Mosiah 7 recounts the story of Ammon meeting King Limhi. King Limhi’s grandfather Zeniff left Zarahemla with a group of people seeking to possess the land of their forefathers. Under King Mosiah’s direction, Ammon and his crew left Zarahelma seeking news about Zeniff’s people.
Ammon and his men traveled for 40 days and came to a community they believed to be Zeniff’s people. Most of the men stayed hidden, but Ammon and three others approached the walled city.
King Limhi’s guards imprisoned Ammon and his three men. Two days later, King Limhi brought them before him. King Limhi explained who he was a gave his lineage.
And he said unto them: Behold, I am , who came up out of the , the son of Noah, who was the son of Zeniff to inherit this land, which was the land of their fathers, who was made a by the of the people.
Then Limhi commanded Ammon and men to explain their intent.
For I am Ammon, and am aof Zarahemla, and have come up out of the to inquire concerning our brethren, whom brought up out of that land.
Ammon described their search for the people from Zarahelma and happiness in finding them.
And now, it came to pass that after Limhi had heard the words of Ammon, he was exceedingly I will cause that my people shall rejoice also., and said: Now, I know of a surety that my brethren who were in the land of Zarahemla are alive. And now, I will rejoice; and on the morrow
I’ve thought a lot about Ammon’s introduction to King Limhi. The manner seemed so unusual to me, but I just assumed it was the way their culture handled meeting visitors in a time of self-defensiveness.
Maori Welcome Ceremony
My dear friend Roxy Kimokeo is Maori. She shared some really insightful Maori cultural traditions that brought greater depth and understanding to Ammon and King Limhi’s meeting for me.
You know what I keep being reminded of as I study these chapters? How similar the formalities are between the Nephite culture and Maori!Maoris lived in fortified villages with watchtower and a sentinel. If an approaching party is seen, the watchman would blow a trumpet (made of wood or shell) to alert everyone when visitors were coming.
In the Maori culture, when you meet a people, at first you are wary and the first approach is to decide if they’re friend or foe. It’s just so similar to the Maori welcome ceremony (powhiri).At the first contact, a warrior is sent to determine the intent. He lays a leaf down. And the visitor is treated as hostile until they literally bow down in a sign of peace to pick up the leaf. Once the group had picked up the leaf or other token, a group of warriors would escort them to stand before the leader.
Then the host and visitor take turns relaying genealogy and making introductions—the host first then the visitor. The host recites his geneology—name and lineage— in making introductions. And then the visitor does the same in an effort to determine if there’s a link between them.
Then speeches are made and go back and forth between host and visitor with all the people gathered together to witness. Finally, host and visitor embrace and the bonds of unity are established.