Betty's Open Letter (email)
Re: Stripling Warriors In Our Day
I've received a post from one of our Dads subscribed to our area list (he's from Australia. Thanks, Bro. Alfred!). He has posed a very good question for all of us, and I think this would be a great topic for discussion in our groups. He asks:
"Is there some way that a greater sense of work and duty could be developed in the homes of latter-day saints that serves to fortify young men when they get on missions? I think there is, and I'm sure we could all think of ways to accomplish this."
When you think about it, in the Book of Mormon, those 2,060 Stripling Warriors left home at a very young age. I have often wondered just how young they were? I imagine some of them could have been as young as 16, if they matured quickly. They certainly had to be physically mature enough, I would imagine, to fight in a battle. I like to liken our young missionaries to them. These young men had been taught in their lives to obey with exactness. In Alma 57:21 it says:
"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."
What can we do to help our young missionaries be obedient? I mean, these young warriors obeyed every word of command with exactness!
The mothers of the Stripling Warriors not only taught their sons, but, they cut those apron strings in a very definite way! They didn't get phone calls on Christmas or Mother's Day, and I don't imagine they received weekly individual letters. I'm sure there must have been some communication...but during a war, it would have been a bit tough to get word back and forth. They received packages (supplies). They also probably knew how to wash their clothes and could cook their food. I don't know any of the details of how an army does things, but I imagine our armies are pretty similar in many aspects with those in Book of Mormon times.
We also know that these warriors didn't give up. They stuck it out to the finish. Had it not been for them, the other armies would have been defeated.
So, in light of the question Bro. Alfred has posed, and using the Stripling Warriors and their mothers as an example, what can and should we be doing and teaching our children? What can we fortify our young men with before they leave home?
I imagine, too, those Stripling Warriors weren't like some of my own kids who will look at me and say, "WHY?" when I ask them to do something. :^) OK, I take that back. Maybe these warriors were past that part of their development. They might have asked the "Why" questions at a much younger age. They obviously learned very quickly and got over the "whys" before getting into the army! I used to come up with all kinds of valid reasons to answer my kid's "why" questions. However, as I proceed in age, I am getting a bit more impatient with the "whys", and just tell them, "Because I said so!" I do take time occasionally to explain to them that I'm an old woman who is wiser, and have lived through my teenage years long ago and just have more experience than they do. After all, Mother Knows Best, kind of stuff.
These young men were super strong in their faith, too. The did not doubt! Obviously, they knew their stuff before they fought the war. To have faith, they must have known who our Savior is, and, believed with every fiber of their beings. They also had to have great mental and emotional stamina. We already know they had the physical strength to fight their battles. But more importantly, their minds and spirits were just as strong as their physical bodies. How was this developed?
I'd love it if some of you offered some suggestions or discussions on this topic!
Betty Pearson, Lehi, Listowner, LDS Missionary Mothers