Families, communities, and nations are strengthened by mothers who know God, who know their relationship to God, and who have made covenants with Him. These mothers have an eternal influence for good in the lives of their children for the responsibilities and blessings of parenthood are eternal.
One of my favorite stories about mothers is found in the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ. There was an enormous group of Lamanites who were converted to the Lord by the missionary efforts of the sons of King Mosiah. After their conversion they buried their weapons of war deep in the earth as a witness to God that they would never kill another person; the Nephite armies protected them in order to help them keep their covenant with God.
This arrangement worked for a number of years until the Nephites were struggling to keep the Lamanites out of their land. The fathers who had made the covenant to never take up arms were about to break their covenant to help the Nephites. The prophet Helaman convinced the fathers to keep their covenant; however, there were 2000 sons of these fathers who had not made the covenant. They volunteered to join the Nephite army and fight if Helaman would lead them. They came into their first battle, and this is the report that Helaman submitted.
Therefore what say ye, my sons, will ye go against them to battle?
And now I say unto you, my beloved brother Moroni, that never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites.
For as I had ever called them my sons for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us along; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.
Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it (Alma 56:44-48).
So, what can mothers today learn from the mothers of the 2000 stripling warriors? What did those mothers know that mothers today can adopt? Sister Julie B. Beck, then Relief Society General President, addressed this question in a talk titled “Mothers Who Know” in the October 2007 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In the Book of Mormon we read about 2,000 exemplary young men who were exceedingly valiant, courageous, and strong. “Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him” (Alma 53:21). These faithful young men paid tribute to their mothers. They said, “Our mothers knew it” (Alma 56:48). I would suspect that the mothers of Captain Moroni, Mosiah, Mormon, and other great leaders also knew.
The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance. More than at any time in the history of the world, we need mothers who know. Children are being born into a world where they “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). However, mothers need not fear. When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children.
The body of Sister Beck’s message shared the following characteristics of “mothers who know”:
Mothers who know desire to bear children…. Faithful daughters of God desire children….
Mothers who know honor sacred ordinances and covenants….
Mothers who know are nurturers. This is their special assignment and role under the plan of happiness. To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow. Therefore, mothers who know create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in their homes. Another word for nurturing is homemaking….
Mothers who know are leaders. In equal partnership with their husbands, they lead a great and eternal organization. These mothers plan for the future of their organization. They plan for missions, temple marriages, and education. They plan for prayer, scripture study, and family home evening. Mothers who know build children into future leaders and are the primary examples of what leaders look like….
Mothers who know are always teachers. Since they are not babysitters, they are never off duty. A well-taught friend told me that he did not learn anything at church that he had not already learned at home. His parents used family scripture study, prayer, family home evening, mealtimes, and other gatherings to teach….
Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children – more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord’s kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence; that is power.
Mothers who know stand strong and immovable. Who will prepare this righteous generation of sons and daughters? Latter-day Saint women will do this – women who know and love the Lord and bear testimony of Him, women who are strong and immovable and who do not give up during difficult and discouraging times….
The children of the world need mothers who know the principles of motherhood known by the mothers of the 2000 stripling warriors. They need mothers who follow the counsel given by Sister Beck, then president of one of the largest and oldest organizations in the world for women. Children need mothers and fathers who understand the important responsibilities and joys of parenthood.
An extremely well-prepared family home evening on this subject can be found at this site. I encourage you to study the story of the 2000 stripling warriors in the Book of Mormon and how their faith in the teachings of their mothers brought every single one of them safely through numerous wars. I encourage you to follow the counsel of Sister Beck. We can strengthen our homes, communities, and nations by becoming mothers who know.