Jesus told us that everyone would forget Him. But still, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it? But that’s what happened. It did take a while, because Jesus is hard to forget. But eventually, people stopped talking about Jesus and then they stopped thinking about Jesus.
And because no one was thinking about Jesus, they started thinking about themselves instead. When another person had more candy or more toys or more money, they were angry and said, “Why do they have more than me?” And so they started to fight and steal and have their stuff stolen. And everyone began hiding their money and their toys and their chocolates. They wrapped their most favorite things in a sack, dug a hole in the ground, and buried it. This was their way of trying to keep their precious possessions forever.
And all day, they would walk around pretending like they didn’t have any money or food or toys. And then at night, they would sneak to their hiding places, dig up their sacks, and play with their toys and their money and eat secret chocolates. And they thought they were happy. But when the morning came, they felt very tired because they did not sleep. And then they’d spend the whole day pretending to have nothing.
They got so good at pretending, they felt like they actually had nothing. And they got so tired that they started skipping nights of fun and toys and chocolates and slept instead. And when they finally tried to dig their sacks up, they were gone. Maybe so many nights had passed by, the people had forgotten where to dig. Or maybe the treasures had been moved or stolen. Regardless, the result was the same. Now, they really did have nothing.
But there was one man who did not forget where his treasure was buried. His treasure was not toys or money or candy. His treasure was a book. And the man’s name was Ammaron. And what was different about Ammaron? Why could he remember where his treasure was while everyone else could not? Well, maybe it’s because Ammaron wasn’t hiding the book for himself. He was hiding it for you and me and everyone.
Because the book was this book. Or, more accurately, it is where all of the stories in this book come from. Stories about Lehi and Sariah. Stories about Alma and Alma and Nephi and Nephi and Nephi and Nephi and all the Helamans and Mosiahs and others.
It was the story about a family that grew and fought and repented and grew again and fought again and repented again. And they failed a lot, but they had done it. They had built Zion. It really had happened. It didn’t happen when they were at their best or wealthiest or most righteous. But Zion had happened. Because Jesus had come.
Ammaron did not want these stories to be forgotten. Because the world needed these stories. So that we would know that Zion is possible. And that Jesus could show us how.
But Ammaron was getting old. And if he died, no one would know where to find the stories. They would be gone forever. And so he needed to choose someone to tell his secret hiding spot. He didn’t choose the strongest man or the smartest woman. He didn’t choose a lawyer or astronaut or marine biologist. Instead, he chose a young, small, if-not-a-little-too-serious ten year old boy.
The boy’s name was Mormon. And Mormon was very excited. It was like going on a treasure hunt. But Ammoron told Mormon to wait for fourteen years before retrieving the book. Perhaps, Ammoron thought, by that time, the people will have lost everything and will once again be ready to try for Zion. And if that was the case, they’d need the book to teach them about Jesus.
The mission felt very important to Mormon. He didn’t know if he could wait the whole long fourteen years. That was longer than he was old. He imagined what it would be like to dig the book up out of the earth. Shining in the sun. And he would read and everyone would listen to him like he was the prophet of God.
But sometimes, the way we imagine things is very different than what actually happens. When a whole city had nothing left to steal, instead of people getting humble, they just got more angry. And they went to other cities to steal more stuff. And everyone was sad and fighting and dying. And the people decided that there was not enough stuff in the entire world for both the Nephites and the Lamanites. And so they decided to fight for it.
And Mormon was so busy staying alive that he barely had time to get the book. Luckily, a battle took Mormon to the book’s hiding spot, and he snuck away from the fighting to dig it up. And when he read the book, he read it alone, all alone in the dark. And the book made him very sad. Because it was stories about Jesus and Zion and the family of Lehi. It was a story of faith, love, joy, and sorrow. And the people in the story were his parents and grandparents and great grandparents. And they had lived lives so bright it stung Mormon’s eyes to read it, and he had to close the book and look away. But all around him, in every direction, the only thing he could see for miles was this terrible, unending war.
And so Mormon decided he would not fight anymore. And he crawled into a hiding spot with the book. And instead of fighting, he spent his time with his ancestors in these stories, reading and writing and compiling the book down into what is now called The Book of Mormon.
But eventually, the war grew so big that there was no place to sit or read or write. There was only space to fight. And so Mormon took his sword, and led a Nephite army. And he talked to the Lamanite king and said, “Let’s not draw this out. Instead of having war after war after war, let’s just have one big battle. Whoever wins, can take everything.”
The Lamanites agreed. And the family of Lehi gathered. One big huge family reunion, thousands and thousands of people. But they did not gather to play or sing or praise God. They gathered to fight. And they fought and the Nephites lost, and most of the Nephites were killed. And their bodies were lying all around, bleeding and smelling and dying. And there were not enough people left to bury the bodies, like they had buried their money and their candy and all their other treasures.
But God was there, and he sent rain and mud and flies and mold to bury the bodies. Because even though they had forgotten Jesus and died fighting each other, they were still His treasure. And He would be the one to dig them up, bring them justice, and give them mercy. And He would do whatever He could to keep them forever.
All artwork by Lauren Blair.
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