Newman Family

Newman Family

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Alma 56: The Power of Families - Cherish Newman

I love this chapter of the Book of Mormon.  I cannot get through it without tears.  The spirit always fills me.

This chapter is about the first battle of the stripling warriors.

The lesson that gets taught to me when I read this chapter is the immense power that righteous families doing their duties and living in faith can have on the world.

The Fathers:  The Ammonite fathers play two huge roles in this story.  First off they are providers. See verse 27
            27 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.

This a first witness to the truth that is in the Family: A Proclamation to the World

            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.

These Fathers did provide for their families and especially their sons at war.  I have always had a picture in my mind of these fathers gathering their harvests and supplies and making a trek to their sons at war, to do whatever they could to support and provide. 
The one thing they could not do was to protect.  They could not go to war themselves because of a covenant they had made, to bury their weapons of war and never fight again.  So when the Nephites needed help to protect their country the fathers wanted to help, and wondered if they should break their oath.  Instead their sons volunteered to go to war.  Oh what an excruciating trial of faith that must have been.  It would be really hard to leave your family to go to war, but to be asked to send your child in your place, it seems unimaginable. Yet it was the right thing to do.

I do believe there were some fathers that were able to help protect these sons.  (Alma 24) About 13 years before this battle when the Fathers and the Mothers of these boys had been converted and had made their covenant and buried their weapons of war.  Some other Lamanites came to attack these people.  A large group of these fathers went out to meet them.  Not with their weapons, but with their faith.  They knelt in trust of their God and sacrificed their lives for their covenants and their families.  Their sacrifice caused the battle to stop and many Lamanites to be converted.

23 Now when the Lamanites saw that their brethren would not flee from the sword, neither would they turn aside to the right hand or to the left, but that they would lie down and perish, and praised God even in the very act of perishing under the sword—
 24 Now when the Lamanites saw this they did forbear from slaying them; and there were many whose hearts had swollen in them for those of their brethren who had fallen under the sword, for they repented of the things which they had done.
 25 And it came to pass that they threw down their weapons of war, and they would not take them again, for they were stung for the murders which they had committed; and they came down even as their brethren, relying upon the mercies of those whose arms were lifted to slay them.
 26 And it came to pass that the people of God were joined that day by more than the number who had been slain; and those who had been slain were righteous people, therefore we have no reason to doubt but what they were saved.
 27 And there was not a wicked man slain among them; but there were more than a thousand brought to the knowledge of the truth; thus we see that the Lord worketh in many ways to the salvation of his people.

Among our stripling warriors, we had boys who had lost their fathers in that battle, fathers who had been the ultimate example of faith and protection.  There were also probably boys whose fathers had been part of the attacking Lamanites who had converted.  What examples of faith, conversion, and forgiveness.

Alma 56, teaches about the stripling warriors going into battle, for the first time.  They had great faith.

44 Therefore what say ye, my sons, will ye go against them to battle?
 45 And now I say unto you, my beloved brother Moroni, that never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites.
 46 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.
 47 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.
 48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.

They go into battle.  These young 14-18, boys go into battle.  They go up against adult, seasoned soldiers.  The boys win!  How is this possible?  Obviously the Lord helped them, but what did the Lord do to help them?  I propose that he probably enlightened their minds, gave them clarity, confidence and the ability to think quickly.  I think He also probably strengthened their bodies, more endurance, strength, and quicker reflexes. 
I also think He sent them ministering angels, and specific ones. We know that one of the rights of the priesthood is the “ministering of Angels” which is the daily teaching and help of angels.  These boys held and honored their priesthood; they had the right of angelic help.  Wouldn’t God have sent them angelic help?  What angels would he send?  I felt that the Lord revealed to me that he sent their fathers.  The Lord sent the very same fathers that had been martyred, whose calling it was to protect their sons, even on the other side of the veil.   I saw that the angelic fathers were standing as shields, deflecting blows, and adding resistance to the enemy as shields of protection for these courageous boys.  Oh how beautiful, and merciful of our Lord.  Just like in the Old Testament with Elisha the prophet:

15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
          16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

            This first battle with the stripling warriors turned the tide of the whole Nephite and Lamanite war, from this point on the Lamanites do not gain any ground.  It was the power of the whole family that changed this war and people.  The incredible power of the mother’s (and grandmother’s, sisters) testimonies, nurturing and teachings helped mold the boys into the courageous, valiant and remarkable young men that they were.… they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
 48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.

            The boys’ powers lie in their characters.  They were teachable in the scripture above, they show that they listened and obeyed their mothers.  They also internalized and applied the teachings of their parents.

20 And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all—they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.
 21 Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him.

Alma 57:21 Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them.

            These powerful and righteous families changed their world.  We are in a war in our times as well, a spiritual war.  I know that the Lord will protect and deliver our children and us.  I testify that as we as mothers are faithful and teach and nurture.  As father’s we teach, protect and provide.  As children we listen, obey and apply, we can be powerful families that will come of conquerors!

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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