23 July 2014

Alma 23: the Anti-Nephi Lehies

Remember king Lamoni's proclamation from the last chapter? We never heard exactly what it was, but it's all explained in the first few verses of Chapter 23. The proclamation was to protect Mosiah's sons. The Lamanites were prohibited from doing the following things to Ammon, Aaron, Omner and Himni (or any other of their preachers):

1. Lay their hands on them
2. Bind them
3. Cast them into prison
4. Spit on them
5. Smite them
6. Cast them out of their synagogues
7. Scourge them
8. Cast stones at them
9. Prevent them from going to their homes, temples, or sanctuaries
Behold, now it came to pass that the king of the Lamanites sent a proclamation among all his people, that they should not lay their hands on Ammon, or Aaron, or Omner, or Himni, nor either of their brethren who should go forth preaching the word of God, in whatsoever place they should be, in any part of their land. 23.1 
Yea, he sent a decree among them, that they should not lay their hands on them to bind them, or to cast them into prison; neither should they spit upon them, nor smite them, nor cast them out of their synagogues, nor scourge them; neither should they cast stones at them, but that they should have free access to their houses, and also their temples, and their sanctuaries. 23.2
This proclamation made it much easier for Aaron and his brothers to do their job. They went freely from city to city, and they started converting thousands of Lamanites. They also established churches and consecrated priests in all the places they visited, so they wouldn't lose members when they went somewhere else to preach. And it worked. They retained every single member that they converted.
And now it came to pass that when the king had sent forth this proclamation, that Aaron and his brethren went forth from city to city, and from one house of worship to another, establishing churches, and consecrating priests and teachers throughout the land among the Lamanites, to preach and to teach the word of God among them; and thus they began to have great success.  23.4 
And thousands were brought to the knowledge of the Lord, yea, thousands were brought to believe in the traditions of the Nephites; and they were taught the records and prophecies which were handed down even to the present time. 23.5 
And as sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them -- yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away. 23.6
Here's the list of people they converted:

1. The people in the land of Ishmael
2. The people in the land of Middoni
3. The people in the city of Nephi
4. The people in the land of Shilom
5. The people in the land of Shemlon
6. The people in the city of Lemuel
7. The people in the city of Shimnilom

Now, these are they who were converted unto the Lord: 23.8 
The people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Ishmael; 23.9  
And also of the people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Middoni; 23.10 
And also of the people of the Lamanites who were in the city of Nephi; 23.11  
And also of the people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Shilom, and who were in the land of Shemlon, and in the city of Lemuel, and in the city of Shimnilom. 23.12
That's a pretty good haul! But not everyone was converted. They had a tough time with the Amalekites--they only converted a single one. But Amalekites are notoriously hard to deal with. 
And the Amalekites were not converted, save only one; neither were any of the Amulonites; but they did harden their hearts, and also the hearts of the Lamanites in that part of the land wheresoever they dwelt, yea, and all their villages and all their cities. 23.14
The Lamanites who had converted had a problem, though. They didn't want to be associated with the other, wicked Lamanites.  They needed a new name... something fresh... snappy... descriptive... something that just rolls of the tongue. The king consulted Aaron and his priests, and they thought long and hard about it. Then they came up with the perfect name: The Anti-Nephi-Lehies! (Luckily for them, the URL antinephilehies.com is still available!)
And now it came to pass that the king and those who were converted were desirous that they might have a name, that thereby they might be distinguished from their brethren; therefore the king consulted with Aaron and many of their priests, concerning the name that they should take upon them, that they might be distinguished. 23.16  
And it came to pass that they called their names Anti-Nephi-Lehies; and they were called by this name and were no more called Lamanites. 23.17
 They worked hard, and became a successful, industrious people. Because of their conversion and name change, God's curse didn't follow them any longer. It's unclear whether or not their skin became lighter after the curse was lifted. We'll get back to that later.
And they began to be a very industrious people; yea, and they were friendly with the Nephites; therefore, they did open a correspondence with them, and the curse of God did no more follow them. 23.18



22 July 2014

Alma 22: Aaron and the King

After Aaron and his brethren were released from prison, they decided to pay a thank-you visit to Lamoni's father, who was king of all the land. 

