Nephite/Lamanite War (Kodiak) For Leaders
- Provide an opportunity for the young men to have a better relationship with their Bishops by having one on one experiences with them and talk about things they need to improve on and repent of.
- To teach the young men the importance of Honor as we go to war against the temptations of Satan.
- Give the young men an opportunity to understand why they have hard feelings toward themselves because of how they are living and provide an atmosphere where they feel comfortable talking to their Bishops about things they are doing wrong.
By this time on course, the young men have prayed 20-30 times and in each prayer they ask for forgiveness and ask to help find ways to improve. These prayers set up the repentance process that happens during the Nephite/Lamanite War.
The night before the War, we talk to the boys about the basic rules of this camp and what Armoring Up means.
The rules are: We get up at 6:30 am, we have personal prayer, personal study, companionship prayer and companionship study. Personal and companionship study should be from the scriptures and/or Preach My Gospel. When this is finished then the Priest Quorum gathers together and they have a group study. When these things are finished each morning on course they are allowed to take their challenge coins with them for the day.
BISHOPS PREPARATION THE NEPHITE/LAMANITE WAR
Explain to the Bishops their role in the Lamanite/Nephite war before the war begins. The Bishops are told that after the first battle that they are to chose a place in the field where they can talk to the boys in privacy one by one and allow the young men to learn what it feels like to fully confess. To see the Bishop without a shirt and tie, out in the field, away from the intimidation of the Bishops office usually makes the boys feel more comfortable to share. The facilitator tells the Bishops that the first two times the young men come to them will be for fairly insignificant reasons. The first time because they didn’t armor up properly. Which gives the Bishops an opportunity to talk about obedience. The second time because the boys are lazy and not committed. Which gives the Bishop an opportunity to talk to the boys about overcoming lazy habits. But the Bishops need to know that the real reason for the Nephite/Lamanite battle is the third war. Because the boys have already come to them twice, allowing for them to feel more comfortable in the process of repenting, the third battle may bring up significant problems in their lives that they have been afraid to resolve but are now more comfortable in sharing. The Bishops are told to ask at the end of the third confession, “Is there anything else you need to tell me’? At this point the young men oftentimes totally confess, which has to happen for the young men to more easily receive answers to prayers by the end of the course.
THE FIRST BATTLE – This battle deals with obedience
The Bishops and leaders are allowed to sit in chairs in a straight line on the edge of the battle field and the boys are asked to gather around so all can hear the facilitator. The facilitator talks to the boys about the importance of Honor on a battle. If we are worried about the honor of the soldier sitting next to us in the foxhole, we will have a hard time concentrating on the enemy. So, all questions that will be asked in the Lamanite/Nephite War will be Yes/No questions. If the young men are not honorable in answering the questions then the Spirit will leave and the boys will know by how they feel. The facilitator asks the young men to line up perpendicular to their leaders.
First Question: How many of you young men did not get up at 6:30 am this morning? Raise your hand?
The facilitator tells all young men who raised their hand to form another line in the field facing the original group.
The next question to the original group: How many of you did not have personal study? Raise your hand.
The facilitator now tells those raising their hands to go join the group that didn’t get up on time.
The next question to the original group: How many did not have companionship prayer or companionship study? Raise your hand.
All those that raised their hand are asked to join the group that did not get up on time or have their personal prayers.
By this time in the game usually half of the group is disobedient and the other half obedient.
The facilitator then asks: Has everybody been Honest? Is the Spirit still here? Do each one of you young men feel comfortable standing in your group? Now the facilitator addresses the group that have not been obedient and says, “Thank you for being honorable and allowing the Spirit to be comfortable during this activity. You young men can go to war with me anytime.”
The swords for this activity are made from PVC pipe with foam insulation around them and a golf ball duct taped to the end.
The disobedient young men are given a 1 foot long sword and the obedient young men are given a 2 foot long sword. The rules of the game are: The swords can not be thrown. You cannot hit your opponent in the head. If you hit your opponent in the arm or a leg that appendage cannot be used. If you hit the enemy anywhere in the torso, front, back or side, they have to fall to the ground.
The short swords and the long swords are now asked to go to the opposite ends of the field. On the count of three, the war begins. It is fascinating to watch because by their nature, the short swords will not charge because with a short sword in this battle they have little hope of winning, this translates into real life and in missionary work when you end up with a short sword due to disobedience.
The battle usually takes 5 or 6 minutes and the long swords always win. When the war is over the young men are asked to come stand in front of their leaders with the long swords on one side and the short swords on another. The RMs are now asked to come forward and tell stories from their missions when either them or their companions had short swords because of disobedience and how ineffective they were. Then tell about when they both had long swords and tell about their success. In essence they tell the boys that by experience that obedience brings blessings but strict obedience brings miracles.
For example, getting up at 6:31 am is not strict obedience.
