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In the Book of Mormon, Amalickiah was a Nephite leader of a movement to reestablish a king, specifically him as the king of the Nephites. When he failed to gain power through a popular uprising he dissented to the Lamanites becoming their king and using them as a means to gain power over the Nephites. He was killed during the ensuing war.
This movement arose during a power vacuum following the separation of church and state and by the transfer of leadership of the church from Alma the Younger to his son Helaman. Helaman succeeded his father as High Priest over the Nephite Church but did not have any political authority. His father was the last High Priest who also held the post of Chief Judge (or governor) of the Nephites. Alma the Younger had found that the church suffered from neglect due to his political duties and so resigned the latter office.
Amalickiah is described as a large and strong man who was also an eloquent speaker. He may have been a lower (i.e. local) judge for many of his followers (called Amalickiahites) held that office. It is noted that he was also a member of the Nephite Church and that the lower judges were members themselves. They were upset with the reforms or "regulation" of the church established by Helaman following the last war with the Lamanites. They were angry over the preaching by Helaman and his high priests. So angry that they were willing to kill Helaman and all those that held an opposing view.
Captain Moroni learned of the Amalickiahites rebellion and rallied the Nephite people against it. He raised the Title of Liberty over the capital and then over every city of the land where the rebellion was taking place. Those that followed the Title of Liberty and the reformed church called themeselves Christians. The rebels were soon outnumbered in the land, their hopes for power broken.
Dissent to the Lamanites
Amalickiah led his followers away into the wilderness to join the Lamanites when he realized his political campaign had failed. Moroni did not want their enemy to gain any further strength so he set off in pursuit with the army. Moroni's army defeated the rebels but Amalickiah and a small band of trusted followers escaped to the Land of Nephi.
Amalickiah becomes King of the Lamanites
Amalickiah and his men go to the court of the Lamanite king and persuade him to issue a call to arms against the Nephites. However this proves unpopular with the majority of warriors, the Lamanites having just lost a costly war against the Nephites. Amalickiah flatters the king and gets appointed to command the loyalists. He is ordered to go and compel the rest of the warriors into the army to fight for the king.
The rebels outnumber the loyalist army that Amalickiah commands. Knowing he will likely fail to press the warriors into the army he comes up with plan to use his greatest strengths, flattery and treachery. Camping before the hill where the rebels are in their defensive position he secretly sends word to Lehonti that he will betray the loyalists into the rebels' hands if he is made second in command of the rebel army. Lehonti agrees and Amalickiah sets his own men as guards, allowing the rebel army to approach and surround the loyalist camp. When the loyal warriors wake to see themselves in a hopeless position they beg Amalickiah to allow them to surrender and join the rebels to save their lives. Amalickiah gains standing with the rebels, "saves" his men and becomes second in command of the combined Lamanite army.
This is not enough for Amalickiah for he wants to be king. He slowly poisons Lehonti while the army is marching to the capital. When Lehonti dies on the march command now falls to Amalickiah. At the capital the Lamanite king gets word that his army is approaching with general Amalickiah at the head. The king is pleased and accompanied by his closest servants goes to meet him. As the king nears the henchmen of Amalickiah go before him bowing to the king. The king raises his arm beckoning them to rise. As the first hencheman does he draws a dagger and thrusts it up into the chest of the king. He falls, slain by the assassins.
The servants of the king now turn to run away. Amalickiah's henchmen shout to the army that the king has been slain by his own servants. Amalickiah leads the warriors to the fallen king and fains heartache at such treachery. He goads the warriors, former loyalist and rebel alike, to go and slay the king's servants. Despite pursuit the servants escape to the Nephites and tell the tale of Amalickiah's deceit.
Meanwhile as commander of the army Amalickiah goes to the court to tell the queen the awful news. After telling of the treacherous attack by the king's servants he brings forth his assassins who swear that the servants fled because of their perfidity. Amalickiah comforts and woes the grieving queen. Soon he marries her to become the next king of the Lamanites.
War Against the Nephites
As the new king Amalickiah proceeded to aggravate the Lamanites to war against the Nephites. Staying behind with his new queen, he sent his armies to attack the Nephites under the command of Nephite dissenters. Their plan was to attack those cities that had previously shown to be weakest. Unfortunately for them, Captain Moroni had fortified all the Nephite cities, in case of a such a sneak attack. The Lamanites proceeded to assault the walls of these "weak" cities never once managing to slay a single Nephite in the process while losing many men and all their chief captains who led the forloun hope. They returned to relate the tale of bad news to their king.
King Amalickiah, however, was not to be deterred. As the Nephites were dealing with king-men, Amalickiah saw his advantage and began to capture Nephite cities on the eastern coast, well away from Captain Moroni and his main army. After taking seven cities however, he was met by Teancum whose force stood up to the king. Teancum's warriors wore the Lamanite army down till they withdrew into camp for the night. Teancum sneaked into the king's camp with a trusted aide and slew Amalickiah.
an unspecified Lamanite king
|King of the Lamanites|
the 19th-25th years of the reign of the judges,
or 72-66 B.C.
| Succeeded by|