Helaman 16:2 they could not hit him with their stones neither with their arrows
Samuel the Lamanite's message was an ultimatum to the people. In these situations, the Lord always preserves his servants at least until they can deliver their message. Abinadi's confrontation with Noah's court is a good example, They stood forth and attempted to lay their hands on him; but he withstood them, and said unto them: Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me, for I have not delivered the message which the Lord sent me to deliver...therefore, God will not suffer that I shall be destroyed at this time. (Mosiah 13:2-3). The Lord could have preserved Abinadi after his message was delivered, but his martyrdom was necessary for God's judgments on Noah and his priests to be just (Mosiah 13:9-10, Alma 14:11).
In the lives of every true disciple, there is a time when an insurmountable task must be undertaken. Like Samuel the Lamanite, we will be asked to scale a figurative wall only to find a hostile and unforgiving situation. As we face our assignments and scale our personal walls, we must always remember the courage and fortitude of Samuel the Lamanite. We must remember that the Spirit of the Lord protects his servants even when greatly outnumbered. We may not be asked to preach to a hostile crowd, we may not have arrows and stones hurled our way, but whatever our challenge, we will be protected from harms way if we face our assignments with faith and courage.
"I saw (in vision) Brigham Young standing in a strange land, in the far south and west, in a desert place, upon a rock in the midst of about a dozen men of color, who appeared hostile. He was preaching to them in their own tongue, and the angel of God standing above his head, with a drawn sword in his hand, protecting him, but he did not see it." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 108)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"We have nothing to fear. God is at the helm. He will overrule for the good of this work. He will shower down blessings upon those who walk in obedience to His commandments. Such has been His promise. Of His ability to keep that promise none of us can doubt." (Ensign, May 1995, p. 71.)
Helaman 16:6 the more part of them did not believe in the words of Samuel
Richard L. Evans
"And, therefore, a prophet is seldom popular, and the cost of being a prophet is always great, for he may be called upon to say those things which are not pleasing,...and he may find himself fighting against a tide of mass-misconception, and, as history records, be stoned, crucified, banished, ridiculed, shunned, or rejected. For the truth is not pleasing unto all men, and time has proved that majorities are not always right....
"It is not important that a prophet should say those things with which you and I are in full accord. But it is important that you and I should bring ourselves into full accord with those things which a prophet speaks by virtue of his office and calling." (Improvement Era, Nov. 1939, p. 672)
Ezra Taft Benson
"How we respond to the words of a living prophet when he tells us what we need to know, but would rather not hear, is a test of our faithfulness." (BYU Speeches of the Year, 1980, p. 28 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 392)
Helaman 16:15 the Nephites...began to depend upon their own strength and upon their own wisdom
Dallin H. Oaks
"The Book of Mormon describes that attitude among a people who depended solely 'upon their own strength and upon their own wisdom' and upon what they could 'witness with [their] own eyes.' (Hel. 16:15, 20.) Upon the basis of reason, these persons rejected the prophecies, saying, 'It is not reasonable that such a being as a Christ shall come.' (vs. 18.) Applying that same attitude, a prominent professor dismissed the Book of Mormon with the assertion, 'You don't get books from angels. It is just that simple.'
"Those who seek gospel knowledge only by study and reason are particularly susceptible to the self-sufficiency and self-importance that sometimes characterize academic pursuits. As the apostle Paul observed in his day, 'Knowledge puffeth up.' He cautioned the learned: 'Take heed lest by any means this liberty [knowledge] of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. . . . And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?' (1 Cor. 8:1, 9, 11.)
"The apostle Peter foresaw that attitude in our time: 'There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.' (2 Pet. 3:3-4.)
"A Book of Mormon prophet described the origin and consequences of this attitude: 'O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.' (2 Ne. 9:28.)
"The fulfillment of these prophecies is evident in our day." (The Lord's Way, p. 47)
Helaman 16:16 Some things they may have guessed right, among so many
The arguments of the pseudo-intellectuals are dizzying at best. After receiving the 'great signs given' (v. 13), they refuse to believe because of their wickedness and stubbornness. Cloaked in their version of intellectualism, they try to explain away those signs which could mean only one thing-that Samuel was a true prophet and that the Son of God really was to come to earth. But does their argument make any sense? Was Samuel just a good guesser? The answer is "no way, not in a million years!" This is clearly a situation in which the faithless have strong but false convictions which they are not willing to modify. Rather than soften their hearts and understand the truth, they fabricate shallow concepts which soothe their seething consciences.
A similar pattern is seen in modern atheistic science. The atheist considers the possibility that the right combination of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen atoms sloshed around long enough in some cosmic cesspool to produce a living single-celled organism. But what are the odds? Even if a scientist were to gather the correct proportions of each element and place them in one test tube, could they be stirred long enough to produce even the simplest form of life? The answer is the same, "no way, not in a million years!" And so we see that it is not the science that makes the atheist, but the atheist that makes the science. The Nephites were the same way. It was not that their intellectualism had fashioned their belief system, but that their belief system had fashioned the arguments of the intellectuals.
