Helaman and the Stripling Warriors
• Items needed: tape, scriptures for each child, two containers, colored markers, several pieces of chalk and an eraser, scissors for each child (child scissors can usually be checked out at meetinghouse libraries).
• Print and cut out the health statements. Tape the “true” and “false” signs onto the containers, one on each. Also print and cut out the characteristics activity items.
• Print and cut out the scripture story visual aids. (The footprints are not in the correct order. This is to allow you to use different colored paper for each of the three groups. To help you identify the groups, there are letters next to each number on the footprints. S stands for stripling warrior, L stands for Lamanites, and N stands for Nephites. Also trace and cut out one blank footprint for each group from the color paper used.)
• Print the small footprints. One copy is needed per child, and they can be printed or copied onto different colored papers if desired.
• Print or obtain the pictures of the Two Thousand Young Warriors and The Anti-Nephi-Lehies Burying their Swords.
• Put the scripture story answer strips on the board using magnets or tape before class begins, or pre-stick them to a small portable display board using sticky tack. Post the big sign that says “Faith in God” on a wall.
Put the true and false labeled containers on the table. Give each child a health statement, and have them take turns reading their statement. Tell the children to stand up if they hear a statement read that is not true. Ask the children to explain why it is not true. After a statement is read, have the child put their statement in the true or the false container.
Ask the children how they knew when something was false. (Because their mothers or someone had taught them what is correct.)
• What would happen if someone did the things that were on the false statements? (Their body could become unhealthy, sick, or injured). Does knowing the consequences of following the false health statements help you want to do what is correct? Did knowing what was right help you stand up and declare when something was false?
Tell the children that in today’s lesson they will learn about a group of young men who were taught what is right by their mothers; they were taught to have faith in God and to be obedient to God’s commandments. This knowledge helped them be valiant in doing and defending what is right.
Remind the children of last week’s lesson concerning Amalickiah and his desire to rule over all the land. His wicked desires motivated him to start a war to attain his purposes. Explain that Amalickiah’s quest for power was brief because he was killed by the Nephite Teancum. But Amalickiah’s brother, Ammaron, was appointed to be king over the Lamanites in Amalickiah’s stead. Ammaron also desired power, and he continued the terrible war his brother had started.
There was much suffering and death that occurred because of the war. The Lamanites attacked and captured many Nephite cities. They accomplished this through cunning and through their numberless hosts. The cities they captured were all strongly fortified after the manner of the fortifications of Moroni; all of which afforded strongholds for the Lamanites.
Show a picture of the “Anti-Nephi-Lehies Burying Their Swords”, and ask the children if they remember who the people in the picture are and why they were burying their weapons. Remind the children that after the Anti-Nephi-Lehies (the people of Ammon) repented of their many sins, they made a covenant to never shed blood again. Because of their covenant they would not defend themselves against the Lamanites. In order to protect the people of Ammon, the Nephites gave them the land of Jershon to live in. (Put the land of Jershon picture on the top left of the board (or wall).
When the people of Ammon saw the danger, the afflictions, and the many tribulations the Nephites were enduring in the war against the Lamanites, they were moved to compassion and wished to take up arms in defense of their country. Helaman persuaded them not to break their oath because Helaman feared they would lose their souls if they broke their covenant.
The people of Ammon had many sons who had not entered into the covenant. These young sons gathered and covenanted to fight for the liberty of the people. (Put the picture of the stripling warriors at the top right of the board.) These young warriors chose a leader, and then they marched toward the southern borders in support of the people there.
Put footprint number one on the board, next to the land of Jershon, heading towards the bottom right of the board. Have a child read the question on the footprint and then find the matching answer. Have the children look up and read the scripture reference to make sure the answer is correct. If the answer is incorrect have the child exchange their answer for the correct one. Afterwards, add any additional discussion or comments that are listed under the question below. Continue in this manner with each footprint, going in numerical order.
1-S) Who did the young Ammonites choose as their leader? (Alma 53:19) The stripling warriors desired Helaman to be their leader.
• Who was Helaman? He was the oldest son of the prophet Alma the younger. He had been chosen to be the next spiritual leader of the people and the keeper of the records.
• Why would choosing and following a righteous leader make a difference in the young Ammonite’s effectiveness and safety in battle? A righteous leader would seek for, be worthy of, and follow the guidance of the Holy Ghost as he made decisions concerning their endeavors.
