The Rise of Amalickiah: Traitor
Of all leaders of the ancient American leaders mentioned of the people referred to in The Book of Mormon, it presents Amalickiah, arguably, as the most ruthless and ambitious! Coming from a culture alien to tyranny, his megalomaniacal reign started in the free society and government he rejected in a quest for absolute power. He thought that somehow he was destined for greater things than to have an equal voice to citizens in a nation full of sheep, the Nephites or their constant rivals, the Lamanites. As with any great ambition, or goal to accomplish it takes a man of vision with an unyielding supply of determination to win the day--exactly what Amalickiah would do by any means necessary!
The Nephite society is an ancient American culture from where The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ comes and contains a lengthy list of heroes and villains. Sometimes, we forget that these are real people who lived and experienced life. The struggles that they had shaped them and their society just as it does in modern times. In one thousand years, will there be a record of this era and its dealings with God? Lets read on about Amalickiah, the anti-hero in his era.
There began to be a great political movement among the Nephites after the departure of Alma following his expropriation of ecclesiastical responsibility to his son Helaman. With a new religious leader and political changes settling from a monarchial system to a republic of democratically elected leaders, Nephi society was rife with change.
Captain Moroni, the leader of the Nephite military, had just led a winning conquest against the enemies of the state, the Lamanites, which sent them scampering back to their own territories in disgrace as Helaman, exercising his new ministerial powers, was in the process of regulating the Church of Godt in Zarahemla, the governmental seat of the Nephite nation.
Alma had been a force among the Nephites for good with his missionary efforts and the fact he was the Chief Judge (similar to a US Supreme Court Justice with executive powers) of the nation for many years. With him gone, it was the perfect opportunity for enterprising people to usurp authority over the people.
Portrayal of Amalickiah
The Influence of Amalickiah
Amalickiah took the opportunity of socio-political changes and shifting among his people to exercise his religious and political rights, with many of his supporters, by leaving the Church of God. The record does not explicitly mention that Amalickiah was a member of the Church; nevertheless, it is likely that he was a member owing to the record stating he recruited many followers from the Church.
Amalickiah wanted to destroy the church, according to Mormon, chief writer of The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. The government and Church supported each other as institutions. Separation of church and state existed as a practice among the Nephites to the extent that the laws of the Church did not dictate the governmental laws; conversely, most of the leaders of the government were members of the dominant religion Christ-centered Judaism. By modern standards, since all the people tended to attend the same church, there existed no separation. Evidence suggests that the laws of the nation and the laws of the Church paralleled for many years until the number of secular Nephites increased to a point where the laws of state and religion could not adequately apply to the citizens—precisely as it is in modern American society. After convincing his followers to betray their religion, his true desire to be elected as King came into view.
A large and strong man in influence and stature is the description Mormon gives Amalickiah physically and inferentially, politically. The people listened to him because he told them what they wanted to hear. Amalickiah promised those who supported his ambitions power and authority in his kingdom.
These power-hungry people assented to this new political ploy designing to go to war, a civil war to make Amalickiah’s desires a reality. Politically, Amalickiah supporters were leaders of the nation. Nephite Dissenters, as Mormon described them, held the positions of lower-level judges of the people (similar to circuit court judges with executive powers). With political influence and power, these people were ready to act.
The fact that their actions stood in defiance of the mandate placed upon the inhabitants of that land from God meant nothing to them; consequently, they successfully ejected themselves from the Church “to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous’ sake,” [Alma 46:10].
Liberty with Her Eyes Wide Open
Anytime a free society’s existence is threatened, the antibodies of resistance form in pockets, then droves to repel the infection of tyranny. Amalickiah did not conduct his political aspirations in a vacuum. He did so openly at variance with the majority of the people of his nation!
King Mosiah, the founding father of the democratic Nephite society, taught the best type of government for the people would be under the leadership of a King if that king we perpetually righteous even through succession. Until that possibility, which he assured would occur during the personal reign of Jesus Christ, he offered the rule of Judges with executive and legislative powers.
Subsequently, the laws guaranteed that all men had equal say in the function of the government in a true democracy. In other words, if the Nephites decided to cast a vote to become a different type of government, say a kingdom, they could do so because they scripted no constitution to indicate otherwise. The law of their nation was majority rules.
Captain Moroni supported a referendum among his compatriots. Every place where there was dissension about the possibility of Amalickiah creating a kingdom the people gathered together to support freedom. Amalickiah shouted his ambitions for regal grandeur only to discover that the people in an overwhelming majority desired to continue with equality. The Nephites, with the help of Captain Moroni who launched a grassroots, counter-political movement called the Title of Liberty, wanted to speak for themselves, freedom!
Abreast of the knowledge that he lost equitably to Liberty, Amalickiah decided to take his political designs and separate from his nation! He and his supporters craved power and authority above liberty and equality.
The Title of Liberty was the new Nephite party movement. Amalickiah’s political efforts galvanized his nation to hoist the title on every rooftop and tower where citizens could gain access. In this political environment, Amalickiah designed to seek shelter among their national enemies, Lamanites.
- Amalickiah and his followers, the Amalickiahites, left the church.
- Amalickiah and his followers wanted absolute rule over the people.
- Amalickiah and his followers dissent when they did not gain the point.
Another article, The Rise of Amalickiah, covering the treachery of Amalickiah and his followers will reveal how this traitor to the Nephites ended up as a trusted member of the King's Court among their enemies the Lamanites.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Rodric Anthony