Monday, May 3, 2010

Brainstorming AMMON and this week's schedule

Ammon Update: I'm about 120 pages into drafting my next book: AMMON. He's a compelling character to write about. I'd love to hear your comments about what you find most significant about Ammon's character. I think it's remarkable that he'd give up his kingship to be a missionary in enemy territory.

Questions I'm working on:

1. Do you think those he "slayed" with the slingshot were killed or just injured? Or was the only person he mortally wounded the leader of the Lamanite band?

2. Flocks--in my research, sheep weren't introduced until the Spanish came to MesoAmerica. So what are the flocks that are referred to during Ammon's time? Turkeys? Fowl? Ducks? It's weird to imagine herding any of these animals. In Ether 9, sheep and horses are mentioned, but that it the only place.

This is my signing schedule for the next two weeks:

May 4, 2010 - Costco in Orem

Tuesday 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. My first Costco signing! I’ll be signing copies of Women of the Book of Mormon.

May 6, 2010 - Presentation to Logan Book Club 1:00 p.m.

Lundstrom Park 1, 2, 3rd Relief Society Room. 1260 North 1600 East, Logan, UT

May 7, 2010 - Lunch hour at West Jordan Seagull Book

Friday 12:00-1:30 p.m. Join me at Seagull Book where I’ll be signing copies of Women of the Book of Mormon. 1625 W 9000 So, West Jordan, Utah.

May 7, 2010 - Costco in Sandy

Friday 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. I’ll be signing copies of Women of the Book of Mormon.

May 8, 2010 - Mother’s Day Extravaganza at SOUTH Jordan Seagull Book

Saturday 12:00-2:00 p.m. Join me at Seagull Book at the Mother’s Day Extravaganza where I’ll be signing copies of Women of the Book of Mormon. Authors Janice Kapp Perry, Josi S. Kilpack, Sarah M. Eden, and Rachel Castor will be there with me. 11531 South District Main Dr., South Jordan, Utah.

May 12, 2010 - Costco in St. George

Correction: Wednesday 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. I’ll be signing copies of Women of the Book of Mormon.

May 13, 2010 - LDS Fiction Extravaganza, St. George (Utah Library Association)

I’ll be speaking with two authors, Annette Lyon and KC Grant, on the afternoon of May 13. Conference is May 12-14, registration here:


Emily M. said...

Wouldn't it be more interesting if he ended up killing a lot of people when he cut off the arms(how many people could have survived getting their arms cut off back then) and had to deal with the resulting guilt? He's got a lot on his conscience that way--the thousand Ammonites who die after burying their weapons, for example. It's Nephi killing Laban only amplified a lot.

Of course the answer is that the Lamanites who scattered the flock were killed in the cause of greater good, meaning the conversion of their people. But I think that a man like Ammon isn't going to come to that answer easily, because he loved the people, and even when you know the Plan it's very hard to see people you love die, and even worse to be the cause of both their death and their salvation. Such irony. I think we think of Ammon as the hero missionary, and he was. But if Nephi hesitated to cut off Laban's head, I bet that Ammon also wrestled with both the killing he had to do to help convert the Lamanites in the first place, and then later the grave consequences that led to over a thousand of them dying.

As for the flocks, no idea. I've always pictured them as sheep (go Arnold Friberg! :-) ) and didn't realize that was not accurate.

I look forward to reading it! Ammon is a great character, and I' sure you will do him justice.

Taffy said...

I thought some of those men were killed. Didn't David do the same to Goliath?
I've always assumed it's sheep. Maybe their curelom (sp?) :)

Annette Lyon said...

Interesting questions. I'd say that "slay" means "kill." I've never heard any other use of the term. My understanding is that he didn't kill those he cut the arms off of, but no one else got any guarantee.

And "flocks." Hmm. Interesting point. I wonder if they were some kind of goat, maybe.

Heather B. Moore said...

Emily--I like that. I've written a little hesitation in there, and physical reactions after when he has to deal with the deaths he's caused. I think I'll amplify it though.

Also, cutting off arms, feet, hands, was considered the "trophy" from a war or the way they would keep track of their victims. Interesting stuff.

Taffy, for sure the "leader" was killed, but I'm reading varying opinions on whether the "slain" by the slingshot were dead, or if those with severed arms had died.

Rebecca Irvine said...

It is hard to think the men with their arms or legs cut off did not die simply from bleeding to death--aren't their major arteries that would have to be slashed? So I guess I have always thought he had to kill quite a few, although some did not die there on the spot--just later due to lack of medical capabilities.

Being the son of the king he was likely very well trained in combat skills. And I would guess he had had to serve in some sort of military capacity even before he was converted, possibly even in a leadership position.

