Journal of Book of Mormon Studies

Article Title

Were the Ammonites Pacifists?


Duane Boyce


One of the most moving accounts in the Book of Mormon is of the people of Ammon, their covenant to bury and never use again their weapons of war, their faith to sacrifice themselves instead of fighting back against their Lamanite brethren, and their sacrifice to send their children to war to aid the Nephites. Some interpret the stance that the Ammonites took against war to be pacifist. Some indications point toward this conclusion: their burying their weapons, covenanting never to fight again, allowing themselves to be slaughtered twice, and being motivated in these actions out of love for their Lamanite kin. However, when the text is read more carefully, it can easily be seen that further actions would not necessarily have reflected a pacifist view toward war: not objecting to the Nephite war in their defense, providing Nephite soldiers with food and supplies, and sending their own sons into battle would surely indicate that their personal opposition to war stemmed from the covenants they made during repentance.