Monday, April 6, 2009

The Sons of Helaman

This last weekend I received an email from a friend that I'd like to share with you.

Me and my neighbor are having a conflict over the Forgotten Worrior so my neighbor thinks Helemn is actully Tariks father but I say he is like a father to tarik thats why he calls him father can you tell us who is right? --Mckell.

First of all, it's a thrill to hear from those who have read The Forgotten Warrior. And second, I'm delighted that people are talking about Helaman and the stripling warriors.

Now let's discuss the disagreement, for I can easily see how confusing it could be. In the Book of Mormon in Alma chapter 56 Helaman wrote to Captain Moroni to report on the war in his region. The love he felt for these brave young men was reflected in his words. In verse ten we read: "And I did join my two thousand sons, (for they were worthy to be called sons)..." Helaman indeed called the stripling warriors his sons, though they were not of his flesh and blood. Many may ask what was the deal with their fathers, and why did they send their boys to battle?

Several years before this time, the Stripling Warriors' fathers had made a covenant with God to never kill again. They were so earnest that they buried their weapons. When attacked by a mighty Lamanite army, instead of fighting they prostrated themselves before their enemy. Over a thousand were killed. Their fathers were men of great faith and devotion to God. Many might say it's one thing to put yourself in danger, but your children? Surely God would understand if covenants were broken in this case. And...their fathers would have broken their covenants if it weren't for Helaman, pleading with them to keep their word. Though the boys' fathers chose not to go to war, they worried for their children. In verse 27 we read: "...there was brought unto us many provisions from the fathers of those my two thousand sons." The Stripling Warriors' fathers had placed their trust and faith not only in their God, but also in a man whom they believed would watch over their boys. Helaman did not take his job lightly. The mantle of leadership and guardianship weighed heavily upon him.

In Helaman's report to Moroni, he described the battle for Judea and how bravely the stripling warriors fought. "And now I say unto you, my beloved brother Moroni, that never had I seen so great courage, nay not amongst all the Nephites. For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus. 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." Alma 56: 45-48.

In these few verses we learn so very much about the striplings warriors. They were:
  • very young
  • Helaman called them his sons
  • the warriors called Helaman, Father
  • they loved and honored their fathers and were willing to die for them
  • they were taught to have faith in God by their mothers.
What noble young men they were! I believe they called Helaman father out of deep respect and love. They had witnessed how Helaman had told their fathers that he would rather lose the war than have them break their convenant with God. Helaman was a great hero to the Ammonite people.
So to answer your question, Mckell, in my book The Forgotten Warrior, Tarik--a stripling warrior and second-in-command to Helaman--is not Helaman's biological son. Rather Tarik earned the title "son" from Helaman by fighting in his father's stead with courage, valor and faith in God.

Thank you for asking and giving me the opportunity to explain.

I know we have valient young men and young women amoung us today. In the entries I've received for The Latter-day Stripling Warrior Contest I have read many touching stories. The youth today face a different battle than that of the stripling warriors, nontheless I believe many share the same courage, valor and faith in God as did Helaman's sons. If you know of a youth who should be nominated to be a Latter-day Stripling Warrior, please go to my website, click on "events" and fill out the entry form. Every youth (young man or young woman between 8 and 18) nominated will receive a certificate stating
"-----is a Latter-day Stripling Warrior."
It will be signed by me, Tarik, Sydney and Ximon (3 of the characters in my book). Please print the form and mail it to: The Latter-day Stripling Warrior Contest, P. O. Box 8594, Midvale, Utah 84047. The deadline is April 15th. The winner will receive a $50.00 gift certificate for


  1. Kathy, it's really cool that you get to bring scripture and doctrine into your blog. Journeying with your readers as they choose and solidify their morals and values must be a great perk to being an author. Keep up the good work.

  2. Nikki, writing about the prophets and noble people in the Book of Mormon has been a blessing in my life. Our youth of today are awesome! And it is a perk to associate with them!



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