“Book of Mormon Story: The Honest People of Ammon,” Friend, Oct. 1996, 48
It is not always easy to be honest and to keep our word. But that is what Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want us to do. When we make a covenant with Them, as we do when we are baptized—the sacrament prayers remind us of our covenant—we show our love for Them when we are honest and keep our part of that covenant.
The people of Ammon were Lamanites who made a special covenant. They had been a wicked, lazy people who killed Nephites and rebelled against God. Then Ammon, Aaron, Omner, and Himni taught them the gospel. When they were converted, they buried their weapons and made a covenant that they would never again shed blood, “that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives; and rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands” (Alma 24:18).
Other Lamanites and their allies hated the people of Ammon for their righteousness and came to battle against them. But the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, as the people of Ammon called themselves, kept their covenant. Rather than fight back, they went out to meet their enemies and fell upon the ground in prayer. The Lamanites killed 1,005 of them, then stopped to think about what they were doing. Many of these Lamanites repented, threw down their weapons, and were converted and joined the people of Ammon.
How courageous the people of Ammon were! It is hard enough to stand up for what we believe and keep our word when we are ridiculed for it, or when we know that we will be punished if we admit we did something wrong. But to die rather than break our word? That is how much the Anti-Nephi-Lehies loved God.