Helaman 16:18 it is not reasonable that such a being as a Christ shall come
Joseph Fielding Smith
"The worship of reason, of false philosophy, is greater now than it was [in the past]. Men are depending upon their own research to find out God, and that which they cannot discover and which they cannot demonstrate to their satisfaction through their own research and their natural senses, they reject. They are not seeking for the Spirit of the Lord; they are not striving to know God in the manner in which he has marked out by which he may be known; but they are walking in their own way, believing in their own man-made philosophies, teaching the doctrines of devils and not the doctrines of the Son of God. (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 3, p. 275)
Helaman 16:19 why will he not show himself in this land as well?
Neal A. Maxwell
"The demands of discipleship should be our focus, not what we unsubmissively demand of God.
"The demands disbelievers make of God would be comedy if they were not tragedy, some of those living in the Western Hemisphere before the birth of Jesus demanding. 'Why will he not show himself in this land as well as in the land of Jerusalem?' (Helaman 16:19.) Elsewhere some taunted Jesus while He hung on the cross, saying, 'He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ' (Luke 23:35)
"No divine demonstration followed these queries or taunts. The mortal desire for manifestations, but on our terms, is clearly inconsistent with the plan of the Lord. In times of stress He relies on the steadiness of our discipleship, not on an abundance of showmanship; on persuasion, not intimidation." (Not My Will But Thine, p. 91)
Helaman 16:22 Satan did stir them up to do iniquity continually
Delbert L. Stapley
"(quoting Hel 16:22) This account of wickedness and contentions among the Nephites prior to the Lord's birth in the meridian of time is duplicated in the wickedness, contentions, and deceptions of our day as we approach the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Prophecies concerning these days are also being fulfilled and Satan is stirring up the hearts of men to do iniquity continually; and to thwart, if possible, faith in the great event of Christ's second coming to earth, which I testify is sure to come to pass. Satan is alert and active. We must be more alert and perceptive of the false and insincere schemes of his agents among us." (Conference Report, Oct. 1961, p. 21-22)
Helaman 16:22 he did go about spreading rumors and contentions
Elder Gene R. Cook
"Solemnly, people began to gather outside the mission president's office. Exchanging astonished glances, many could still not believe that they had been summoned to a church court. The officers of the court were full of love and understanding, but very serious in their investigation of the charges; those present could lose their membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The charge was not immorality or apostasy; they were accused of speaking evil of a neighbor.
"A fine brother had been slandered by those gathered together that evening, accused of the serious charge of immorality. He was completely innocent, but the great damage that had been done by 'those whom he counted as his friends' would not be easily repaired. Who could measure the near destruction of this good soul? Who could measure the impact on the branch, as its fellowship was eroded? And what about the effect on those nonmembers who also became involved? Who could ever undo the evil that had affected hundreds of lives?
"It had happened so easily. It began with simple words like-
"Did you hear. ... ?"
"Sister Joan said. ..."
"I have heard that he told her. ..."
"I am not sure about this, but. ..."
"Mr. Sanchez's cousin said that he thought. ..."
"I don't want to say anything bad, but. ..."
"If you won't repeat this, I guess I could tell you that. ..."
"Sin has many tools, the saying goes, but a lie is the handle that fits them all. If you are one of those who think it permissible to tell white lies, you may soon find yourself color-blind.
"Those conducting the court turned to the Lord's explicit instructions on the subject. Through Moses, he told the people: 'Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people' (Lev. 19:16). The book of Proverbs describes the effects of evil speaking: 'A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul. The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly' (Prov. 18:7-8).
"Some may think they build their self-esteem and gain the attention and respect of others by bearing false tales, but they actually become Satan's agents. The Book of Mormon records that before the coming of the Savior to the Americas, 'Satan did stir them up to do iniquity continually; yea, he did go about spreading rumors and contentions upon all the face of the land, that he might harden the hearts of the people against that which was good and against that which should come' (Hel. 16:22).
"Satan succeeded in hardening the hearts of the people, and some thirty years later, after the great destruction of the wicked, the prophet Nephi recorded that 'the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice, because of the slain ... of my people' (3 Ne. 9:2).
"Divine cautions to guard our words are no less emphasized in modern-day scripture. The Lord said to the Prophet Joseph Smith: 'And see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking' (D&C 20:54). 'Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor, nor do him any harm' (D&C 42:27). 'Cease to contend one with another; cease to speak evil one to another' (D&C 136:23).
"The Lord loves us and desires that we love one another. May we follow this further counsel given to the prophet Joseph Smith: 'Therefore, strengthen your brethren in all your conversations' (D&C 108:7), and 'Let your words tend to edify one another' (D&C 136:24).
"Let each of us be careful that we do not contribute in any way to what the prophet Enoch saw in a vision thousands of years ago, when he recorded: 'And he beheld Satan; and he had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness; and he looked up and laughed, and his angels rejoiced' (Moses 7:26).
"May the continual cultivation of the Holy Spirit drive out evil thoughts and inappropriate words, so that spirituality will grow and prevail, for as we bridle our tongues we are able to bridle our whole beings." ("Gossip: Satan's Snare," Ensign, Jan. 1981, p. 27)