Often popular depictions or modern understandings can cloud what the authors of the Book of Mormon really intended. Find out how our misunderstanding of the word "stripling" changes the entire meaning of this miraculous story.
I think we’re probably all familiar with the iconic picture of Helaman’s 2,000 stripling warriors. No doubt this depiction, like the animated Living Scriptures rendition, was shaped by popular imagination.
But aren’t we doing the story a disservice by imagining a legion of 18-25-year-old warriors who apparently had access to a 24-hour gym and a highly specialized regimen of supplements?
As it turns out, learning what “stripling” meant in Joseph’s day speaks volumes about what the stripling warriors would have actually looked like.
“Stripling” is a word that, while once common, has virtually vanished from the vocabulary of English speakers. Except, that is, for Mormons who use it to describe Helaman’s valiant warriors. And yet, even we don’t really know what it means. While most have probably never given the word much thought, some of us may think it means “brave,” or perhaps “strong,” or even “young” but in a fairly broad sense.
The 1828 dictionary helps us understand what the word really meant when Joseph used it in translation.