A few years ago I visited a sister in our ward who was more or less home bound. We were talking about the Book of Mormon and she told me that although she believed the Book of Mormon she refused to read it because of the horrific details of war and killing specifically found in the book of Alma.
I found that interesting and wondered what it said about me because the book of Alma is probably my favorite. I love the detailed accounts of various strategies to overcome the Lamanite armies and take back the Nephite cities. I love the valor of Captain Moroni, being a son of God first and a soldier second. I love the devotion of Teancum, Lehi and Antipus to their Commander in Chief. And I love the tenderness and responsibility that Helaman felt toward his little band of two-thousand and sixty stripling warriors.
Today, I was reading again the account of Helaman and his two thousand sons (for they are worthy to be called sons.) You all know the story as do I. You know that their parents made covenants to never again take up arms in battle. You know that their parents kept their covenants. You know that these sons were taught faith and reliance upon their God by their mothers and undoubtedly their fathers too. You know that Helaman loved his young sons dearly and did all he could to prepare them for the battle they would engage in.
I know this account well, but my heart was stirred today as I pondered the outcome of this little band of warriors and the battle they fought in. You know this too; not one son was killed. Usually I stop there in my pondering and think all is well and continue on with my reading. But the last part of Alma 57:25 has consumed my thoughts all day.
"...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." It didn't say none were killed and all was wonderful. No, quite the opposite.
I write....that my little band of sons and daughters- Derrick, Brittney, Molly, Brandon, Daniel, Emily, Travis, Noelle, Natalie, Holly, and Hannah may know... that I know you too have been and will be engaged in horrible battles. You too have also been born of parents who have made and kept covenants and have taught you faith and reliance on God. You now fight being armed with the power of your own covenants. All of you, with the exception of Molly at this point in time, have received many wounds in life's battles, some I know about and many I don't. Some of those wounds have cut deep and have been extremely painful. I have been humbled and so grateful that you have healed and continue to heal from your wounds. I am grateful that you have become stronger and more valiant as a result of that process. I write that you may know life's battles will result in wounds, but through Christ's atonement, those wounds will be no more. The wounds do not define who you are, but the healing does. How I love my little band of warriors.