I would tend to agree with Annette that it was a type of goat or maybe a lama. Although here in AZ there is an ostrich festival and I believe thy have herds of those types of birds. But I think people would wonder if you wrote the herds were of ostriches!

I had someone comment to me last week that it took eight years after Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah started changing their ways before they could go on a mission--that it takes time to truly repent and be worthy enough to serve the Lord on a mission. I guess this would apply to Ammon as well.

Krista said...

Have you ever seen a slingshot used? Look into it. It's incredible weaponry when done well. I'm sure there would be variants in wounds (just as there would be with arrows and swords). I agree with Emily M. about the survival rate of losing a limb. Probably low.

I would use sheep or goat. Guinea pigs (ha)? Alpaca? Now I'm wondering, because I refer to a goat, a ewe, and cheese in my own BoM story. I guess I always believed Nephi and his family would have brought some sort of herd-type animals for milk and cheese in their diets, not to mention the wool and meat, as it was used so predominantly in their homeland, and made sure to perpetuate the species.

Andrea said...

Interesting questions. I also pictured them as sheep. The only other animal that came to mind was a goat.

Emily M. said...

Okay, this post has had me thinking about Ammon a lot, and I have one more thought: the people Ammon helped convert all put away their weapons and refused to kill anymore. In their conversion they gain a new reverence for life. What part did Ammon play in helping them gain a reverence for life? What kind of example did he set, even as he had to kill to defend the sheep, that showed respect and reverence for the lives he took? He taught them reverence for life, and they absorbed his teaching so well that they preferred to die rather than kill.

Okay, I'm done now. I feel *cough* sheepish for commenting again, but this has been in my head and I wanted to mention it here.

Heather B. Moore said...

Rebecca, I agree that having an arm cut off in those times had the potential to be fatal--maybe not all of the time, but a good chance. In "Alma the Younger" he is characterized as being a very skilled fighter, but hasn't had war experience.

I haven't come across anything published that suggests it took 8 years before Ammon went on his mission. It's not very clear in the scriptures.

I definitely think a slingshot would could be fatal--and if Ammon was a good aim. So I just need to decide if I'm going to take a strong stance on it.

I haven't used sheep in any of my Mesoamerica books yet. I had Nephi's family bring over goats, but not sheep. The only mention of sheep is with the Jaredites, so they could have brought them over.

Emily, I like your insights. We might assume that Ammon had never fought in a war and he was preaching to his enemy, so the last thing he'd want to do it kill anyone. Even though self-defense comes into play, and he's forced to defend his own life by killing another, it wouldn't necessarily be the manner in which he wanted to get the king's attention.

Emily M. said...

Heather, that's exactly what I meant--he might not have wanted to get the king's attention that way. I love that he comes in and preaches the Plan of Salvation to Lamoni(and maybe to himself, a little, I don't know). That always helps put life and death in the right perspective.

Heather B. Moore said...

Great insights, Emily.

leilani said...

Have you ever read "Servant to a King" by Sariah S. Wilson? It's a wonderful story about Lamoni's daughter. It's written in first person, mostly from her point of view, some from Ammon. It starts just before her meeting of Ammon through the labor of their first child.

It would be a great comparison for how she overcame/worked with those same questions. I wish I could tell you she included a resource list and give you some more research books, but she didn't include one. :(

I'm looking forward to reading your interpretation of the story!! :)

Heather B. Moore said...

Leilani, yes, I've read Sariah's book (it's been a couple of years). It's a fun YA story. I can't remember the details, but I do remember that she paired up Ammon and the King Lamoni's daughter.

John said...

Slings of that period were deadly, but only with headshots. So, either the Lord guided his hand and helped achieve all "kill shots" or else the victims wound up a mix of dead and injured.

I have never heard of military cultures anywhere that collect arms and feet as trophies. I would be curious to see documentation.

As an accomplished swordsman, I can attest to the fact that in a swordfight the hands and arms are a natural target. If you were in a fight with multiple opponents you are doing whatever you can simply to incapacitate a foe in any way possible before moving on to the next. I can easily see you ending up cutting off the arms and hands of the attackers without even intentionally doing so.

The mortality rate of such amputations would depend on the level of medical attention they got shortly after the attack. While it is very possible to bleed out from such an injury, you are more likely to die from infection and gangrene days after the wound.

Heather B. Moore said...

John, Thanks for the information.

The article that talks about severed body parts as being war-trophies is "Ammon and the Mesoamerican Custom of Smiting off Arms" by Bruce H. Yerman, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Vol 8:1, 1999. You can find it on-line.