5 And it came to pass that Akish sought the life of his father-in-law; and he applied unto those whom he had sworn by the oath of the ancients, and they obtained the head of his father-in-law, as he sat upon his throne, giving audience to his people.
6 For so great had been the spreading of this wicked and secret society that it had corrupted the hearts of all the people; therefore Jared was murdered upon his throne, and Akish reigned in his stead.
7 And it came to pass that Akish began to be jealous of his son, therefore he shut him up in prison, and kept him upon little or no food until he had suffered death.
8 And now the brother of him that suffered death, (and his name was Nimrah) was angry with his father because of that which his father had done unto his brother.
Sustainable leadership is built on love, mutual respect, and honesty. Unsustainable leadership is built on coercion, intimidation, and fear. As Moroni surveys the political struggles of the Jaredite civilization, he lingers on a king who was particularly wicked and whose reign was particularly damaging. Akish was hired by his father in law, Jared, to murder Jared’s father, Omer, who was the king. Omer escaped with some of his family, but he lost the throne, and Jared became king. Akish quickly realized that if he could depose one king, he could use the same methods to depose another, and he agreed with his former conspirators to murder Jared, so that Akish himself could be king. Predictably, after achieving this goal, Akish became suspicious of the people around him. Having obtained this position of authority by dishonorable means, he wondered who might attempt the same against him. His harsh treatment of one of his sons led to his death and caused his other sons to rebel against him. The ensuing civil wars resulted in the destruction of nearly the entire kingdom.
As President Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught in the most recent General Conference:
It is true that fear can have a powerful influence over our actions and behavior. But that influence tends to be temporary and shallow. Fear rarely has the power to change our hearts, and it will never transform us into people who love what is right and who want to obey Heavenly Father.
People who are fearful may say and do the right things, but they do not feel the right things. They often feel helpless and resentful, even angry. Over time these feelings lead to mistrust, defiance, even rebellion (“Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear,” General Conference, April 2017).
President Uchtdorf challenged us to look for cases where “our words, attitudes, or actions are causing fear in others,” and to replace those behaviors with “Christ’s perfect love.” Today, I will be careful to avoid leading by fear. I will remember that any short-term reward from unrighteous leadership is temporary and unsustainable. I will seek instead to follow the example of the Savior and to lead by love.