When they arrived at his palace, they went right up to him, bowed, and offered to become his servants.
Now, as Ammon was thus teaching the people of Lamoni continually, we will return to the account of Aaron and his brethren; for after he departed from the land of Middoni he was led by the Spirit to the land of Nephi, even to the house of the king which was over all the land save it were the land of Ishmael; and he was the father of Lamoni. 22.1 
And it came to pass that he went in unto him into the king's palace, with his brethren, and bowed himself before the king, and said unto him: Behold, O king, we are the brethren of Ammon, whom thou hast delivered out of prison. 22.2 
And now, O king, if thou wilt spare our lives, we will be thy servants. 22.3a
He didn't accept their offer. Instead, he asked why Ammon wasn't with them, and Aaron told him that Ammon was in the land of Ishmael, preaching, and he was too busy to make the trip.
And the king said unto them: Arise, for I will grant unto you your lives, and I will not suffer that ye shall be my servants; but I will insist that ye shall administer unto me; for I have been somewhat troubled in mind because of the generosity and the greatness of the words of thy brother Ammon; and I desire to know the cause why he has not come up out of Middoni with thee. 22.3 
And Aaron said unto the king: Behold, the Spirit of the Lord has called him another way; he has gone to the land of Ishmael, to teach the people of Lamoni. 22.4
The king had a few questions for Ammon. What was the whole "Spirit of the Lord" thing again? And do I have to repent or not? It's all very confusing.
Now the king said unto them: What is this that ye have said concerning the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, this is the thing which doth trouble me. 22.5 
And also, what is this that Ammon said -- If ye will repent ye shall be saved, and if ye will not repent, ye shall be cast off at the last day? 22.6
Aaron answered him, and then asked him if he believed in God. The king gave a real wishy-washy answer, but ended by saying that he would believe if Aaron said that there was a God (and if Aaron pinky-swore).
And Aaron answered him and said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God? And the king said: I know that the Amalekites say that there is a God, and I have granted unto them that they should build sanctuaries, that they may assemble themselves together to worship him. And if now thou sayest there is a God, behold I will believe. 22.7
Aaron told him that God did indeed exist, and then he went on to tell him all about God and the scriptures, going all the way back to the creation of Adam.
And it came to pass that when Aaron saw that the king would believe his words, he began from the creation of Adam, reading the scriptures unto the king -- how God created man after his own image, and that God gave him commandments, and that because of transgression, man had fallen. 22.12 
And Aaron did expound unto him the scriptures from the creation of Adam, laying the fall of man before him, and their carnal state and also the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all whosoever would believe on his name. 22.13  
And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king. 22.14
Then the king asked Aaron about the whole eternal life thing. What would it take for him to join that club? He said that he'd give up his whole kingdom if Aaron could get him into heaven. But Aaron gave him the good news: all he had to do was to bow down before God and repent.
And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy. 22.15
But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest. 22.16
So that's what he did. He lay prostrate upon the floor and made a little speech to God, and then was suddenly struck as though he was dead.
And it came to pass that when Aaron had said these words, the king did bow down before the Lord, upon his knees; yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried mightily, saying: 22.17 
O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day. And now when the king had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead. 22.18
All of the kings servants saw this, and they ran to tell the queen what had happened. She was angry with Aaron--she thought he killed her husband. She ordered her servants to kill Aaron and his friends. None of them were willing, because they knew how powerful Aaron was.
Now the servants had seen the cause of the king's fall, therefore they durst not lay their hands on Aaron and his brethren; and they pled with the queen saying: Why commandest thou that we should slay these men, when behold one of them is mightier than us all? Therefore we shall fall before them. 22.20 
Then the queen told her chicken-shit servants to round up a mob who would do the job. But before she could get her lynch-mob together, Aaron decided to just wake the king up.
Now when the queen saw the fear of the servants she also began to fear exceedingly, lest there should some evil come upon her. And she commanded her servants that they should go and call the people, that they might slay Aaron and his brethren. 22.21 
Now when Aaron saw the determination of the queen, he, also knowing the hardness of the hearts of the people, feared lest that a multitude should assemble themselves together, and there should be a great contention and a disturbance among them; therefore he put forth his hand and raised the king from the earth, and said unto him: Stand. And he stood upon his feet, receiving his strength. 22.22
Everyone was pretty amazed, and they became a little afraid of Alma. But the king calmed them down, and even managed to convert everyone in his household. Quick work!
Now this was done in the presence of the queen and many of the servants. And when they saw it they greatly marveled, and began to fear. And the king stood forth, and began to minister unto them. And he did minister unto them, insomuch that his whole household were converted unto the Lord. 22.23
Around that time, the crowd was starting to gather. The king spoke to them and calmed them down, and then told Alma to start preaching.
Now there was a multitude gathered together because of the commandment of the queen, and there began to be great murmurings among them because of Aaron and his brethren. 22.24 
But the king stood forth among them and administered unto them. And they were pacified towards Aaron and those who were with him. 22.25 
And it came to pass that when the king saw that the people were pacified, he caused that Aaron and his brethren should stand forth in the midst of the multitude, and that they should preach the word unto them. 22.26
Then the king made a proclamation throughout all the land. We never get to hear what exactly the proclamation is, because the author gets sidetracked with a long geography lesson, but that's okay.
The rest of the chapter is pretty dull, unless you are really into speculative Book of Mormon cartography, in which case you can piece together something like this:



