Monday, May 14, 2012

Breaking the taboo in order to save



And Ammon took three of his brethren, and their names were Amaleki, Helem, and Hem, and they went down into the land of Nephi.
 And behold, they met the king of the people who were in the land of Nephi, and in the land of Shilom; and they were surrounded by the king’s guard, and were taken, and were bound, and were committed to prison.
 And it came to pass when they had been in prison two days they were again brought before the king, and their bands were loosed; and they stood before the king, and were permitted, or rather commanded, that they should answer the questions which he should ask them.
 And he said unto them: Behold, I am Limhi, the son of Noah, who was the son of Zeniff, who came up out of the land of Zarahemla to inherit this land, which was the land of their fathers, who was made a king by the voice of the people.
 10 And now, I desire to know the cause whereby ye were so bold as to come near the walls of the city, when I, myself, was with my guards without the gate?
 11 And now, for this cause have I suffered that ye should be preserved, that I might inquire of you, or else I should have caused that my guards should have put you to death. Ye are permitted to speak.
 12 And now, when Ammon saw that he was permitted to speak, he went forth and bowed himself before the king; and rising again he said: O king, I am very thankful before God this day that I am yet alive, and am permitted to speak; and I will endeavor to speak with boldness; (Mosiah 7:6-12)

When Ammon and his buddies meet King Limhi and his guards outside the city walls, somehow this is a particularly taboo place and occasion.  It is so boldly taboo that King Limhi specifically tells them that the only reason he kept them alive was to ask them why they were so bold. 

This makes me wonder.  Was external excess to King Limhi so restricted that the only way Ammon would not be killed would be to meet the king when and where he did?  Or did he meet the king at a particularly bad time (and any other time would have been better) and only his boldness about breaking the taboo (on accident) saved him?    I really don’t know.  Either way the Lord brought about the meeting, restrained King Limhi, and kept Ammon and his group alive so that Limhi and his people could ultimately be saved.

It is interesting that in this meeting both Limhi and Ammon are ignorant, and so in a sense, they both wrong each other.  Ammon approaches the king at a bad time and place because he doesn’t know there is anything bad about it.  The king tosses Ammon and his buddies in prison and was very close to killing them because he doesn’t know who they are and what their intentions are.  And yet they are both good and just men.  I suppose this can teach us that sometimes we may wrong each other out of ignorance of the full facts, and the Lord can help us keep from doing something hasty.

Imagine if the king had killed Ammon and his men, the very people who could lead them out of bondage and show them the way to Zarahemla.  It makes me wonder how often we might disregard the very things or people that could help us out of our problems, disregarding them just because they do something out of ignorance at first that offends us?

Another lesson we can get from this story is from Ammon’s viewpoint.  It may be that in order to save people spiritually we have to break some cultural rules against mentioning religion in casual conversation, speaking in times and places that our friends don’t think are the best.