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Heroic leader gave life for stripling warriors

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A lesser-known Nephite leader, Antipus, who was appointed by Captain Moroni, is one of many heroes of the Book of Mormon.

Mentioned only in Chapter 56 of Alma, Antipus gave his life to protect Helaman's stripling army.

When Helaman and his 2,000 young men were assigned to the battlefront, they were sent to help Antipus and his army defend the city of Judea.

They found Antipus with a force that had been greatly diminished by Lamanites. The army was facing the "strongest army of the Lamanites" (v. 34) and to prevail were "toiling with their might to fortify the city," yet they were "depressed in body as well as in spirit" for they had "fought valiantly by day and toiled by night" and they had "suffered great affliction of every kind." (vs. 15-16.) Yet, they were "determined to conquer in this place or die." (v. 17.)

In the past, the Nephites had become protectors of the People of Ammon and un- doubtedly developed a sense of responsibility toward them. Seeing the young army of faithful young men from the People of Ammon caused this exhausted and beleaguered Nephite army to "rejoice exceedingly." (v.10.) This despite the fact that "all of them were very young" (v. 46) and totally inexperienced in battle.

As a battle strategy, Helaman's striplings were ordered to pretend to be a supply train, which passing by the nearby city of Antiparah, decoyed the main Lamanite army from that stronghold. This army began to pursue them.

Here again Antipus showed his nobility of character. Although he must have been tempted to enter and take the stronghold city vacated by the Lamanite army, he immediately rallied his army to protect Helaman's "sons."

A deadly race ensued in which Helaman's army dared not "turn to the right nor to the left." (v. 40.) As Antipus' army followed, neither did the Lamanites dare "turn to the right nor to the left." (v. 37.) Antipus, "beholding [Helaman's army's] danger, did speed the march of his army."

On the third day, Helaman's army saw that the Lamanite pursuit had stopped. Helaman then posed his well-known question to the striplings: "Therefore, what say ye, my sons, will ye go against them into battle?" (v. 44.) Upon returning, they found "a terrible battle had commenced." Exhausted by the long pursuit, Antipus' army was being destroyed. In addition, the heroic Antipus and many of his leaders had fallen by the sword.

Helaman's army fought "with great vigor" turning the momentum of the fight against the enemy and prevailed, "yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength." (v. 56.)