2-S) How many of these young Ammonite warriors were there at first? (Alma 53:22) There were two thousand of these young men called stripling warriors.
• What does “stripling” mean? The dictionary defines it as a boy in his teenage years who has not yet grown to his full size.
3-S) What did Helaman call the stripling warriors? (Alma 56:10) Sons
• Why did Helaman call the stripling warriors sons? They were young and worthy to be called sons, and Helaman loved each of these young men like a father loves his children.
4-S) What city did the sons of Helaman march to? (Alma 56:9) The city of Judea (Put the picture of the city of Judea on the board, along with footprint five leading to its entrance.)
5-S) How did the Nephites in Judea respond when they saw the stripling warriors? (Alma 56:10 & 16-17) (Joyfully) The leader Antipus rejoiced to have reinforcements to strengthen his army. The Nephite soldiers were also joyful. They had lost many men and had suffered much in defense of their cities, and it gave them hope and joy to see the stripling warriors.
Now that the Nephites had reinforcements they wished to try and draw out the Lamanites from the Nephite cities they had taken. They did not desire to attack the Lamanites in their strongholds.
6-S) Who did Antipus send out of the city of Judea as bait to pretend to take provisions to a neighboring city? (Alma 56:30) Helaman and the stripling warriors
7-S) Which Lamanite conquered city did Helaman and his two thousand stripling warriors march past in order to try and draw the Lamanites out? (Alma 56:31) Antiparah (Put the city of Antiparah just below footprint number six.)
(Put the next footprint (8-L) coming out of the city of Antiparah.)
8-L) What did the Lamanites in Antiparah do when they saw Helaman and his young warriors? (Alma 56:35-36) The Lamanites came forth from Antiparah with their army and pursued after them. Helaman and his stripling warriors did flee before the Lamanites, and thus they did accomplish their goal of leading away a large Lamanite army from their stronghold.
(Put the next footprint coming out of the city of Judea. The footprints after that will be added to the end of the footprints of each group according to their label of L for Lamanites, N for Nephites, and S for the stripling warriors.)
9-N) What were Antipus and part of his army doing when the stripling warriors were marching past Antiparah? (Alma 56:33) They were marching forth from Judea to go attack the Lamanites that came out of Antiparah.
10-L) What did the Lamanites desire to do before the Nephite army overtook them? (Alma 56:37) Slay Helaman and his stripling warriors so they would not be surrounded when the Nephite army overtook them.
11-N) What did Antipus do when he saw the danger to the young stripling warriors? (Alma 56:38) Increased the speed of his army
12 -S) How many days did the Lamanites pursue Helaman and the stripling warriors? (Alma 56:42) Two days and two nights, and into the morning of the third day. (Put one blank footprint on each group to represent the pursuit, and then explain that on the morning of the third day the Lamanites halted their pursuit.
13-S) What did the stripling warriors want to do when they saw they were no longer being pursued? (Alma 56:43-46) They wanted to turn back, even though the situation could be a trap. They wanted to make sure Antipus and his army had not been overcome by the Lamanites.
(Put the next footprints turning back to head towards the Lamanite footprints).
14-S) Why were the stripling warriors not afraid to fight in the battle against the Lamanites? (Alma 56:47) (Love for family & faith in God) They had been taught by their mothers that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
15-S) What did the stripling warriors discover when they turned back? (Alma 56:49) They discovered a terrible battle had commenced between the Lamanites and the army of Antipus. (Put the visual aid that is labeled battle area between the end of the Lamanite and Nephite footprints.)
(Put the next footprint on top of the battle area.)
16-N) What would have happened to the army of Antipus if the stripling warriors had not turned back? (Alma 56:50) The army of Antipus was weary from their long, fast march and they were about to fall into the hands of the Lamanites. If Helaman and his stripling warriors had not returned, the army would have fallen.
(Put footprint sixteen on top of footprint fifteen.)
17-L) The Lamanites surrendered to the Nephites. What factors compelled them to surrender? (Alma 56:54 & 56) With the arrival of the two thousand stripling warriors into the battle, the Lamanites were surrounded, but the most compelling reason for their surrender was that they became afraid when they saw the mighty power and strength the two thousand warriors fought with.
(Put footprint eighteen on top of footprint seventeen, and tell the children that after the Lamanites surrendered, Helaman numbered his young men fearing that many had been slain.)