Since the journey between the "East Sea" and "West Sea" was only a day and a half journey, it pretty much had to be in Central America. (Unless, you know, this stuff is all just made up.)
And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward. 22.32

21 July 2014

EJ&T: Leviticus 24: Baking cakes, stoning blasphemers, eye for eye and tooth for tooth

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. Bake twelve cakes using two kilograms of flour. Put them in two rows on a table with frankincense on them. Each Sabbath set them before the Lord, where Aaron and his sons (and their descendants) will eat them.
  2. Thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake. And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the LORD. And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD. Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. And it shall be Aaron's and his sons'; and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the LORD made by fire by a perpetual statute. Leviticus 24:5-9

  3. Blasphemers shall be stoned to death.
  4. He that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death. Leviticus 24:16

  5. If you kill someone else's animal, you must replace it.
  6. He that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast. Leviticus 24:17

    He that killeth a beast, he shall restore it. Leviticus 24:21a

  7. If you damage another person, you will be damaged in the same way. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, blemish for blemish.
  8. If a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. Leviticus 24:19-20

  9. The same laws shall apply to foreigners as to those who live in the country.
  10. Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country Leviticus 24:22

20 July 2014

EJ&T: Leviticus 23: Don't make any plans during the seventh month of the year

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. Make a burnt offering every day during the seven-day feast of unleavened bread.
  2. Ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days. Leviticus 23:8

  3. Offer the first fruits of your harvest to God as a wave offering, with an unblemished one-year old lamb as a burnt offering. Include a meat offering and a liter of wine.
  4. Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. Ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD. And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour : and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. Leviticus 23:10-13

  5. Don't eat any bread or grain until you offer God the harvest sacrifice.
  6. Ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. Leviticus 23:14

  7. Fifty days after the harvest sacrifice, offer God another meat offering, two loaves of leavened bread, seven unblemished year-old lambs, one young bullock, two rams, one young goat, and two more year-old lambs. These will be for burnt, meat, peace, wave, drink, and sin offerings. They will smell good to God and be holy for the priest. Don't do any work on this day.
  8. Ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD. And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD. Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. Leviticus 23:15-21

