4 Now when Ammon and his brethren saw this work of destruction among those whom they so dearly beloved, and among those who had so dearly beloved them—for they were treated as though they were angels sent from God to save them from everlasting destruction—therefore, when Ammon and his brethren saw this great work of destruction, they were moved with compassion, and they said unto the king:
5 Let us gather together this people of the Lord, and let us go down to the land of Zarahemla to our brethren the Nephites, and flee out of the hands of our enemies, that we be not destroyed.
The journeys in the Book of Mormon began for many reasons:
- Lehi left Jerusalem because the Lord warned him that he and his family were in danger (1 Nephi 2:2).
- Zeniff joined a group traveling to Lehi-Nephi to live in the land of their ancestors (Omni 1:27).
- Limhi and Alma both led their people out of captivity after waiting for an opportunity to escape (Mosiah 22:11-13, Mosiah 24:19-22).
In the passage above, we see what prompted Ammon and his brothers to lead the Lamanite believers to Zarahemla. It all began with compassion. Ammon and his brothers saw their fellow believers being persecuted for their religious belief and wanted to do something about it.
Genuine compassion motivates action. When we see other people experiencing adversity, and when we feel empathy toward them, we naturally want to do something to alleviate their suffering. Ammon and his brothers proposed a plan to the king: gather the believers and relocate to the land of the Nephites. The king was skeptical but agreed to the plan if Ammon could confirm it was in accordance with God’s will. In answer to Ammon’s prayer, the Lord said:
Get this people out of this land, that they perish not; for Satan has great hold on the hearts of the Amalekites, who do stir up the Lamanites to anger against their brethren to slay them; therefore get thee out of this land; and blessed are this people in this generation, for I will preserve them (Alma 27:12).
Today, I will pay attention to the needs of the people around me. When I see someone in need, and when I can do something to help, I will act on those feelings of empathy and do what I can to help them with their challenges. I will allow my heart to be “moved with compassion,” just as the hearts of Ammon and his brothers were.