Chapter 5

  1. And now it came to pass that after king Mosiah had had continual peace for the space of three years, he was desirous to know concerning the people who went up to dwell in the land of Lehi-Nephi, or in the city of Lehi-Nephi; for his people had heard nothing from them from the time they left the land of Zarahemla; therefore, they wearied him with their teasings.
  2. And it came to pass that king Mosiah granted that sixteen of their strong men might go up to the land of Lehi-Nephi to inquire concerning their brethren. And it came to pass that on the morrow they started to go up, having with them one Ammon, he being a strong and mighty man, and a descendant of Zarahemla, and he was also their leader. And now they knew not the course they should travel in the wilderness to go up to the land of Lehi-Nephi; therefore they wandered many days in the wilderness, even forty days did they wander. And when they had wandered forty days, they came to a hill which is north of the land of Shilom, and there they pitched their tents. 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 was 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.
  3. 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. 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. 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.
  4. 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; for I am assured that if ye had known me, ye would not have suffered that I should have wore these bands. For I am Ammon, and am a descendant of Zarahemla, and have come up out of the land of Zarahemla to inquire concerning our brethren whom Zeniff brought up out of that land.
  5. And now it came to pass that after Limhi had heard the words of Ammon, he was exceeding glad and said, Now I know of a surety that my brethren who were in the land of Zarahemla are yet alive. And now I will rejoice, and on the morrow I will cause that my people shall rejoice also. For behold, we are in bondage to the Lamanites and are taxed with a tax which is grievous to be borne. And now behold, our brethren will deliver us out of our bondage, or out of the hands of the Lamanites, and we will be their slaves; for it is better that we be slaves to the Nephites than to pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites.
  6. And now king Limhi commanded his guards that they should no more bind Ammon nor his brethren, but caused that they should go to the hill which was north of Shilom and bring their brethren into the city, that thereby they might eat, and drink, and rest themselves from the labors of their journey, for they had suffered many things; they had suffered hunger, thirst, and fatigue.
  7. And now it came to pass on the morrow, that king Limhi sent a proclamation among all his people, that thereby they might gather themselves together to the temple to hear the words which he should speak unto them. And it came to pass that when they had gathered themselves together, that he spake unto them in this wise, saying, O ye my people, lift up your heads and be comforted. For behold, the time is at hand, or is not far distant, when we shall no longer be in subjection to our enemies; notwithstanding our many strugglings which have been in vain, yet I trust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made. Therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice, and put your trust in God, in that God who was the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and also that God who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, and caused that they should walk through the Red Sea on dry ground, and fed them with manna that they might not perish in the wilderness; and many more things did he do for them. And again, that same God has brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem, and has kept and preserved his people, even until now. And behold, it is because of our iniquities and abominations that has brought us into bondage.
  8. And ye all are witnesses this day that Zeniff, who was made king over this people, he being overzealous to inherit the land of his fathers, therefore being deceived by the cunning and craftiness of king Laman, who, having entered into a treaty with king Zeniff, and having yielded up into his hands the possessions of a part of the land, or even the city of Lehi-Nephi, and the city of Shilom, and the land round about, and all this he did for the sole purpose of bringing this people into subjection or into bondage. And behold, we, at this time, do pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites, to the amount of one half of our corn, and our barley, and even all our grain of every kind, and one half of the increase of our flocks and our herds; and even one half of all we have or possess, the king of the Lamanites doth exact of us — or our lives. And now, is not this grievous to be borne? And is not this our affliction great? Now behold, how great reason have we to mourn. Yea, I say unto you, great are the reasons which we have to mourn. For behold, how many of our brethren have been slain, and their blood has been spilled in vain, and all because of iniquity. For if this people had not fallen into transgression, the Lord would not have suffered that this great evil should come upon them. But behold, they would not hearken unto his words, but there arose contentions among them, even so much that they did shed blood among themselves.
