Alma 57

Alma 57:4 the people of Antiparah did leave the city...and thus the city...fell into our hands

Hugh Nibley

"Verse 4 is the turning point of the war. From now on everything starts to slow down and go downward. There's a psychological point when you can tell which way it is going to go...The war can drag on for years, and yet you know how it is going to turn out. It's an interesting thing." (Teachings of the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 177)

Alma 57:21 they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness

The stripling warriors did perform every word of command with exactness. We are told that we are to live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matt 4:4). On a military level, the stripling warriors had accomplished this, for they fought by every command that proceeded out of the mouth of Helaman. The result was that there was not one soul of them who did perish (v. 25).

Bruce R. McConkie taught, "Obedience is the first law of heaven, the cornerstone upon which all righteousness and progression rest." (Mormon Doctrine, p. 539) The full expression of "righteousness and progression" in mortality is to have one's calling and election made sure. Joseph Smith taught that obedience with exactness is a prerequisite, "After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized...then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure." (Teachings, p. 150, italics added)

"I find the elements of obedience within this verse fascinating. What is the motivation for obeying with exactness? Could this be seen as blind obedience? Blind obedience is sheep following sheep, while following in exactness is sheep following the Shepherd; and Christ is the Good Shepherd (see Alma 5:37-39). This is the same principle the Lord was teaching the Saints in 1832, when he said, 'I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise' (D&C 82:10). By obeying Helaman's orders with exactness, they were showing they did not doubt the Lord's promise made to them through their mothers.

"The stripling warriors must have been aware that their obedience to their leaders was an extension of their obedience to their God. This was not a new concept to the Nephites. (See 1 Nephi 3:5-7; Mosiah 2:30-31; Alma 45:2-8) Their obedience to Helaman's command was more than swift, it was exact. A celestial strategy was involved, even in that mortal battlefield. They had been promised that if they, 'did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his [God's] marvelous power' (Alma 57:26). Would it have been possible for them to support their God without supporting their leaders? This is the ultimate test of obedience; to show one's allegiance to a perfect and infallible God by how we obey those less than perfect who are called to lead us." (K. Douglas Bassett, Alma, the Testimony of the Word, ed. by Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate, Jr., p. 229)

Teddy E. Brewerton

"Today President Kimball is the Lord's mouthpiece on the earth, and when he says we should do certain things, even small things, what is our answer? For example, if he says clean up your yard-do it. If he says paint your fence-do it. If he says one more endowment per person per year-do it. If he says at least one more couple per ward in the mission field-do it. If he says to avoid commercial purchases whenever possible on Sunday-do it. What blessings we must impede through lack of full obedience!

"Now, why obey? In Deuteronomy it states, 'Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day.' Now, why: 'that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for ever.' (Deut. 4:40.)

"And again in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 98: 'And again I say unto you, if ye observe to do whatsoever I command you, I, the Lord, will turn away all wrath and indignation from you, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.' (D&C 98:22.)" ("Obedience-Full Obedience," Ensign, May 1981, 68)

Alma 57:25 there was not one soul of them who did perish

George Albert Smith

"I think that is one of the greatest tributes that has ever been paid to motherhood-that in circumstances such as they were experiencing, when they were surrounded by enemies, they could train their children to have that faith in God that would carry them through and would bring them home without losing their lives.

"I have been asking myself the question, 'Have the mothers of Israel been preparing their sons?' Have they been teaching these boys...that they too, can be preserved; that God will take care of them if they are in the line of their duty, and I want to say that if our mothers have, the fathers have much to be grateful for, because some fathers do not take much time to teach these children things like that in these days...there is a force in the Latter-day Saint homes where our wives and mothers and daughters are, and when it comes to faith in God and prayer it is equal to anything that the men may be able to muster. (Conference Report, April 1943, p. 89 - 90.)

Alma 57:27 their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually

We can only imagine Moroni's delight in reading this epistle from Helaman. More than anyone else, Moroni understood that wars are not won by superior armor, stronger fortifications, larger armies, and superior strategy. He understood that wars are won by those internal qualities which were exemplified so vividly among the stripling warriors. They were perfectly obedient (v. 21); they had remembered their spiritual heritage (v. 21); they exercised exceeding faith (v. 26); they did not doubt (v. 26); their minds were firm, and they had learned to put their trust in God. Our spiritual wars are won using just the same principles.