What do you think of when you hear the word "hero"? Do you think of blue tights and flapping red capes that brush the ground? Or, do you think of incredible feats of strength that boggle the mind? Those types of heroes have gained popularity and fame despite their imaginary existence. When you look for a true hero, where do you turn?
Real heroes, the ones with flesh and blood, put their underwear on first and then slide up their pants -- or skirt as the case may be. Fame and fortune don't draw them to action; in fact, they prefer to remain anonymous. True heroes don't see themselves as heroes, they see themselves as servants of God.
In her new book, Heroes of Faith: True Stories of Courage and Strength, author Marlene Bateman Sullivan outlines the heroic faith of modern men and women.
Back CoverAngry mobs and flying bullets were just a few things the early Saints had to cope with. Heroes of Faith: True Stories of Courage and Strength tells the inspiring stories of stalwart LDS men and women who rose above impossible odds and stood valiant in the Gospel. Learn how to use faith and courage to get through trials in your own life when the world seems to turn against you.
Book of Mormon HeroesWe have so many examples of Heroes of Faith in the Book of Mormon.
* Nephi who stood firm in his faith despite his brothers threats and beatings. He turned his faith into action, proclaiming, "I will go and do the things the Lord commands," when, from his vantage point, there was no way to accomplish what the Lord asked. His faith was strong enough to carry him through the impossible.
* Ammon left behind home, family, and a throne, to spend his days preaching love to a war-hungry people. Knowing that the Lamanites could and probably would kill him, or at the least starve him, beat him, and throw him in prison, he shouldered his bag of sacred writings and walked into the wilderness. His faith carried him past his fear for himself and into the hearts of the king and his people.
* Alma the Younger's was perhaps the most difficult test of faith a man or woman has to face. He had to have a superhuman faith in the Atonement to believe that he, "the vilest of sinners," could be completely washed clean by the sacrifice of the Son of God. His faith, to press forward with his new life, new convictions, and new hope, carried him through each snide remark, each judgement, and each snub, as he worked to right his wrongs.
These accounts of Book of Mormon heroes give each of us strength, but over time, we've exalted them to be more than human. When Mormon compiled the Book of Mormon, he tried to include their human attributes or weaknesses, but it can be difficult to imagine Nephi becoming angry - even with Laman and Lemuel, Ammon getting frustrated, or Alma the Younger snapping at his children.
Becoming a Hero of Faith
Children are fantastic at placing themselves in the roll of a hero. They parade around the living room with a sword and pretend to rescue the brass plates, Zoram, and the damsels known as the daughters of Ishmael.
As we get older, it becomes more difficult to place ourselves in a heroic roll. Listing our faults and weaknesses becomes a talent that we develop without even trying. However, when an "average" LDS man or woman stands strong against persecution or temptation, they exercise faith every bit as strong as Nephi's. When they share the gospel with a friend or coworker, they risk social isolation and exorcise faith as strong as Ammon's. When they repent and strive to live better and be better, they flex their spiritual muscles and their faith is as strong as Alma the Younger's.
Heroes of Faith is full of modern-day people who stand firm in their faith despite insurmountable odds stacked against them. There are men who forgive the unforgivable and women who use faith and determination to fulfill their divine destiny. I would recommend this book for its inspirational stories of the lives of everyday people. They say each person has a story to tell, a novel to write. In fact, we are all writing our stories in the Book of Life. One day, when our stories are reread, we may be surprised to find that by striving to follow Christ, we are also a hero of faith.