“And now, when [King Lamoni] heard these words, he said unto [his servants]: Now I know that it is the Great Spirit; and he has come down at this time to preserve your lives, that I might not slay you as I did your brethren. Now this is the Great Spirit of whom our fathers have spoken.” (Alma 18:4)
King Lamoni was dead wrong about Ammon being the Great Spirit. He goes further than just stating this as a theory, he says, “Now I know that it is the Great Spirit,” but how can he say that he knows something that is later proven untrue?
How many times do we hear people testifying that they ‘know’ something? Maybe they do know, but then again, maybe they don’t, so what sense can we make of this?
Here’s where things get interesting to me, although Lamoni was wrong about Ammon’s identity, he was right in detecting that there was more to this man. Though he didn’t fully understand what he was dealing with at the time and came to some bold conclusions, in reality he wasn’t really that far off. He recognized the hand of God (or Great Spirit), he was going in the right direction but he didn’t have the full picture.
I think this is often the case for many of us; we have experiences and see things, then we try to make sense by putting them into a context we can wrap our minds around. We believe strongly or even think we know many things at the moment that we are probably dead wrong about in the grand scheme, but that are at least pulling us in the right direction.
I think this is how almost all truth unfolds. Our initial conclusions often seem brilliant to us at the time, but then as we pursue that course the truth emerges in ways that either shatter or complete the old paradigm. This can feel like a very messy process when you are in the thick of it. One semi-informed conclusion leads to another semi-informed conclusion that could be further or closer to the truth. In this process, impatience is the enemy of discovery.
Lamoni seems to have struggled wrapping his mind around Ammon’s teachings at first, but he was willing to listen and keep an open mind. Imagine how different things would have been had Lamoni refused to accept Ammon’s explanations and demanded that he was right about Ammon being the Great Spirit.
The fact of the matter is that until truth is revealed to us, we are all blind to so many things. It’s how we respond to what we have that is important. It seems impossible to avoid being at least a little wrong from time to time on the path to discovering right. What gets us there is the purity of our desires and our real intent that end up being key to unfolding understanding.
Perhaps these insights can help us become more patient with ourselves and others.