Ammonites (Book of Mormon)

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According to the Book of Mormon, the Ammonites (/ˈæmənt/)[1] were a group of Lamanites who had been converted to the religion of the Nephites by the missionary efforts of Ammon and his brothers. They rejected the traditions of their fathers and embraced the traditions of the Nephites. To distinguish themselves from the Lamanites, they took upon themselves the name Anti-Nephi-Lehies.

History of the Ammonites[edit]

Prior to their conversion, the Ammonites were Lamanites, traditional enemies of the Nephites, and they had taken part in wars and battles against the Nephites. Following their conversion, they felt that their past sins were so great that they took a vow to never shed blood again and to avoid all forms of warfare, even in their own defense. To indicate the serious covenant they were making to this end, they buried all their weapons deep in the ground.

Forced from their homeland by their former Lamanite brethren, the Ammonites were re-located to the Nephite land of Jershon and the Nephites took up their defense in their behalf. The Ammonites, in return, provided provisions and material to help support the Nephite armies. When the Nephite and Lamanite nations entered into escalated warfare, the Anti-Nephi-Lehies volunteered to help the Nephites fight. Helaman, who was the leader of the church at that time, forbade them from doing so for fear that God would punish them for breaking their oath. Instead, they sent their sons who had not taken their oath to fight under the command of Helaman. This group was called the two thousand stripling warriors.

Names of the Ammonites[edit]

The name that the converted Lamanites chose to discern themselves from the Lamanites was Anti-Nephi-Lehi.[2] Nephi and his father Lehi were the original leaders that lead their family out of Jerusalem and, guided by God, travelled to the Americas. "Anti" here does not appear to be the modern prefix meaning "opposed to", unless used in an unusual sense,[3] but might refer to acceptance or joining together.[4]

Following their relocation to the land of Jershon they were known by the Nephites as the people of Ammon,[5] which was first shortened to Ammonites in Alma 56:57.[6]


  1. ^ "Book of Mormon Pronunciation Guide" (retrieved 2012-02-25), IPA-ified from «ăm´a-nīt(s)»
  2. ^ Alma 23:17)
  3. ^ "Commentary on Alma 23:17". Retrieved 2018-02-05. According to Hugh Nibley, the name Anti-Nephi-Lehi means Nephi brought face to face, or joined together with the other descendants of Lehi...
    According to Kent Jackson and Darrell Matthews, the precise meaning of the name Anti-Nephi-Lehies is not known, but it appears that the Lamanite converts chose it because they desired a name that would identify them as descendants of Lehi who were not descendants of Nephi.
  4. ^ Book of Mormon student manual: Religion 121-122. Salt Lake City, Utah: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 2009. p. 207.
  5. ^ Alma 27:26
  6. ^ Alma 56:57 ... and the remainder I took and joined them to my stripling Ammonites, and took our march back to the city of Judea.