During my first year of early-morning seminary, we studied the Book of Mormon. Our teacher got really excited about the so-called war chapters. He kept telling us that we were preparing for our own battles. He even went so far as to print T-shirts that said "Statesville Pre-Battle School" for us to wear as a seminary class. It felt a little much at the time but not exactly wrong either.
More than 20 years later, I see it. I see the war between good and evil raging around me. We have been warned for centuries that this day would come. Were we prepared?
It seems that some of these evils are so subtle, so unassuming, that they sneak up on us. We turn around and there they are, ready to strike.
I was feeling burdened by these thoughts last fall. I was feeling anxious about sending my children out into that battlefield. I wanted to keep them home, safe and hidden from the horrors of "war". Yet I struggled. How could they be a force for good if they were locked away in our fortress? How could we possibly defeat the enemy if we didn't go out to meet it?
This is where my mind was during Stake Conference in September 2013. The closing speaker was President Micheal Hamilton. He started talking about the rescue at Dunkirk. Suddenly, my mind was not on his talk but my own concerns for my children. My thoughts were filled with images and ideas as though they were being poured into me. Here is what I wrote in my notes:
We get injured and dirty in the fight against evil but we are on the winning side. We will heal, we will be clean again but we must fight. We can't hide in our pristine caves in the hopes of remaining unharmed and undamaged.
I kept remembering the Stripling Warriors. They were young men who chose to help defend their homes and freedoms. After one difficult battle, we learn
...there were two hundred, out of my two thousand and sixty, who had fainted because of the loss of blood; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds. Alma 57:25 (emphasis added)
All were wounded but none were lost. I felt some-what reassured but I was still struggling with my fears and shortcomings. How could I ensure that my children would be able to survive this war? Another scripture came to mind.
...we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. 2 Nephi 25:26 (emphasis added)
That was it. The solution to my problem was already in place. I felt peace. Still a little afraid but no longer overwhelmed.
I have thought of this experience often in the past year. This month, the Ensign included an article about protecting our children against pornography. The first few paragraphs were so close to my experience that I had chills!
This past weekend we had Stake Conference again. In his closing remarks, President Hamilton said "Filth splashes on all of us. He doesn't care how pretty it is as long as we get back to him."
I used to think that if we were keeping the commandments, trying our best to do what is right, we would be safe from the spiritual dangers of this world. Now I know better. There may have been a time when it was easier to avoid the splash of filth. Not now, not today as we are preparing for the second coming of Christ.
But that is no reason to loose hope. Our Heavenly Father knew these days would come. He knew what trials we would face. He prepared a way for us to overcome them. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can all be cleaned and cured from every injury. Because of Him, there is no need to fear.