The story of the 2,000 stripling warriors is one of the great Book of Mormon stories. It demonstrates the power of faith, and how God can bless and protect those that serve Him.
I will get on to the point of the post, but first, a brief recap for those unfamiliar with their story:
The disarming missionary Ammon, helped a group of Lamanites come to the knowledge of the gospel. They became known as the “Anti-Nephi-Lehis,” or “Ammonites.” These converts (and you know we love our converts here on MMM) were so aghast at the lives they had lived to that point, that they repented and made a special covenant with God “that they would never use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood” and that “rather than shed the blood of their brethren, they would give up their own lives.”. They were so intent on keeping this covenant, that they buried all their weapons and vowed that they would never fight again.
The strength of their covenant was tested in short order. The remaining Lamanites did attack, and were stunned to find the Ammonites willing to die rather than fight. Apparently, the Lamanites did not have the stomach for such a slaughter, and many of the attackers repented and joined with the Ammonites.
Eventually, the Ammonites moved to where the Nephites could protect them, and lived peacefully. But, as things happen in the Book of Mormon, the Lamanites showed up and began attacking the Nephites. Because of their covenant, the Ammonites could not help defend their protectors, or themselves. They were distraught to the point that they even considered breaking their covenant and joining the fight – but at the last minute, the prophet/General Helaman convinced them not to do it.
But the sons of the Ammonites had not made the same covenant that their parents did, and they were ready to fight. There were 2,000 of them. They joined up with the Nephite arrmy and were lead by Helaman.
These young men were described as “exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity” and “were true at all times to whatsoever thing they were entrusted.” They were “men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him.”
Their contribution to the war effort was huge, and filled with miracles. God protected these young men. They fought valiantly, and many were wounded, but none were killed.
(To read the story as it should be read, start at Alma 53
, and go from there.)
Quick note: They are never called “Stripling Warriors” in the Book of Mormon. The term is used in one of the chapter headings, but never in the actual scriptures. They are referred to as “stripling Ammonites,” or “stripling soldiers”, or as Helaman liked to call them “stripling sons,” But never “stripling warriors.” Oh, and there were 2060 of them.
Now to the main point of this post:
Moms love the story of the 2,000 sons of Helaman. It had become associated with the role of Motherhood, and has become the go-to Mother’s day story from the scriptures. Why? Passages like this:
Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.
I have heard these verses a thousand times, and I am happy that moms in our day get to see the impact that mothers can have on their sons. But I always asked myself…
Where were the fathers of the stripling warriors? Surely they must have been involved, right? But we only hear about the mother, and how they taught their sons to have faith, and to be obedient. Besides, someone had to have taught these boys to fight like they did…?
Where are the dads?
I found them. Yes, I found the fathers of the stripling warriors in Alma 56:27
. In the middle of the war, buried in the middle of the chapter, it says this:
And now it came to pass in the second month of this year, there was brought unto us many provisions from the fathers of those my two thousand sons.
What were the dads doing? Keeping their boys alive. The supply lines were always a problem during this war. The dads were providing for their sons. Probably in the same manner they had been providing for them their entire lives.
Wanna read something interesting?
“By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.”
From one covenant people to another – the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Father’s Day next Sunday. Don’t leave them out of the story.