  9. Don't do any work on the first day of the seventh month. Offer God a burnt offering instead. It is a sabbath, a trumpet-blowing memorial, a holy convocation.
  10. In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. Leviticus 23:24-25

  11. On the tenth day of the seventh month there shall be a day of atonement, a holy convocation. Don't do any work on this day. Afflict your soul and offer God a burnt offering. If you don't afflict your soul on this day, you will be exiled. God will kill you if you do any work on this day.
  12. On the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath. Leviticus 23:27-32

  13. The fifteenth day of the seventh month is the seven-day feast of tabernacles. Don't do any work on the first day or the eighth day. For seven days rejoice with tree and palm branches while offering God burnt offerings. Then on the eighth day have a holy convocation and offer God another burnt offering.
  14. The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. ... Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.Leviticus 23:34-41

  15. Dwell in booths for seven days so everyone will know you're a child of Israel.
  16. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 23:42-43

18 July 2014

Alma 21: All The Things Concerning Things Pertaining To Righteousness

Remember back in chapter 17, when Alma ran across the four sons of Mosiah (Ammon, Aaron, Omner and Himni)? They all split up and went preaching to different groups, and chapters 18-20 followed Ammon's progress. Chapter 21 backs up a bit and follows Aaron's preaching to the Lamanites and the Amalekites in Jerusalem. 



When Ammon and his brothers decided to split up, Aaron decided to head to a place near the border of the Land of Mormon that the Lamanites called "Jerusalem" (they named it after the other Jerusalem, apparently). The Lamanites, the Amalekites, and the people of Ammon had built a big city there, and they really needed some guidance, because they were starting to get really hard hearts and doing all kinds of wickedness. Aaron had his work cut out for him.
Now when Ammon and his brethren separated themselves in the borders of the land of the Lamanites, behold Aaron took his journey towards the land which was called by the Lamanites, Jerusalem, calling it after the land of their fathers' nativity; and it was away joining the borders of Mormon. 21.1 
Now the Lamanites and the Amalekites and the people of Amulon had built a great city, which was called Jerusalem. 21.2 
Now the Lamanites of themselves were sufficiently hardened, but the Amalekites and the Amulonites were still harder; therefore they did cause the Lamanites that they should harden their hearts, that they should wax strong in wickedness and their abominations. 21.3
Once Aaron got to Jerusalem, he started working on the Amalekites first. He started preaching at their synagogues, where they followed the Nehor doctrine. (Remember Nehor, the guy who killed Gideon in Alma 1?) The sons of Mosiah had a bit of a feud going on with the order of the Nehors. You see, the Nehor folks believed that priests should be paid for their services, and that they should be highly respected. They also disagreed about universal salvation, and whether or not a person needs to repent. (See more about Nehor here).

