The book of Alma offers mothers powerful motivation to make certain their children know their deepest beliefs. “Yea, they [the 2000 stripling warriors] 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: 47-48)
The Battleground of the Last Days
Only a few of our sons face actual combat right now, but they all are engaged in a fierce battle with Satan for their eternal lives. Are we, as the mothers of Israel teaching them that if they do not doubt, God will deliver them from the powers of evil? What faithful woman of Christ would not rejoice to have her children say “we do not doubt our mothers knew it?” Are we sure our children know that we know? Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “No child in this Church should be left with uncertainty about his or her parents’ devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Restoration of His Church, and the reality of living prophets and apostles. . . Live the gospel as conspicuously as you can. Keep the covenants your children know you have made . . . And bear your testimony! Don’t just assume your children will somehow get the drift of your beliefs on their own.” (“A Prayer for the Children,” Ensign, May, 2003, 85-87)
Are We Creating a Spiritual Legacy?
I know my own mother knew those things. She not only “talked the talk,” she “walked the walk.” She lived with me the last years of her life, and many times had me call the Elders when her lung condition caused her great pain. Blessings sustained her, and I saw her approach death with peace and joy because of her faith. I desire greatly to pass on this legacy of faith to my “stripling warriors.”
I have lived long enough to know that God’s power is marvelous, and that only His power can preserve us on the spiritual battleground of these Last Days. My greatest desire is to have my children spiritually preserved by that power. What a relatively unimportant thing physical death is compared to spiritual death. Separating ourselves from God is the only true tragedy. When Elizabeth Smart was missing, thousands rallied, greatly concerned for her well-being. We need to rally in like manner in support of all our children whose spiritual lives are in just as real jeopardy. The adversary knows what bright and wonderful spirits they are and is out to thwart them. When there seems to be little else we can do, our hearts can be drawn out in prayer continually for their spiritual welfare.
Feeling intensely the importance of the choices of young adult sons, I wrote in my journal some time ago: “I feel to invoke the blessings of heaven on my sons–to call out every possible spiritual source of help. They are at the crossroad, their decisions are so crucial; I know the adversary will do all in his power to turn them from the spiritual blessings that are their birthright. I read their patriarchal blessings recently. These are choice and valiant spirits and worth all the effort Satan can make to waylay them from the right path. Surely the Lord knows exactly what is happening and will send every spiritual source of help that can strengthen them. Their spirits are so precious, their decisions so crucial right now–choice of wife, choice of path, choice of life patterns. Their whole life will be so much affected. Their unborn children so impacted. Can these unborn children intervene in their behalf? Can they influence them for righteousness and right choices? Only the Lord knows what my sons need, what can reach them, what influences will safeguard their souls, keep them on the path to their eternal inheritances. How I pray that they will be protected from the evils in the world, that the people and situations will come into their lives that will encourage them in the things of God. I would give my very life for any one of them to keep them safely moving ahead true to the best that is in them, listening to the Spirit, following it, becoming the men of God they have the potential to become. But in reality, I know that the most important thing I can do for them is to live by the Spirit myself and be a living witness of the truth.”
The Example of the Stripling Warriors
Alma 57:21 tells us more about the stripling warriors, “Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every work 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.” Verse 27 continues, “Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually.”
Many principles are taught in these short verse—faith, trust in the Lord, obedience, exactness in keeping commandments, how the Lord honors faith, how a mother’s right teachings can influence the life course of a child. Having on the “whole armor of God,” these stripling warriors fought valiantly for their people. And what was their fate? Alma 57:25 says: “Nevertheless, according to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.”
The Savior Will Bind Up All Wounds
Living in this wicked world, fighting daily battles, “wounds” are inevitable. Our children must learn by their mistakes–not by having us protect them from making any. The stripling warrior’s mothers prepared their sons to go off and do battle with great faith. They did not try to protect them by keeping them from going. But the words and prayers of their mothers sustained them. Physically, all our children’s lives may not be spared in this dangerous world we live in. However, their spiritual lives are our primary concern. Unhealed spiritual wounds can keep our warriors from playing their rightful roles in the army of the Lord. They can faint from loss of blood–spiritual blood. They can lose the Spirit when spiritually wounded. However, the glorious gift of the Atonement is Healing–no matter how grievous the spiritual wounds. The Savior will bind up our stripling warrior’s wounds–and ours as well.
“And we do justly ascribe it [their protection] 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.
27 “Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually.”
Our children will be spiritually protected by their faith in the Lord and their faith can be increased by our faithfulness, consistent loving communication, and example. The children of the promise shall not perish spiritually!
I Pray That the Children Know
Elder Holland concluded, “Nephi-like, might we ask ourselves what our children know? From us? Personally? Do our children know that we love the scriptures? Do they see us reading them and marking them and clinging to them in daily life? Have our children ever unexpectedly opened a closed door and found us on our knees in prayer? Have them heard us not only pray with them but also pray for them out of nothing more than sheer parental love? .
. . Do those children know that we love God with all our heart and that we long to see the face–and fall at the feet–of His Only Begotten Son? I pray that they know this.” ( Holland, “A Prayer for the Children,” Ensign, May, 2003, p. 85-87)
I know God lives. I know Jesus is His Only Begotten Son who gave us the priceless gift of the Atonement. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was restored to the earth by a prophet I revere, even Joseph Smith, and that the Church has been led by living prophets and apostles ever since. I know the Savior’s love and mighty power can preserve us spiritually through every Last Day adversity. I pray that my children know that I know.
And I pray that your children know that you know.
In the name of Jesus Christ,