"There is so much more in the Book of Mormon than we have yet discovered. The book's divine architecture and rich furnishings will increasingly unfold to our view, further qualifying it as 'a marvelous work and a wonder' ...The Book of Mormon is like a vast mansion with gardens, towers, courtyards, and wings. All the rooms in this mansion need to be explored..."
-Neal A Maxwell

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dark Mirror: Ammon₁ and Coriantumr₃, Part I

In a previous post, I submitted both parallels and very precise contrasts between Alma₂ and the Apostle Paul. As an example of what I mean by "precise contrasts," compare the experiences of those who were with Paul and Alma during the "Road to Damascus experience," if you will, of each: 

“And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but [unlike Paul] they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.” (Acts 22:9)“...the angel spake more things unto me, which were heard by my brethren, but I did not hear them...” (Alma 36:11)

Here, I present a similar juxtaposition of two of the Book of Mormon's somewhat less-prominent figures, Ammon₁ (a Nephite warrior sent by his king on a fact finding mission to ascertain the condition of a Nephite colony), and Coriantumr (a warrior who defected from the Nephites and was sent by his king to conquer the Nephite nation). One man ultimately delivered Nephites from Lamanite rule, the other tried to subject Nephites to it. In this two-part entry, I propose that, given these and other details Mormon provided about the two men in his record, each warrior is meant to serve as a "dark mirror image" of sorts to the other.

Comparing our first introductions to each figure yields some overt similarities:

"And it came to pass that on the morrow they started to go up, having with them one Ammon, he being a strong and mighty man, and a descendant of Zarahemla; and he was also their leader." (Mosiah 7:3"And they came down again that they might pitch battle against the Nephites. And they were led by a man whose name was Coriantumr; and he was a descendant of Zarahemla; and he was a dissenter from among the Nephites; and he was a large and a mighty man." (Helaman 1:15

Worth noting is that the phrase "descendant of Zarahemla" is found only once more in the Book of Mormon, again in reference to Ammon (Mosiah 7:13); when a particular word or phrase is found only two or three times throughout the entire volume, I suggest that's often a clue there are some important parallels to be found.

The two kings that sent Ammon and Coriantumr on their respective expeditions were polar opposites with regard to their motivations and intentions:

"And now, it came to pass that... [Mosiah₂] was desirous to know concerning the people who went up to dwell in the land of Lehi-Nephi, or in the city of Lehi-Nephi; for his people had heard nothing from them from the time they left the land of Zarahemla; therefore, they wearied him with their teasings." (Mosiah 7:1)"...the king of the Lamanites, whose name was Tubaloth... supposing that Coriantumr, being a mighty man, could stand against the Nephites, with his strength and also with his great wisdom, insomuch that by sending him forth he should gain power over the Nephites—

"Therefore he did stir them up to anger..." (Helaman 1:16-17)

One warrior's course of travel is a reverse of the other's: 

And it came to pass that king Mosiah granted that sixteen of their strong men might go up to the land of Lehi-Nephi [from Zarahemla], to inquire concerning their brethren. (Mosiah 7:2)...and [Tubaloth] did gather together his armies, and he did appoint Coriantumr to be their leader, and did cause that they should march down to the land of Zarahemla [from the land of Nephi] to battle against the Nephites. (Helaman 1:17)

Ammon and his small cadre took awhile to find their destination...
"And it came to pass that king Mosiah granted that sixteen of their strong men might go up to the land of Lehi-Nephi... 
"And now, they knew not the course they should travel in the wilderness to go up to the land of Lehi-Nephi; therefore they wandered many days in the wilderness, even forty days did they wander." (Mosiah 7:2, 4, emphases added) 
...while Coriantumr and his not-so-small band very quickly reached theirs:
"But it came to pass that Coriantumr did march forth at the head of his numerous host, and came upon the inhabitants of the city, and their march was with such exceedingly great speed that there was no time for the Nephites to gather together their armies." (Helaman 1:19, emphases added) 

Each man first met the ruler of his destination land at the "walls of the city," though the outcome of one encounter was markedly different from the other: 

"And behold, [Ammon's party] met the king of the people who were in the land of Nephi, and in the land of Shilom; and they were surrounded by the king’s guard, and were taken, and were bound, and were committed to prison [for two days]." (Mosiah 7:7)

"And now, I [king Limhi] desire to know the cause whereby ye were so bold as to come near the walls of the city, when I, myself, was with my guards without the gate?" (Mosiah 7:10)
"And it came to pass that Pacumeni, who was the chief judge, did flee before Coriantumr, even to the walls of the city. And it came to pass that Coriantumr did smite him against the wall, insomuch that he died. And thus ended the days of Pacumeni." (Helaman 1:21) 

Both men found themselves surrounded by their antagonists:

"And now the afflictions of the Nephites were great, and there was no way that they could deliver themselves out of their hands, for the Lamanites had surrounded them on every side." (Mosiah 21:5, emphasis added) "And now, behold, [Coriantumr's] Lamanites could not retreat either way, neither on the north, nor on the south, nor on the east, nor on the west, for they were surrounded on every hand by the Nephites." (Helaman 1:31, emphasis added)

(Recalling what I said earlier about rare occurrences of a word or phrase, these are the only two places where the basic phrase "surrounded... on every _______" is found.) 

Ammon got the Limhites out of their predicament by sneaking out the back door...
"Behold the back pass, through the back wall, on the back side of the city. The Lamanites, or the guards of the Lamanites, by night are drunken; therefore let us send a proclamation among all this people that they gather together their flocks and herds, that they may drive them into the wilderness by night... 
"And king Limhi caused that his people should gather their flocks together; and he sent the tribute of wine to the Lamanites; and he also sent more wine, as a present unto them; and they did drink freely of the wine which king Limhi did send unto them. 
"And it came to pass that the people of king Limhi did depart by night into the wilderness with their flocks and their herds, and they went round about the land of Shilom in the wilderness, and bent their course towards the land of Zarahemla, being led by Ammon and his brethren." (Mosiah 22:6, 10-11, emphasis added)
...whereas Coriantumr got his army into their predicament by breaking down the front door:
"Therefore Coriantumr did cut down the watch by the entrance of the city, and did march forth with his whole army into the city, and they did slay every one who did oppose them, insomuch that they did take possession of the whole city." (Helaman 1:20, emphasis added) 

There's one more parallel, specifically with respect to the two kings that sent Ammon and Coriantumr on their respective journeys, that deserves special attention. I will present that shortly in part two of this comparison.  

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