I’ve been thinking today about the role of women in the conversion of King Lamoni’s people. Here are some observations:
- After Ammon taught the gospel to Lamoni, the king prayed for mercy. Immediately, “he fell unto the earth, as if he were dead.” In response, “his servants took him and carried him in unto his wife” (Alma 18:42-43). Therefore, Lamoni’s wife, the queen, was responsible to assess his condition and to make decisions about his care while he lay in this comatose state for two days and two nights (Alma 19:1-5). The servants were divided: some thought he was dead and should be buried while others believed he would recover. During this time, while he was being spiritually transformed by the power of God, he was physically dependent on the wisdom and the determination of his wife.
- The queen did not believe he was dead and sought guidance from Ammon. She didn’t know Ammon, but her husband’s servants had told her that he was a prophet. When he told her that Lamoni was not dead and would awaken the following day, she believed him: “I have had no witness save thy word, and the word of our servants; nevertheless I believe that it shall be according as thou hast said” (Alma 19:9). Ammon was amazed by this demonstration of faith.
- When Lamoni regained consciousness, the first person he spoke to was the queen. “Blessed be the name of God, and blessed art thou,” he said. Because of his conversion, he felt a closeness to God, but also a profound appreciation for his wife. Why? Possibly because He recognized God’s love for all His children. But possibly also because of something He had learned about the Savior: “As sure as thou livest,” he said, “behold, I have seen my Redeemer; and he shall come forth, and be born of a woman” (Alma 19:13). Lamoni had seen the crucial role of Mary in the life of the Son of God. Perhaps this gave him a new appreciation for the value of all women.
- Lamoni, his wife, Ammon, and the servants now all fell to the earth, except for one female servant named Abish. She had been converted many years earlier, but had kept it quiet. She now had the power to act on behalf of the king and the queen, bringing the people together, and then taking the queen by the hand and raising her from the ground. The queen shouted words of praise—”O blessed Jesus… O blessed God…”—and lifted her husband from the ground (Alma 19:29).
So even though King Lamoni heard the gospel first from the Nephite missionary Ammon, the majority of his people heard first from the servant Abish, second from the queen, and only after that from Lamoni.
Both women also exercised significant faith and made bold decisions which led to the conversion of many people.
Today, I will remember these lessons from the conversion of Lamoni’s people. I will strive to value women as God does. I will be grateful for the service my wife renders to me and to my family. I will also recognize her accomplishments as she exercises faith, makes difficult decisions, and takes positive action.