By the time the Nephite judges were in the 18th year of their reign, the Nephites included some converted Lamanites who, by then, were called the Ammonites, or the people of Ammon. They were known previously as the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi. The Lamanites consisted of a mixture of descendants of Laman, Lemuel, the sons of Ishmael, and all the Nephite dissenters, including Amalekites, Zoramites and descendants of the priests of Noah.
One of the most dynamic Nephite military leaders was Moroni. In A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, Daniel H. Ludlow wrote:"
MoroniT was a man blessed of the spirit whose great hope was to `defend his rights, his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood.' " (Alma 48:18.)
Moroni faced the challenge of putting down Amalickiah's revolt against Helaman who, with his brothers, had established the church throughout the land, which was presided over by judges. Some of the people wanted to return to a monarchy; Amalickiah wanted to be king. Through cunning flattery, he led many people away from the church. (See Alma 46:5-6.)
Brother Ludlow wrote: "Moroni, hearing of Amalickiah's success, tore his coat, wrote on a piece of it, `In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children,' and fastened it upon a pole. (Alma 46:12.)
"He used this `title of liberty' as a patriotic banner that aroused men of faith and good will to their senses. He caused all freedom-loving people to stand against Amalickiah; hence Amalickiah took his people and departed for the Lamanite-controlled land of Nephi.
"Moroni overtook them and captured them with the exception of Amalickiah, and a few who escaped joined the Lamanites. Then he had the captured Amalickiahites take an oath to support the cause of freedom or be put to death."