“Benjamin Did Fight with the Strength of His Own Arm”

Bryan Richards

Neal A. Maxwell

"As for his exemplifying of discipleship, we begin to learn of Benjamin's character well before his sermon. Just as this special king labored to produce his own necessities, he personalized his leadership in other ways. As a warrior-king, he did fight with the strength of his own arm, and with the sword of Laban in putting down unrest—to which false prophets, false Christs, and false preachers doubtless contributed. In this challenging context he was not alone, for there were many holy men in the land who assisted him. Thus, well prior to the great sermon, king Benjamin had been involved with typical single-mindedness in successful efforts to deal with contention and dissension. Acting, as he always did, with all the might of his body and the faculty of his own soul (v. 18). And thus peace was established in the land.
"Even with all this turbulence, brothers and sisters, king Benjamin did not become jaded, nor was he preoccupied with his role as a warrior-king. Clearly, he knew that his was a spiritual ministry. Even a cursory cruise through modern political and military history attests to how often individuals are both confined and defined by their contemporary events. We would never have had the great king Benjamin's sermon if he had been confined and defined by such prior events. Or likewise, we would never have had it if he had become desensitized by his genuine victories and achievements and had come to have even justifiable pride in them. His meekness in the face of his accomplishments, marks this man…Moreover, how many warrior kings, for instance, regard themselves as a teacher more than a king?" (Farms Symposia Audiotape, "Benjamin's Sermon: A Manual for Discipleship")