18-S) How many stripling warriors died in battle? (Alma 55-56) To his great joy he discovered that not one of them had been slain by the sword
After returning to the city of Judea and receiving reinforcements, the Nephites and stripling warriors waged other battles against the Lamanites, and they took back several cities. After one great battle, where they were outnumbered and many people were killed, Helaman was once again worried that that some of his young men might have been killed.
Have six children, in sets of two, quickly draw on the board some stick figures under the title of Nephites, Lamanites, and stripling warriors. Have a child erase some of the Nephites. Explain that a thousand Nephites were killed in the terrible battle. Have another child erase some the Lamanites. Explain that many Lamanites were also killed in the battle. (Activity Source: Teaching the Scripture Readers)
• How many of the stripling warriors were killed in the battle? Every one of the stripling warriors had several injuries, but Helaman was happy to find out that not one of them had perished. (Alma 57:25)
The stripling warrior’s preservation was astonishing to the Nephite army, and they attributed it to the stripling warrior’s great faith in the Lord that He would preserve them.
The stripling warriors gained their great faith while in their youth as they listened to and obeyed the teachings of their mothers. Heavenly Father gives us parents to love, teach, and guide us through our lives.
• What are some things that your parents or other family members (such as grandparents) have taught you that led you to gaining faith in the Lord?
Give each child a page of the small footsteps and have the children write their answers on the small footsteps. (For example: Keep the Sabbath Day holy, read the scriptures, say prayers, be honest, be forgiving, serve others, etc.) Have them roughly cut a few out and post them on the wall heading toward the sign that says “Faith in God.” Tell the children that at the end of class you want them to take their footsteps (cutting out the rest later) and put them on a wall in their room leading to their sign that says “Faith in God”. This will help remind them that following the righteous teachings of their parents and family members can lead them to gaining faith in God.
Activity & Game
As the Ammonites listened to and obeyed the righteous teachings of their mothers, not only did they gain great faith but they also developed other strong, righteous characteristics.
Divide the children into four groups and explain that each group is going to look up a scripture that tells about one of the righteous characteristics the young Ammonites developed in their youth. Give each group their characteristic card and their scripture and discussion ideas card. Tell them to read their discussion card and scripture and be prepared to tell what their characteristic is, tell about or describe their characteristic, and read the related parts of their scripture to the class. Have them tape their characteristic on the board. (Be prepared to add in any additional needed discussion to what the children present.)
After a group presents their characteristic, do the following game: Have a child stand and tell how they can demonstrate that characteristic as they go about their day to day life. For example “I can courageously stand up for the right by sticking up for a child that is being picked on.” Have the next child stand and say the same thing plus add their own. Continue doing this until all the children have had a turn. (Start with a different child each time a new characteristic is presented.)
• Trustworthy and Reliable (Read the second half of Alma 53:20) The stripling warriors were “true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.” The Lord could count on them to always do the right things and firmly follow through with whatever he asked of them. The people around them could also rely on them to be dependable and trustworthy.
• Courageous (Read the first half of Alma 53:20) “They were exceedingly valiant for courage.” They had great courage and did not fear death. “They did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives.” (Alma 56:47) They courageously stood for what is right because of their love for their family. Our family and friends are also under attack – spiritual attack. We need to have the courage to stand up for what is right and defend truth and right to help make the world a safer and better place for them.
• Hard Working (Read the first half of Alma 53:20) “They were exceedingly valiant for courage and also for strength and activity.’ Valiant for strength and activity means they worked hard to do whatever needed to be done.
• Obedient – to parents, leaders, and the commandments of God. (Read the scriptures below.)
• How did the young Ammonites respond to the commands they received from their leaders and from God? (See Alma 57:21) “They did obey…. every word of command with exactness.” (Alma 58:40) “They are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day; yea, they do observe to keep his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments continually.”
(Read this quote after the characteristic of obedience is presented.) “The key to their success was to obey every word and command. Yes, if we are going to draw upon the powers of heaven, intention is not enough. We must obey every word of command with exactness…We must actually obey the law; intention is not enough!” Rex C. Reeve, New Era, Jul 1981
Explain to the children that they can be given the strength and power to stand up for what is right and gain characteristics of great worth like the stripling warriors if they will listen to and follow the righteous teachings and examples of their parents and leaders.
Weekly Reading Assignment
Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week: Alma 53: 10–22 & Alma 56:21-56