Last night it was my turn to teach our Family Home Evening. It is a time we spend talking about spiritual things to strengthen ourselves and each other. As I thought about what to teach one of my favorite stories came to mind.
In the Book of Mormon the story of the 2,000 Stripling Warriors has always been one of my favorites. There are so many lessons that I have learned from this story over the years.
Let me do a little run down. The families of these young men had been converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ after lifetimes of fighting against its principles and those who lived them. They had killed many of the followers. Once they had been converted they made a promise to Heavenly Father that they would never take up their swords to kill again. As a symbol of this, they all buried their weapons of war. Not too long after this, others of their nation became angry with their choice to follow Jesus Christ and came to kill them. These amazing people had made a promise and chose not to break it. Many of the fathers and brothers walked into the battlefield, knelt in prayer and allowed themselves to be killed so that they could save their families.
These people were able to find a safe home with their new nation…those who believed in Jesus Christ. They found peace, prosperity and the freedom to live as they believed. Unfortunately peace was not to last for this nation. The unbelievers decided they needed to conquer ‘the world’ and started a war. These amazing converts stood back and watched their new nation fight for them. I can only imagine how difficult it was for them. At one point it became close to unbearable for them and they almost broke their promise. One man, Helaman, convinced them to stay true.
Their sons stepped forward. They were too young at the time and did not make the same promise. They had been taught through example and word to live their beliefs. They knew they would be fighting for the freedoms their fathers and brothers had died for. Their one request was that the spiritual leader, Helaman be their commander.
The words used to describe these heroes in the Book of Mormon should be used to describe us as we wage war daily. They were valiant, courageous, fearless because they knew God would watch over them, strong, true to their beliefs, full of faith, active and always doing exactly what they were asked to do. Their rewards were incredible. In countless, bloody battles, none of these young men were killed. All of them were injured, however not one was lost.
I can’t help but think about our lives today. It is a battle to stay true to the beliefs we have. It is a battle we fight within our souls. As we look to these heroes we find the way to live so as not to fall. They knew if they looked to their Heavenly Father in action, thought and prayer, they would live. They just knew it. The strength they received from Heaven was miraculous. We have the ability to receive this same strength.
We may be injured at times. It is life. We have the atonement of Jesus Christ to heal us. We have His example. Just as the fathers and brothers of these warriors laid down their lives for their families, He laid down His life for us. As we look to Him for strength, we will find more than we ever could imagine.
I love that we have these heroes to show us the way to live in spite of a constant war raging around and within us. They are some of my greatest heroes.