By Crystal W. Jenson
There were two thousand of those young men, who entered into this covenant … to defend their country. … They were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all—they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted. Alma 53:18, 20.
Crystal W. Jenson, “Stripling Warriors,” Friend, Oct. 1996, 15
I was so excited to tell Mom and Dad about Primary that I had a hard time sitting still in sacrament meeting. My mind kept wandering back to the story about the sons of Helaman in the Book of Mormon. Now I knew what I wanted to be for our neighborhood costume party this year—one of the two thousand stripling warriors! I just hoped that Mom could make my costume. I kept imagining how cool I would look with a big gold shield and arm bands like the young men in the picture.
On the way home, I told Mom and Dad about my idea. My sister started to laugh, but I didn’t care. At school recess the next day, when I told my friend Jacob about my costume, we got into an argument because he wanted to be one of the sons of Helaman too. Then we decided that it’d be great if we dressed alike.
After school, the guys I play baseball with heard us talking about it and wanted to be stripling warriors, too—and lots of them weren’t even members of the Church! I knew my dad would be happy to hear that I’d been talking about the Book of Mormon with my friends, but I was a little nervous about telling my mom that I had volunteered her to make all the costumes!
Fortunately, when they heard about it, the other moms volunteered to help make the costumes.
That night in family home evening, we talked about the two thousand sons of Helaman. At first I thought it was just a coincidence, but during the lesson, I realized that Mom and Dad wanted me to see that there was more to the story than handsome young men with shields and weapons and fighting. I guess I missed the important part in Primary because I was thinking about my costume. I was impressed that night not only by their courage in defending their country and religion and families but also because they had listened to their mothers and were obedient to the things that were taught to them.
As I lay in bed that night, I realized that I could be like one of Helaman’s sons by being obedient to my parents and keeping the commandments. One of the things Mom and Dad had always taught me was to be kind and to serve others. I knew that it was just as important for me to serve those around me as it was for the sons of Helaman to fight for their freedom. And I had an idea.
The next day at school I told Jacob what I wanted to do. He looked at me a little weird at first, but then decided it was a pretty good idea. At recess we all got together and made our plan.
It was fun for all of us to wear our costumes to the neighborhood party. But the best part was after school the next day. We put on our costumes again, but this time our weapons were rakes and brooms and garbage bags. We raked leaves and swept driveways and porches in our neighborhood. We were an army of second graders, “fighting” with love and service. The neighbors watched us out their windows with smiles on their faces. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a good time.