So when Aaron went into their synagogues, they weren't exactly receptive. They basically said: "What, have you seen an angel or something? Aren't we as good as you? Why do we have to repent? What makes you so high and mighty? We worship God, and built temples and stuff, so why can't you just leave us alone? We don't think that you actually know the things you claim to. Please leave our church."
Therefore, as Aaron entered into one of their synagogues to preach unto the people, and as he was speaking unto them, behold arose an Amalekite and began to contend with him, saying: What is that thou hast testified? Hast thou seen an angel? Why do not angels appear unto us? Behold are not this people as good as thy people? 21.5 
Thou also sayest, except we repent we shall perish. How knowest thou the thought and intent of our hearts? How knowest thou that we have cause to repent? How knowest thou that we are not a righteous people? Behold, we have built sanctuaries, and we do assemble ourselves together to worship God. We do believe that God will save all men. 21.6 
Now Aaron said unto him: Believest thou that the Son of God shall come to redeem mankind from their sins? 21.7 
And the man said unto him: We do not believe that thou knowest any such thing. We do not believe in these foolish traditions. We do not believe that thou knowest of things to come, neither do we believe that thy fathers and also that our fathers did know concerning the things which they spake, of that which is to come. 21.8
But, like a good Mormon, he didn't. He started preaching to them, in their own church, until some of the people got really angry with him, and the rest made fun of him. After a while, he realized that they weren't listening, so he decided to leave. He went to the village of Ani-Anti, and found some new people to argue with.
Now Aaron began to open the scriptures unto them concerning the coming of Christ, and also concerning the resurrection of the dead, and that there could be no redemption for mankind save it were through the death and sufferings of Christ, and the atonement of his blood. 21.9 
And it came to pass as he began to expound these things unto them they were angry with him, and began to mock him; and they would not hear the words which he spake. 21.10 
Therefore, when he saw that they would not hear his words, he departed out of their synagogue, and came over to a village which was called Ani-Anti, and there he found Muloki preaching the word unto them; and also Ammah and his brethren. And they contended with many about the word. 21.11
But the people preaching in Ani-Anti (Muloki and Ammah) had already hardened the people's hearts, so it was useless. Aaron continued on to the land of Middoni and started preaching there. He didn't convert many people, but he was still thrown in jail, along with some of his brethren.
And it came to pass that they saw that the people would harden their hearts, therefore they departed and came over into the land of Middoni. And they did preach the word unto many, and few believed on the words which they taught. 21.12 
Nevertheless, Aaron and a certain number of his brethren were taken and cast into prison. 21.13
At this point, the stories merge. Ammon and Lamoni rescue Aaron and his brethren from prison, and then they split up again: Ammon and Lamoni return to the land of Ishmael, and Aaron and his posse "went forth again to declare the word". They preached to Amalekites and Lamanites all throughout the land, and they had better luck this time. They "brought many to the knowledge of the truth" and "convinced many of their sins". Nice work, Aaron!
And those who were cast into prison suffered many things, and they were delivered by the hand of Lamoni and Ammon, and they were fed and clothed. 21.14 
And they went forth again to declare the word, and thus they were delivered for the first time out of prison; 21.15 
And they went forth whithersoever they were led by the Spirit of the Lord, preaching the word of God in every synagogue of the Amalekites, or in every assembly of the Lamanites where they could be admitted. 21.16 
And it came to pass that the Lord began to bless them, insomuch that they brought many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, they did convince many of their sins, and of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct. 21.17
And it came to pass that Ammon and Lamoni returned from the land of Middoni to the land of Ishmael, which was the land of their inheritance. 21.18
Meanwhile, Ammon and Lamoni were also making progress back in the land of Ishmael. Lamoni's father stayed true to his word, by granting Lamoni full control of his people. Lamoni rounded everyone up decreed that they could worship God in any way they wanted.
But he caused that there should be synagogues built in the land of Ishmael; and he caused that his people, or the people who were under his reign, should assemble themselves together. 21.20  And he did rejoice over them, and he did teach them many things. And he did also declare unto them that they were a people who were under him, and that they were a free people, that they were free from the oppressions of the king, his father; for that his father had granted unto him that he might reign over the people who were in the land of Ishmael, and in all the land round about. 21.21    
And he also declared unto them that they might have the liberty of worshiping the Lord their God according to their desires, in whatsoever place they were in, if it were in the land which was under the reign of king Lamoni. 21.22
Ammon started preaching in the synagogues there, and he taught them "all of the things concerning things pertaining to righteousness".

(This is perhaps my favorite line in the whole Book of Mormon. "And it came to pass that on Tuesday my boss taught me all of the the things concerning things pertaining to customer service...")
And Ammon did preach unto the people of king Lamoni; And it came to pass that he did teach them all things concerning things pertaining to righteousness. And he did exhort them daily, with all diligence; and they gave heed unto his word, and they were zealous for keeping the commandments of God. 21.23


That's it for Chapter 21. The next few chapters will continue to follow Aaron, Muloki, and their band of merry men as they preach to the Lamanites.