I was reading the Book of Mormon one morning and came across this scripture in Alma, Chapter 2:12-13 (italics added).
12 Therefore the people of the Nephites [good guys] were aware of the intent of the Amlicites [bad guys], and therefore they did prepare to meet them; yea, they did arm themselves with swords, and with cimeters, and with bows, and with arrows, and with stones, and with slings, and with all manner of weapons of war, of every kind.
13 And thus they were prepared to meet the Amlicites at the time of their coming.
The Nephites realized they were in a war and they prepared diligently. A wise friend pointed out in Sunday School class one day that Alma just didn’t say “we prepared for war”. He took time to enumerate all the weapons that they were preparing.
The very specific list is significant to me because it suggests that multiple weapons and much preparations are needed to win a war. The Nephites prepared an arsenal of weapons to combat the bad guys.
Then the scriptures go on to say
14 And it came to pass that Amlici did arm his men with all manner of weapons of war of every kind; and he also appointed rulers and leaders over his people, to lead them to war against their brethren.
So the bad guys have weapons too.
These scriptures made me think of our families and how we are at war with Satan– the ultimate bad guy.
I began to wonder: Are we doing all that we can to prepare our families for this war? Are we giving our children one weapon or are we preparing them with an arsenal of weapons? And are we teaching them about Satan’s goals and weapons as well? What latter day weapons do we have to fight for our families?
I decided to assign each Nephite weapon to our modern day “weapons”. I pondered over the 5 most significant weapons we have as families. This is what I came up with:
Swords- Family Home Evening
Cimeters- Family Dinner
Bows and Arrows- Personal and Family Prayer
Stones and Slings- Personal and Family Scripture Study
and all manner of weapons of war- One on One Interviews or Family Council or Service? (I couldn’t decide)
Then a few weeks later I found this quote from Elder Larry R. Lawrence of the Seventy: “Five fundamental practices that have the power to fortify our youth; family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening, family dinner together, and regular one on one interviews.”
(Don’t you love it when someone in authority confirms what you already believe?)
Notice soccer practice and dance lessons didn’t make the cut. While these activities may be good things, they can’t be considered a weapon in the war against Satan. And they are okay to do as long as the real weapons aren’t getting neglected or overlooked or skipped.
We have to prepare our family diligently through Family Home Evening, Family Prayer, Family Scripture Study, Family Dinner and regular one on one interviews.
I wanted to share my inspiration with my family so I turned my thoughts into a Family Home Evening lesson. I involved Crew because he is obsessed with weapons and spends hours a week drawing them.
I had him draw pictures of swords, cimeters, stones & slings, bows & arrows, and all manner of weapons.
Then our family read and discussed Alma 2:12-13. We looked at Crew’s pictures. Then we talked about the war our family is fighting now. I told them we had our 5 weapons just like the Nephites did. I had the kids re-label each picture with our family’s modern day weapon.
After we relabeled the pictures, then we discussed how our family was doing in each one of these areas. What were we doing well? Where could we improve? What changes did we need to make to our schedule? How could each person contribute to our preparation for war?
It was nice to stop and assess where we are as a family and include the children on the responsibility to hold Family Home Evening, Family Scripture Study, Family Prayer, Family Dinner and One on One interviews. We needed to prepare together.
I ended by bearing my testimony that Satan is real. He wants us to fail. He doesn’t want us to be with our families forever. He wants us to be miserable like himself. But we need not worry. We have Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and our families on our side. We have powerful weapons available to us and if we prepare diligently, just like the Nephites did, we can win this war.