Brother Kris Hammond used the story of the 2,000 stripling warriors in The Book of Mormon to teach about becoming a great support to those around us.
Brother Hammond is the Student Activities Communication Manager at BYU-Idaho. He said speaking on July 25 is special to him. His grandmother, Dorla Rudd Jenkins, died on this day three years ago. He told of her rich testimony of faith, work, and love. "A large portion of who and what we are, the things we love, how we act, and the way we treat one another is instilled into our hearts and minds through the words and actions of our ancestors," he said.
He said one of the stories he loved her to tell him was the story of the 2,000 stripling warriors. He describes the warriors as a unit or a support to the greater army of the Nephites. He taught the word "stripling" refers to not men in their twenties, but they "might be found in our priests and teachers quorums... they are in that awkward physical time between boyhood and manhood when they are very capable, but not fully grown, developed or mature."
In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, he elaborated on this idea, "I think these were a lot younger men. They were kids that volunteered, that were assigned to go to this battle, to go into this battle against grown men. And because of the exceeding faith that they had in God, they were able to do so and they were able to come out, as we know, remarkably, none of them lost their lives in any of those battles."
Brother Hammond taught that these warriors parents were ready to break their covenants to help the Nephites defend themselves against the Lamanites, but they had made a covenant with God to never fight again. "Power comes from making and keeping covenants for us today just as it did for the Ammonites," he said. "With their covenants came support. Support from scripture, support from the prophets and leaders, support from their families and support from one another."
Those who made covenants kept their covenants and sent their young sons to war. Those sons were faithful, but they didn't know much about war. However, because of the covenants their parents made, they were willing to enter a new covenant to defend their lands and their brethren. "We live in a world today filled with doubt and uncertainty," Brother Hammond said. "As levels of faith decrease in the world, our levels of faith as individuals within the Church need to increase. Never feel ashamed because of your faith. Never feel like you are missing out on something because you have faith. Never believe that your faith is holding you back or limiting your ability to live your life."
By keeping their covenants and being faithful, these young warriors were blessed. None of them were killed in battle. Brother Hammond taught that they became a strength to the army of the Nephites. "I know that God our Father loves and cares for each of us every bit as much as He loved and cared for the 2,000 stripling warriors," he taught. "He will support each of us every bit as much as He supported them if we will but have faith in Him. Life is not always easy. Living the standards of the gospel is not always easy, but we need to remember that as spirit children of our Father in Heaven each of us comes from a divine heritage and has eternal potential and divine destiny."
To listen to the full devotional talk, click below. To watch or read the transcript of the devotional, click here.