3 Behold, two thousand of the sons of those men whom Ammon brought down out of the land of Nephi—now ye have known that these were descendants of Laman, who was the eldest son of our father Lehi;
4 Now I need not rehearse unto you concerning their traditions or their unbelief, for thou knowest concerning all these things—
5 Therefore it sufficeth me that I tell you that two thousand of these young men have taken their weapons of war, and would that I should be their leader;
I think it’s interesting, as I read these few verses, to note that Helaman made a point of adding that aside in the middle of verse 3 and verse 4 about where they came from. (And that Mormon kept it in his abridgment, especially since much of the narrative in these few chapters is strung together with a few different writers’ words.)
Here’s why I think it’s important. They came from a tradition of unbelief. Yet, when we talk about all the good things we want ourselves and our children to be and do, we point to the 2000 stripling warriors.
Our past doesn’t matter at all. Our choices and our future matter completely.
It doesn’t matter what we’ve done in the past, what our external influences or circumstances have been, who taught us wrong, who did us wrong, anything.
All that matters is what we choose today. And what we choose tomorrow. And what we choose every day going forward. That defines us.
Are we choosing a prophet of God to lead us into battle, even when the odds are stacked against us? Have we put our faith in God, even unto the certainty of death? Are we anchored on Jesus Christ?
If the answer is yes, then we are as the armies of Helaman. And we will conquer.