  9. And a prophet of the Lord have they slain, yea, a chosen man of God who told them of their wickedness and abominations, and prophesied of many things which are to come, yea, even the coming of Christ. And because he said unto them that Christ was the God, the Father of all things, and said that he should take upon him the image of man, and it should be the image after which man was created in the beginning, or in other words, he said that man was created after the image of God, and that God should come down among the children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood, and go forth upon the face of the earth — and now because he said this, they did put him to death. And many more things did they do which brought down the wrath of God upon them.
  10. Therefore, who wondereth that they are in bondage and that they are smitten with sore afflictions? For behold, the Lord has said, I will not succor my people in the day of their transgression, but I will hedge up their ways, that they prosper not; and their doings shall be as a stumbling block before them. And again he said, If my people shall sow filthiness, they shall reap the chaff thereof in the whirlwind, and the effect thereof is poison. And again he said, If my people shall sow filthiness, they shall reap the east wind, which bringeth immediate destruction. And now behold, the promise of the Lord is fulfilled, and ye are smitten and afflicted. But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind — if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.
  11. And it came to pass that after king Limhi had made an end of speaking to his people — for he spake many things unto them, and only a few of them have I written in this book — he told his people all the things concerning their brethren who were in the land of Zarahemla. And he caused that Ammon should stand up before the multitude and rehearse unto them all that had happened unto their brethren, from the time that Zeniff went up out of the land even until the time that he himself came up out of the land. And he also rehearsed unto them the last words which king Benjamin had taught them, and explained them to the people of king Limhi so that they might understand all the words which he spake. And it came to pass that after he had done all this, that king Limhi dismissed the multitude and caused that they should return everyone unto his own house.
  12. And it came to pass that he caused that the plates, which contained the record of his people from the time that they left the land of Zarahemla, should be brought before Ammon, that he might read them. Now as soon as Ammon had read the record, the king inquired of him to know if he could interpret languages. And Ammon told him that he could not. And the king said unto him, Being grieved for the afflictions of my people, I caused that forty and three of my people should take a journey into the wilderness, that thereby they might find the land of Zarahemla, that we might appeal unto our brethren to deliver us out of bondage. And they were lost in the wilderness for the space of many days, yet they were diligent, and found not the land of Zarahemla but returned to this land, having traveled in a land among many waters, having discovered a land which was covered with bones of men and of beasts, etc., and was also covered with ruins of buildings of every kind; having discovered a land which had been peopled with a people who were as numerous as the hosts of Israel. And for a testimony that the things that they have said are true, they have brought twenty-four plates which are filled with engravings; and they are of pure gold. And behold also, they have brought breastplates which are large, and they are of brass and of copper, and are perfectly sound. And again they have brought swords; the hilts thereof have perished, and the blades thereof were cankered with rust. And there is no one in the land that is able to interpret the language or the engravings that are on the plates. Therefore, I said unto thee, canst thou translate? And I say unto thee again, knowest thou of anyone that can translate? For I am desirous that these records should be translated into our language, for perhaps they will give us a knowledge of a remnant of the people who have been destroyed, from whence these records came. Or perhaps they will give us a knowledge of this very people who have been destroyed. And I am desirous to know the cause of their destruction.
  13. Now Ammon said unto him, I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look and translate all records that are of ancient date, and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer. And behold, the king of the people who is in the land of Zarahemla is the man that is commanded to do these things, and who has this high gift from God. And the king said that a seer is greater than a prophet. And Ammon said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also. And a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God. But a seer can know of things which have passed, and also of things which are to come. And by them shall all things be revealed, or rather shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known. Thus, God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles. Therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.
  14. And now when Ammon had made an end of speaking these words, the king rejoiced exceedingly and gave thanks to God, saying, Doubtless a great mystery is contained within these plates; and these interpreters were doubtless prepared for the purpose of unfolding all such mysteries to the children of men. Oh how marvelous are the works of the Lord. And how long doth he suffer with his people. Yea, and how blind and impenetrable are the understandings of the children of men, for they will not seek Wisdom, neither do they desire that she should rule over them. Yea, they are as a wild flock which fleeth from the shepherd, and scattereth, and are driven, and are devoured by the beasts of the forest.