Seminary Students Worldwide Join in Armor of God Challenge

Contributed By Rachel Murphy, Church News contributor

  • 11 February 2015

Seminary students and their parents and instructors gather at a meetinghouse in Monroe, Georgia, to compile paper chain links sent from several corners of the world as part of an “Armor of God” challenge.  Photo courtesy of Rachel Murphy.

Article Highlights

  • A seminary teacher in Monroe, Georgia, asked her students to put “links” in the armor of God by writing on paper links 100 ways to put on the armor of God.
  • After doing the activity themselves, they invited seminary students from around the world to send them links as well, resulting in a chain half a mile long.

“There is not one great and grand thing we can do to arm ourselves spiritually. True spiritual power lies in numerous smaller acts woven together in a fabric of spiritual fortification that protects and shields from all evil.” —Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of Twelve 

MONROE, GEORGIA

This is a story of unity. This is a story of how Latter-day Saint seminary students came together from all over the world in the cause of linking together in spiritual fortification and protection. This is a story of how we have the power to fight using the armor of God every single day.

Back in the beginning of October one night I was preparing to teach Doctrine and Covenants 27 to my seminary class in Monroe, Georgia. The scriptures were about putting on the whole armor of God.

I read the quote in our lesson manual by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that said: “I like to think of this spiritual armor not as a solid piece of metal molded to fit the body but more like chain mail. Chain mail consists of dozens of tiny pieces of steel fastened together to allow the user greater flexibility without losing protection. I say that because it has been my experience that there is not one great and grand thing we can do to arm ourselves spiritually. True spiritual power lies in numerous smaller acts woven together in a fabric of spiritual fortification that protects and shields from all evil.”

As I was preparing this lesson I felt the prompting to challenge my students to come up with 100 different ways to put on the armor of God. I decided to have them write them down on small strips of paper and then link them together in a paper chain resembling chain mail. The next day I presented my students with the challenge, and they eagerly took to it. They all gathered around the podium and worked together, shouting out and writing down different ways to put on the armor of God. When we were finished I had a student dress in armor and wrapped the chain around him.

It was a very spiritual and impactful lesson. Later that day I posted the picture that I took of my student in the armor on our LDS seminary teachers Facebook page. The page has about 2,500 teachers from all over the world. I extended the challenge to these other teachers and, if they were interested, they could leave their email and I would send more details about the challenge.

A pair of seminary students in Monroe, Georgia, help arrange paper link chains crafted by seminary students from seven different nations as part of an “Armor of God” challenge. Photo courtesy of Rachel Murphy.

The first time I posted I had 150 teachers respond and show interest. That day as I was sending off an email to all of the teachers, I said, “Why don’t we take this one step further? If you take this challenge with your class, please send your links to us here in Monroe, Georgia, and we will connect all of the paper chains from around the world together to see how long we can make the chain. Let’s unify our seminary students across the world. Let’s connect them to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s hasten the work and excite souls. Let’s put on the armor of God and come together to share this message in a powerful, impactful, and positive way!”

I sent my address to all of these teachers with a prayer in my heart that this challenge would turn out to be whatever Heavenly Father wanted it to be.

Two weeks later envelopes and boxes and packages started coming in from all over the country. I was getting more emails and messages every single day from teachers who had heard about the challenge and wanted to take it with their classes. There were boxes and envelopes with pictures of students from all over the world. Seeing their faces was so powerful, and I couldn't believe the miracle that I was witnessing. I was humbled that my small and simple idea had grown into a mountainous pile of boxes and envelopes so high I couldn't see the ceiling in my living room.

Since then we have received thousands and thousands of paper links from all over the world. Many of them are from the United States, with more than half of the states represented. We have also had participants from six other countries: the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, England, Canada, and Japan.

More than 1,000 seminary students have participated worldwide.

Our final chain is estimated to be almost a half-mile long.

I am so grateful for the power of social media and that through it this challenge has been able to spread all over the world.

It is so incredible to see the faces of the students who are participating in this challenge. I love to line the pictures up side by side and imagine them all as an army fighting this battle. They are a beautiful and strong army.

Through the small and simple things we do each day we can add a chain link in our armor and protect ourselves from the adversary. These seminary students are fighting very real battles every day, whether they are physical, emotional, personal, mental, or spiritual. Through this challenge we are all coming together and unifying ourselves in the battle and fighting with each other and for righteousness.

I know that as we strive to put on the armor of God and put a link in our armor every single day, we can be protected and fight.

—Rachel Murphy is an early-morning seminary teacher from the Monroe Ward, Athens Georgia Stake.