“Serving with Sincerity,” Ensign, Mar. 2003, 36–37
Reading again of Ammon’s brave encounter with the Lamanites at the waters of Sebus reminded me that Ammon did not seek his own glory. Instead of marching triumphantly at the head of the other servants, he went back to the stables and readied the king’s horses for a trip to see Lamoni’s father.
Ammon’s intention upon leaving the land of Zarahemla to live with the Lamanites was to “cure them of their hatred towards the Nephites, that they might also be brought to rejoice in the Lord their God, that they might become friendly to one another, and that there should be no more contentions in all the land” (Mosiah 28:2). Ammon was offered three opportunities for power that would have given him great influence among the Lamanites. First, King Lamoni offered Ammon his daughter to be his wife (see Alma 17:24). Then, after the events at the waters of Sebus, Lamoni offered him anything he desired, including protection by the Lamanite armies (see Alma 18:21). Shortly thereafter, Lamoni’s father offered Ammon anything he asked, up to half the entire kingdom of the Lamanites (see Alma 20:23). All three of these offers could have given Ammon great influence.
Yet Ammon turned down these opportunities. I wondered why, and then I recalled the passage in Doctrine and Covenants 121:41–42 that reads: “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
“By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile.”
I realized that through Ammon’s genuine display of love and dedication, King Lamoni came to realize that Ammon truly wanted to serve him and was not in his kingdom to gain control or to destroy him. Lamoni’s father also came to accept the sincerity of Ammon’s purpose and even asked to be taught the gospel.
Ammon’s love for the Lamanites was sincere. I believe that he was a powerful missionary not because he was physically or mentally strong but because he dealt with others with genuine love.
Julie Cannon Markham, Vienna Ward, Oakton Virginia Stake