After the RMs tell their stories the facilitator asks the young men with the short swords, “How are you going to get rid of your short swords”? Eventually one of the boys will say, “Repent”. The facilitator then tells the boys that their Bishops will move to different parts of the field and they are to go to their Bishops and tell them what they have done wrong and how they can do better. When they are finished talking to their Bishops they can return and get rid of their short sword. While the short swords are talking to their Bishops, the long shorts sit on the ground and the rest of the returned missionaries will talk to them about successes on their missions. This is to give the short swords time to talk to their Bishops.
After the repentance process is complete and the short swords have been brought back, next war can begin. The leaders return to the original side of the battle field.
THE SECOND BATTLE – Fighting desires to go home .
All the young men are again brought in front of the leaders in a perpendicular line. This is so the leaders can see who is on what side.
The facilitator asked the next question: Which one of you young men at anytime since you have heard about Kodiak did not want to come? Raise your hand. Usually half of them raise their hands. They are asked to step away together and face the original group as before.
We ask the young men if there is anyone that has answered this question dishonorably? Is their anyone in the group who have felt the spirit leave because we are not honorable as a group? At this point the short swords are handed out to those that did not want to come and the long swords are handed to the other young men. They are asked to go to the opposite ends of the field and the battle begins. The long swords win. The young men are asked to again come in front of their leaders with the long swords on one side and the short swords on the other. A couple of RM are asked to come and share times during their missions when they wanted to come home. All missionaries will experience a desire to come home some time during their mission. The young men anticipate these feelings to come home early and be given tools on how to work through it.
When the returned missionaries finish their stories, the Bishops are asked to go back out to the field and the short swords are told to go talk with their Bishops about times in their life when they have been lazy and didn’t want to do what was right. The long swords sit in the field and returned missionaries share stories giving examples of how they overcame desires to want to come home the successes they had because they stayed. When the short swords come back and Bishops return, the next battle begins.
THE THIRD BATTLE – Having hard feelings toward anyone including yourself.
All the young men are again brought in front the leaders in a perpendicular line to the leaders and facing the facilitator. The next question: How many of you young men have hard feelings toward anyone including yourself? Raise your hand. (Usually the young men will ask, “What does that mean”? because they want to be honorable in their answer.) The facilitator explains that if they have hard feelings toward anyone it restrains the Spirit from having influence on their life and if they have hard feelings toward themselves it is usually because they have regrets, unrepented sins or are living in a way that they are disappointed in who they are. At this point, most of the young men raise their hand and are asked to step across the line and face the original group. Usually about 80 % of the boys have walked over to be short swords. The short swords go to one end of the field and the long swords go to the other end of the field. At this point there is usually so few long swords that we ask the returned missionaries to each grab a long sword and represent the three Nephites. They can not be killed during battle which ensures that the long swords win.
When the war is over the young men are asked to come back in front of their leaders with short swords on one side and long swords on another and a few of the returned missionaries are asked to come share mission experience when they didn’t feel good about what they were doing or had regrets and how they overcame them. When that is finished, the Bishops are again asked to go out in the field and the short swords go to their
Bishops one by one and are given the opportunity to confess things that they know they have done wrong and are now finally willing to talk about them. We have many Bishops that come to us after this third battle and say, “I’ve known that these young men have been doing things wrong but they have been unwilling to confess to me. But during this battle, they were now comfortable enough with me to share all that they have done wrong, which allows me to help them heal.
While the short swords are talking to their Bishops, the returned missionaries talk to the long swords about the importance of repenting quickly and how that increases their success in the mission field.
When the short swords return and the bishops come back, the last battle begins.
THE FOURTH BATTLE – To show the love of the leaders
All the young men grab short swords and go to one end of the field and the leaders take the long swords and go to the other side. The facilitator will go to the young men and gather them around. He asks the young men, “Would it bother you if in this war you ever hurt one of your leaders”? By this time the young men perhaps have more love for their Bishop than ever before because of the experience they have spent in confessing. So the young men say that they would never want to hurt their leader. The facilitator asks, “How would you show them that you love them”? Usually a young men will suggest that they put down their swords like the people of Ammon. All the young men agree and with a little coaxing from the facilitator, they all decide to run toward their leaders as fast as they can and just before they reach them, they drop their swords. They hug their leaders and express their love. When this battle is done, if there is time, we allow the young men to line up one more time just to have fun fighting their leaders in a real battle.
You can watch the young men walk away at the conclusion of the Nephite/Lamanite war a lot lighter because of the weight that has been lifted because of their willingness to confess.
We have found that the young men ability on course to feel the spirit is greatly increased because of they have learned to be honorable during the war. More importantly, they will learn during the rest of the course, how to receive stronger and more frequent answers to prayers. In essence, they are starting to understand the importance of revelation in their lives.