Friday, July 13, 2018

Gaining Hearts by Fraud

And the army which pursued after them returned, having pursued after them in vain; and thus Amalickiah, by his fraud, gained the hearts of the people. (Alma 47:30)

And it came to pass that Amalickiah sought the favor of the queen, and took her unto him to wife; and thus by his fraud, and by the assistance of his cunning servants, he obtained the kingdom; yea, he was acknowledged king throughout all the land, among all the people of the Lamanites, who were composed of the Lamanites and the Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites, and all the dissenters of the Nephites, from the reign of Nephi down to the present time. (Alma 47:35)

Mormon points out that Amalickiah gained the hearts of the people and the Lamanite kingdom by fraud.

What is fraud? The dictionary has two definitions. One is about wrongful deception for personal or financial gain. The other is about deceiving others by unjustifiably claiming accomplishments or characteristics, or in other words, by claiming to be what you are not or claiming you can do what you can not.

In what ways did Amalickiah gain the hearts of the people by fraud? Lots of ways, but in just the verses above, he arranged for the Lamanite king to be assassinated, blamed the king’s innocent servants for it, and then, in a show of patriotic outrage, instigated a manhunt for those servants. He pretended loyalty to the king when his true actions were anything but.

How did Amalickiah gain the kingdom by fraud? He sought the favor of the queen and married her, and thereby became her consort. He made himself appear to be a fit husband for a queen to help keep the kingdom together. He may have pretended affection for her or served her enough that she thought he’d be faithful. But it is notable that once he marries her, we hear nothing about the queen ever again, and it is always Amalickiah who is in charge. As for keeping the kingdom together, he starts a propaganda campaign of lies against the Nephites and plunges his people into an unsuccessful war. That’s not the actions of a good king.

I think this fraud is an important thing to notice because we may see people trying to gain favor and win our hearts with fraud. How do we keep from being taken in? I think it is important to be observant, to notice the little things people do, to notice how they act when they think nobody is watching, to see what they say when they aren’t “on” in public, to see if they will sincerely help those who can’t do anything for them, to see if they keep confidences or keep small promises or tell the truth kindly even if it is a painful truth. Big public frauds are built on small private frauds.