Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What must we do to become like the stripling warriors?

I made a study of their characteristics and what I found was amazing.

“they became now at this period of time also a great support” (Alma 53:19) Anyone who is in favor of truth and makes that known, anyone who is willing to do what is right becomes a support, one who can be depended on, and the more we are willing to do to help the church, the more of a support we become.

“they were men of truth and soberness” (Alma 53:21) They were serious about the things that were sacred. We are the same way when we are serious about keeping our bodies sacred and treating with respect all the sacred things we have learned.

“they would that Helaman should be their leader” (Alma 53:19) Since they were men of truth and soberness, they wanted a leader who was also a man of truth and soberness, so they chose the best that they could find—a prophet of God. We are like the stripling warriors when we choose a prophet to be the one we will follow.

“they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives” (Alma 56: 47) They didn’t just want liberty for themselves, they wanted liberty for their fathers and families. We are like them when we want liberty for others more than we care for our own lives.

“they covenanted that they never would give up their liberty, but they would fight in all cases to protect the Nephites and themselves from bondage” (Alma 53:17) They actually made a promise to God that they would not just argue and fight to protect themselves, but also others from captivity.

“we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus” (Alma 56:46) They were even protective of other armies. They would not allow someone else to be ganged up on. We are like them when we defend others from verbal or moral or physical attack.

“they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity” (Alma 53:20) Not only were they brave and strong, but they were extremely active. They were up and doing, more than anyone else. These were hard workers.

“never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites” (Alma 56:45) My dictionary defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty” and it says that courage “implies strength in overcoming fear and in persisting against odds or difficulties”. If the stripling warriors felt fear, they overcame it with their faith in Christ and so they were willing to try anything good, they would persevere through difficulty and resist evil. Their faith in Christ gave them greater courage then any of the Nephites. We can be like them if we trust that Christ wants us to do and succeed at anything that is righteous and He will help us.

“they never had fought, yet they did not fear death” (Alma 56:47) They knew that if they died, they were saved in the kingdom of God and if they didn’t die, they were saved to live another day and continue to do good. We can be like them if we remember that the gospel of Christ saves us whether we die or live. If we are pure we are prepared for either event.

“they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them” (Alma 56:47) Such an empowering doctrine!

“they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers” (Alma 56:48) Not only did they remember the words of their mothers, they rehearsed them to each other and their leaders so that all could be strengthened. They were unashamed of having been taught by their mothers and they were not ashamed of what they had been taught and they were willing to share it with others when times were difficult. We are the same way if we share the good things we have been taught by our parents with others who are going through the same difficulties.

“We do not doubt our mothers knew it.” (Alma 48) The stripling warriors also bore testimony to the testimonies of their mothers. They were willing to take the word of their mothers and even stake their lives on it. We are the same way when we can take the word of our parents and leaders about what they know is dangerous or what they know is safe.

“they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power” (Alma 56:56) Because of their covenant with God to protect liberty, their efforts to fight for it were attended by God’s special power. We can enjoy the same kind of miraculous strength and power from God when we fight hard against temptation to keep our baptismal covenants.

“as the remainder of our army were about to give way before the Lamanites, behold, those two thousand and sixty were firm and undaunted” (Alma 57:20) Having covenanted to fight for liberty in all cases, retreat would be unthinkable. We are the same way when we are firm and undaunted at upholding our standards, even when others feel like giving up.

“they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted” (Alma 53:20) They didn’t have to be nagged to do something; they were dependable and did whatever good thing they were asked to do. We are the same way if people can ask us to do things and know that that they don’t have to worry about it any more.

“they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them” (Alma 57:20) They made sure they understood what it was they had to do and then they did an excellent job at it and if they didn’t get it right the first time, they worked until they got it how it should be. We are the same way when we do our best job all the time so that it is what people want done.

“their minds are firm” (Alma 57:27) No feeble minds here. They were educated, careful thinkers who, once they got the right idea in their mind, they would hold onto it and never let it go.

“they do put their trust in God continually” (Alma 57:27) They knew that if they kept the commandments they would be prospered in the land, so they constantly trusted God would pour out blessings.

“they do observe to keep his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments continually” (Alma 58:40) They did what they could to bring the blessings of God to their endeavors.

“and their faith is strong in the prophecies concerning that which is to come” (Alma 58:40) They believed in the coming of Christ.

“they have received many wounds; nevertheless they are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day” (Alma 58:40) Even when their valiant efforts resulted in painful wounds, they still did what they could to keep the commandments. Our lives are the same way in that we will endure many hurtful wounds from enemies of truth and sometimes even from our friends when we are trying to do what is right, but we will be like the stripling warriors if we continue to remember and trust the Lord even when we are spiritually wounded.

“And it came to pass that there were two hundred, out of my two thousand and sixty, who had fainted because of the loss of blood; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.”(Alma 57:25)

To me, this is the greatest example. The stripling warriors were so determined to fight for freedom, that even when they were wounded, they continued to fight on. Other soldiers might get a wound and decide they were done fighting, but not these warriors. They fought on and on until their bodies simply could not take it any more and they collapsed. By the end of the battle, all of them had many wounds, and yet they still fought determinedly.

We are like them when we refuse to give up the battle for truth and decency even when our feelings have been hurt. Some people, when they have been insulted, will immediately withdraw to lick their wounds, but when we continue to uphold good standards, even with multiple insults and putdowns, we are like the stripling warriors.


S.Faux said...

Thanks for the verses and the thoughts.

The stripling warriors remind us of the importance of mothers, who should NEVER be underestimated. The secret power of these warriors was the training from their mothers.

When we sent a son off to war, I was VERY comforted knowing that my son carried his mother's lessons and prayers.

Also, thank you very much for listing "Mormon Insights" on your sidebar.

TheRealMollyMormon said...

I just wanted to let you know that I have written a post featuring your book on my new blog..KooLDSgirlZ...You might want to check it out.

I also submitted it to SU and spread the word.

Good luck!

Michaela Stephens said...

Thanks for the referring post and spreading the word!