Helaman, a Nephite prophet and warrior, stands in front of some of the 2060 young
Lamanite warriors who have rallied to defend their adopted nation. Faithful and exactly
obedient in all things, their miraculous preservation through some terrible battles
was an inspiration to their fellow warriors as well as to the man who so ably led
In the Book of Mormon, a group of faithful youth went to war to defend their people’s
liberties from aggressors. “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.’”
The Book of Mormon records the faith of Helaman’s “Stripling Warriors:”
“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 alone. Therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of
This image was inspired by my wife and son when he was leaving on his mission. We
were at the airport saying our good-byes, and I watched him as he hugged my wife.
She was hanging on, having a very hard time letting him go, and he was hugging her,
but he was looking beyond her — toward the airplane. He was obviously ready to go.
The expression on her face was one of trepidation. It was as if she were asking herself,
"Have I prepared him for this? Have I done all I could?" While his expression was
one of eager determination. He had been preparing so long for this and he was ready
to get started.
That moment made me think of the story of the Stripling Warriors. Those two thousand
young men had never fought before. They had no idea what they were up against, or
what to expect going into battle against the Lamanites, but that didn't matter to
them. They were prepared in spirit and in faith. They knew that the things their
mothers had taught them were true, and they were willing to march into the unknown,
with their strength and courage coming from their faith. I think about those young
men and their resolve to defend their families and their homes. They went forth with
bravery and they succeeded. Then I think about their mothers. I know how worried
and afraid they must have been. That's what moms do. They worry and they wonder if
they have prepared their sons. That is really the feeling I wanted to portray in
The story of the stripling warriors in the Book of Mormon has always been a favorite
This piece was inspired by my community. During the summer of 2012, well over 2000
young men dressed up and marched as stripling warriors in our Pioneer Day parade.When
I heard about the plans to reenact the march of the stripling warriors as a part
of the parade, I was very excited. A thrill went through me and I wanted to create
a sculpture to commemorate what I knew would be memorable event. It was my hope that
a small statue might serve as an effective remembrance to those who participated.
One thing that surprised me was that how many mothers came to my studio to purchase
these for their sons. I was able to meet many mothers who deeply desired the protection
that the stripling warriors received for their own families.
I hope that this statue helps remind us that these young men, who were taught by
their mothers, who did not doubt, and who were faithful and obedient in all things
were protected and preserved by the Lord. It is also my hope that our families may
be blessed in a similar way.
The painting is depicting three brothers before they join the fight with the two
thousand other stripling warriors. I wanted to show the older brothers with their
arms around their younger brother in the middle showing their confidence and showing
their protection of their younger sibling.
I had my nephews pose for me and their ages are 15, 14, and 13 the ages of those
young men who fought. We are of Hawaiian decent and believe we are literal descendants
of Lehi and Nephi, giving the painting a more authentic look than just having any
young men pose for the picture.
painting, mixed media collage, by Sylvia Huege de Serville, Takapuna Ward, Auckland
New Zealand Harbour Stake. Polynesian descendants of Book of Mormon peoples receive
and accept the Book of Mormon—the stick of Joseph (see Alma 63:5–8; “Conference in
Samoa,” Ensign, April 1976, 74).