Monday, April 13, 2009

Captain Helaman's Heritage and You

Over the past few months we’ve discussed ten stripling warrior character traits you can apply to your life, but what about the character traits of their great leader? What do you know about Chief Captain Helaman? And what lessons can you learn from him?

A little family history on Helaman will help. He was the son of Alma. In the Book of Mormon there are two very notable men named Alma. This could become confusing so for the sake of clarity we’ll call the older one just plain Alma and his son we’ll call Alma the younger, which is how he is referred to in many places in the Book of Mormon. Let’s start with Helaman’s grandfather.

Alma was a descendent of Nephi and one of King Noah’s priests. When the prophet Abinadi was brought before the king, Alma heard this mighty man declare his belief in God. Alma was touched by Abinadi’s words and bravery. He pleaded with the king to spare Abinadi’s life. This made the king very angry and he cast Alma out. And then he sent his men to kill him. Fortunately Alma was able to hide. He put his time to good use and recorded all of Abinadi’s words. Alma brought many people into the gospel, but his son, Alma the younger, was rebellious.

Alma the younger and the four sons of Mosiah set out to destroy the church. Imagine the sorrow in Alma's heart that his son--his namesake--would turn against his teachings and the church. Many prayers were said for these rebellious young men. God sent an angel to stop them. They were struck helpless and dumb. Alma the younger was taken to his father. When his father heard what happened he rejoiced. After two days and nights, Alma the younger was able to tell his father about the angel. He repented of his past ways and dedicated his life to preaching the word of God. Alma the younger was Helaman’s father.

Captain Helaman had a very rich heritage from his grandfather and his father. How does Helaman’s heritage apply to you and me? There are many ways to answer that question, but as I read these stories again, it struck me how very important our words are and how we never know how our words might affect other people:

----The words of Abinadi converted Alma. And if you read that story you learn how King Noah’s words were his undoing and eventually caused his death.
----The words of Alma the younger, before his conversion, were leading people astray. An angel saved him. The words of an angel brought humility to his heart and converted him to the truth.

We are not prophets or angels, but our words affect others. What we say may some day count for or against us.
What do you think?
I’d love to hear from you.


  1. Words do have a great impact on our lives- every time I went out the door as a child my mother would pipe up and say, "Remember who you are" and that phrase echoes in my mind every time I have a difficult choice to make.

  2. Mom's are like that, aren't they? I think I remember my mom saying the same thing.:)



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