Monday, January 12, 2009

Stripling Warrior Mini-history





The stripling warriors’ story started long before they went to battle. They were descendents of Laman, which made them Lamanites. The Lamanites, who lived in seven lands and cities, were converted to the gospel by the sons of Mosiah. Through their conversion they became a righteous people. They were so committed to live the gospel that they didn’t want to be known as Lamanites. They wanted a different name.
The name is rather long. When you first look at it you might think it means the opposite from what it really says. In Alma 23:17 in the Book of Mormon it tells us. “…they called their names Anti-Nephi-Lehies…” When you first read this you might think they were against Nephi and Lehi. But that is not the case at all. Hugh Nibley explained their strong name very well. He said that Nephi-Lehi means a combination of Nephi and Lehi and anti, in this case and point in time, means a face-to-face meeting or a joining together with somebody. (Nibley, 339) Their new name meant they were joining together with Nephi and Lehi.

What happens in Alma chapter 24 is significant and sets the stage for the Anti-Nephi-Lehi young men to become stripling warriors. In this chapter we read that the Lamanites were riled up because the Anti-Nephi-Lehies broke away from them. They were so upset that they wanted to go to war.

What was the Anti-Nephi-Lehies’ reaction?

“Now there was not one soul among all the people who had been converted unto the Lord that would take up arms against their brethren; nay, they would not even make any preparations for war; yea, and also their king commanded them that they should not.” Alma 24:6
These people were so amazing and committed to the Lord. Knowing that their past sins had been forgiven and their swords were wiped clean by Christ’s atonement, they didn’t want to go back to the way things were. They wanted to keep their swords clean of blood.
The Anti-Nephi-Lehies had an enemy knocking on their door wanting to do battle. But instead of storing up weapons, they buried them. Their actions spoke louder than words, and what they did next becomes even more poignant. They didn’t raise the barriers between them and their enemy, they lowered them. And when they saw the enemy coming against them; they prostrated themselves before them. The Lamanites had no mercy. They killed over one thousand of these brave men. But as the Lamanites realized that the Anti-Nephi-Lehies really weren’t going to fight… a miracle happened. The Lamanites’ hearts began to swell, and they threw down their weapons. Now you’re probably thinking, but what about the men who were killed? A miracle didn’t save them. Those Anti-Nephi-Lehies, who made the ultimate sacrifice, knew what they were doing. They gained a heavenly reward. And because of their sacrifice their sons and daughters’ faith waxed strong.

Many of those children’s brothers, fathers and grandfathers lives were sacrificed on that field. Their families felt this great loss, but they knew their loved ones had gone to a better place and that their legacy would long be remembered.

Try to imagine how those who survived in the field felt. Here their fellow soldiers, their soldier-brothers, gave their lives to keep their covenant with God never to fight again. You can be certain that they would not let such a sacrifice be in vain. They would keep their covenants!

Time passed…and the Lamanites became contentious towards the Anti-Nephi-Lehies once again. Ammon, one of the sons of Mosiah and a great leader, was so worried about them that he took them to the land Jershon where the Nephites could protect them. The Anti-Nephi-Lehies became known as “…the people of Ammon” Alma 27:26. We refer to them as the Ammonites. What happened next between the Nephites and the Lamanites? All-out war. In Alma 28:2 we read “…tens of thousands of the Lamanites were slain and scattered abroad…” Verse 3 records: “Yea, and also there was a tremendous slaughter among the people of Nephi.” So this was a time of great mourning. Imagine how the Ammonites felt knowing that so many Nephites had died protecting them.

The war would rise and fall after this and would eventually become so bad that the Ammonites were willing to break their covenant with God to help in the fight. Who was it that insisted they keep their oath? He was not only a chief captain, but also a prophet and the keeper of the records. Helaman feared their very souls would be in danger if the Ammonites broke their covenant with God, so he told them thanks, but no thanks. He’d rather lose the war than have them cut off from the Lord.

Realizing the dire situation their people were in and that many Nephites were dying protecting them and also remembering that many of their brothers, fathers and grandfathers had sacrificed their very lives not to bloody their swords, the young men of the Ammonites stepped forward. They hadn’t taken the oath and they were willing to fight.
These brave boys made a covenant to fight for the liberty of the Nephites and to protect their land. They were extremely valiant and courageous and true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.

You’re probably thinking to yourself, that’s a nice story, but how does it apply to me? Let me know how you believe this story can apply to our lives.
References:
The Book of Mormon (The Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981).
Nibley, H. Teaching of the Book of Mormon: Part Two (Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies and Nibly LLC, 2004).

4 comments:

  1. What a terrific book! I just finished reading it. My heart was with Syd all the way. You will be thrilled and inspired by this story!
    Elizabeth LAne

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  2. Thanks, Elizabeth! I'm glad you enjoyed. I'm looking forward to the release of your new book, His Substitue Bride!

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  3. I absolutely love this picture. Does anyone know if they sell it at Deseret Book? I can never seem to find it.

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  4. Alorah,
    The picture at the very top was done by artist Clark Kelley Price and is titled "It's true sir. All present and accounted for." I think the last one is by Friberg's, but I'm not sure about the middle picture.

    I believe all of the pictures on this posting are available either at DB or Seagull Book. :)

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