore he could use much flattery and much power of speech” (Jacob 6:4). Sherem’s purpose seems clear that he was after the financial support of the people and in bringing down the church and the people’s belief in the old ways, or religion of their fathers, with him establishing a new, “correct” religion.
On the other hand, Amlici (left) was interested in changing the government back to a kingship and the nation back to a kingdom. And by his cunning, he had drawn many people away after him for he was a wise man in the ways of the world, and a man after the order of Nehor (Alma 2:1). “Now this Amlici had, by his cunning, drawn away much people after him; even so much that they began to be very powerful; and they began to endeavor to establish Amlici to be king over the people” (Alma 2:2).
    Amlici’s progress in convincing the people was alarming to the Nephites and to those who had not been convinced of his persuasions, because they knew that their laws forbid such actions except it be done by the voice of the people (Alma 2:3). To such, the writing on the wall was quite clear—if Amlici, being a wicked person, should gain the voice of the people, he would deprive them of their rights and privileges of the church, for it was clearly his intent to destroy the church of God (Alma 2:4).
    Now there were two political divisions at this time in the Nephite Nation. There were the Amlicites, who thought to make themselves a kingdom, and there were the people of God, who called themselves Nephites (Alma 2:11). On the one hand were those, the Nephites, who supported the government, elected officials, and the way of life their fathers had prepared for them. On the other hand were those who wanted to have a kingdom, elect Amlici king, and gain control over the lives and, evidently, fortunes, of everyone else.
    It had been Amlici’s intention to bring about a vote of the people, evidently believing he had more followers than he had, for when the vote was taken, with every man assembling himself together throughout all the land, every man according to his mind, whether it were for or against Amlici, in separate bodies, having much dispute and wonderful contentions one with another” (Alma 1:5). Finally, when the vote was cast and the ballots laid before the judges, Amlici was defeated in his bid to become king, thwarted by the voice of the people (Alma 1:6-7).
    However, like most despots of the world, the will of the people was meaningless when it went against him. Amlici gathered his people about him who were in his favor, being angry with those who did not vote for him. Amlici was consecrated to be their king, and they took up arms against the Nephites, who were well aware of their intentions. And it was Alma, as Chief Judge, who went up to battle on the hill Amnihu, which was to the east of the River Sidon that ran by the east borders of Zarahemla (Alma 2:15).
Alma sent spies during the night to keep tabs on the Amlicites and on the morrow saw them join with a large Lamanite force
    During the night, when the two armies became separated as the Nephites chased the Amlicites across the hills in a great slaughter, conditions changed and the next day the Nephites realized that Amlici had joined forces with a huge Lamanite army (Alma 2:27) that were attacking Nephite villages, and as a combined force, were heading toward Zarahemla.
    It is not difficult to see that in life, there are two types of people when it comes to the law, government, society, and achieving peace—that is 1) those who believe in the "Rule of Law," and accept the law and make every attempt to live by it; and 2) those who do not believe in the Law, do not accept it except when it serves them well, and make little attempt to live by it unless it leads to their end desires.
    We can also add to that a perspective of people who basically want what they want in life and want to get it the easiest and simplest manner possible. If someone will promise them what they want, it is immaterial who it is that will provide it to them. Nor do they often look very far down the road as to what will be the results of their getting what they wanted, both to themselves, to others, and to their community and country.
    Amlici’s followers wanted a vote brought up before the people regarding the election of Amlici as king. The people rejected that. The followers of Amlici made him their king anyway, and the people rejected that. As king, Amlici led his followers down a path to war that cost most of them their lives.
Amlici wanted to be king and in the end, he and Alma fought against one another with swords and Alma was victorious (Alma 2:31)
    Sherem sought much opportunity that he might come unto Jacob for a confrontation. Jacob ultimately agreed, and the result was that Sherem was shown to be a fraud, an enemy to God, and lost his life. Were it that simple today to expose the frauds in government and those whose will often leads to the destruction of people, communities and nations.

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