Monday, March 16, 2009

Faithful-Ninth Stripling Warrior Character Trait

Book two of The Forgotten Warrior starts at the end of the battle for the city of Cumeni. To paint a vivid picture of the scene, I wrote the following.
© Kathi Oram Peterson

An eerie quiet stole over the gory ground laden with bodies of horses, men, and young warriors. I surveyed the area around me. I’d heard about the devastation of war in my own time, the twenty-first century, but being a girl of only sixteen I’d never actually seen it up close, never fought in a battle … until today. Death was cold, grisly, and unforgiving. The scent of blood snaked through the land as steam rose from the dead. Division banners lay broken and discarded. Earth mourned her burden. The engagement for Cumeni, which had been furious and long, was finally over. Helaman and his stripling warriors, aided by Captain Gid and his troops, had won this horrific battle. Lamanites, who escaped death, ran off to fight another day, in another city. Victory was ours, but at a high price. I’d never seen anything like this, and I prayed I never would again.
As Helaman began the task of searching for his stripling warriors among the dead, I tried to envision how he felt. Many Nephite soldiers had perished. Imagine the fear that would well up within Helaman as he came to a boy lying on the ground, appearing lifeless. All of the boys’ families had trusted their sons to his care. What a tremendous responsibility. Here is another brief scene where I tried to capture this.
He [Helaman] walked over and stared down on the moccasin of a stripling warrior peeking out beneath two slain Lamanites. He quickly dragged the Lamanite bodies away. I held my breath and worried my teeth over my bottom lip. With great … even reverent care, the captain turned the young warrior over. A stab wound leaked blood from the middle of his chest. The warrior’s head lolled to one side … and then his eyes fluttered.
He was alive!
Scenes such as this could have happened over and over until every one of the stripling warriors were accounted for. Not one of them had died.

“And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, that they should be spared while there was a thousand of our brethren who were slain. And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe—that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power.” Alma 57:26

Such faith!
It’s kind of hard for us to understand faith like that…or is it?
My grandmother had nine children back in the early 1900s. To put food on the table sometimes my grandfather would have to go to a different town to find work. Times were tough, World War One had just ended and the great depression was fast approaching. They lived in the country and the nearest phone was in town. Hardly anyone had their own phones back then.
My grandfather had been gone for quite a spell when Grandma ran out of food. She didn’t know what she was going to do. That night she knelt and prayed that the Lord would help her. The next morning when she went out on the porch she found a sack of flour resting on the steps.
Some may say a neighbor probably brought it by and there was no miracle. But Grandma believed that even if a neighbor had brought the flour to her door they did it being prompted by the Lord. Faith brought Grandma to her knees to ask for help and the Lord delivered.

(Grandma is wearing a hat and holding a child on her lap. My mother is standing in back of her. They were visiting some cousins.)

I'm sure there are many of you who probably have similar stories of faith. If you feel comfortable doing so, please feel free to share.
Wednesday I'll post a case scenario with two possible endings, and I'll share with you the interesting answers I received when I gave this lecture at the U of U Institute.

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