Before Jesus left the Nephites and the Lamanites, they were just the Nephites. They had  decided to all live together. And they agreed to share almost everything, including their name. They shared food and water. They shared money and toys. They shared homes and cities. They even shared toothpaste. But they did not share their toothbrushes, because that would be gross. 

And all this sharing was wonderful because no one went hungry. No one had bad breath. No one felt alone. No one was better than anyone else, except Jesus. He was better. But it didn’t really matter because everyone loved Jesus. And Jesus loved everyone.  

He enjoyed breaking bread and eating bread and just being with the Nephites. But Jesus had a terrible secret. And before He left for good, He had to tell someone. And so He chose twelve people and called them disciples because they would become the spiritual leaders after He was gone. 

And Jesus gathered the twelve together and said, “I want to tell you a secret.” And He told them about how good the Nephites were becoming. And how good they would become, even after He left them.  

“That makes sense,” they said. “We will be good because of you. You are like the sun and we are like rocks. And the sun bakes the rocks all day, so that even when the sun sets, the rocks stay warm. That is no secret.”

“Yes,” said Jesus. “But my secret is what will happen next. You will stay good for a few hundred years. But then, things will fall apart. You will get cold. And all the Nephites will forget me.”

This made the disciples very sad. “We are sorry,” they said. “We will help as many people as we can be as good as they can for as long as they can.” 

“I want to help you too,” Jesus said. “So what can I do for you?”  

The twelve disciples thought for a long time. And then nine of them said, “We do not ever want to see our people forget you. And so we will work our whole lives to teach people about you. And when we are old, please take us away from here. Take us home. Take us to heaven where no one will ever forget you. 

This made Jesus happy and He touched each of them with His finger, like a parent about to tuck them into bed. Then He turned to the three remaining disciples. “What would you like?” He asked.

“We also want to be with you,” they said. “But we cannot bear to leave the world after what you have told us. And so we would like to stay here. We know that what you have told us is true, and we do not mean to be disrespectful, but we have to try and stop it. We will fight for Zion, even if we are bound to fail. Please don’t think we don’t want to be with you. That’s what we want more than anything. We will never forget you. And when this is all over, we will see you again. But for now, we want to stay in the world.”

This made Jesus cry. And He said, “That’s where I will be too. You might not see me, but I will be with you, in the world. We will walk together. And we will never die. We will see the Nephites rise and the Nephites fall. You will see beautiful things. But you will also see terrible things. Worse things than you can imagine. But we will be together. And we will fight together. We will fight for zion.”

And the disciples formed a circle and they shouted, “FOR ZION!!!” as loud as they could. And Jesus disappeared into the sky. And there was nothing to do but return to their homes and their people and their lives. And they all fought for zion. And at the end of their lives, the nine disciples returned to heaven where they praise Jesus, to this day. 

But three of the disciples lived on. And though they did everything they could to stop it, Jesus’ secret came true. And still the disciples pressed on. They taught about Jesus for as long as anyone would listen. But eventually, people did not listen. And so the disciples taught without talking at all. Instead of finding words, they found needs. They found people who were naked and brought them clothes. They found people who were hungry, and gave them food. They found people who were sad, and sang them songs. 

They continued to go from person to person, trying to help, to bless, to heal. But eventually, even that stopped working. When the disciples arrived, the people kicked at them, spat on them, and called them names. They were kicked out of cities. Their homes were burned down. And still the disciples did not give up on the world. Because they remembered what Jesus had told them. He was still on the earth. And they knew where he would be. He would be waiting for them, at the next person. 

All artwork by Lauren Blair.

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