Moroni was still alone. Even after reading all the books, even after writing down more stories and letters, even after running away and trying not to be killed, even after years and years, Moroni was still alive, and still alone.
He had not always been alone. Before the big horrible final battle, he lived in a family with parents and probably brothers and sisters who all loved each other very much. And he had friends, too. Friends who had lived in his neighborhood. Friends he had met in the army. Friends he grew up with at church.
He remembered playing with them in nursery, and singing with them in the primary program. He remembered sitting in class with them and imagining what it would be like to be baptized, and whether his toes would come out of the water and they’d have to do the whole thing again. And he was glad to remember these things.
But then he remembered that his friends were all gone. And because they were gone, these things were just memories. He would never listen to another friend’s talk or see another primary program. He would not be able to teach the sunbeams how to fold their arms or hug his daughter after she was confirmed. Because Moroni was all alone. And when he died, these memories would die too, like his friends.
And that made Moroni very sad. “God,” he said, “In case you have forgotten, I am still here, alone in my cave. Nothing but me and my books and my memories. How long will you leave me here alone? I am tired of this world. I want to see my friends. My father, my mother. I miss them.” And Moroni began to cry.
And God was also crying. “Child,” He said, “even though you are lonely, you are not alone. I am with you. And your father, and your mother, they are here too. And there are other people still, living in the world with you.”
“Lamanites?” Moroni hiccuped. “But they don’t like me at all. If they found me, they would kill me.”
“But still they are mine,” said God. “And I will rescue them. I am sorry they have been very mean to you. I am sorry you are lonely. I am sorry your friends are gone and your family. I am sorry there is so much evil and death and pain in the world. I am sorry for all of it. But Moroni, there is more for you to do. There are more souls to save. If not these Lamanites, then the ones that will come after. I have big plans for that little book you are holding, Moroni. And people will need your memories. They will need to know how to pray, how to baptize, how to bless and teach and love each other and make a church together. Because there is still good in the world. And it will return to this place, just like your book. It will rise out of the earth and your words will grow and stretch until every person feels their light. And so, I am leaving you here, Moroni. Just a little longer. Just long enough to finish your story, and make it right.”
And so Moroni opened the book, and wrote his memories. He wrote about the baptisms, and the blessings, and the prayers, and the meetings. He wrote the words his friends had said, and he remembered how beautiful they were. And they looked beautiful in the golden pages of the book. And seeing them, Moroni smiled. And he put his pen down. And he sighed and looked at the clouds. He breathed in and out, very slowly.
He could see them now, there in the future. The people God had told him about. They were reading his book. And Moroni tried to think what they needed to know. What he could tell them about God. He did not think he could write good enough, beautiful enough, smart enough. But they would need help to succeed. What they were doing would not be simple. They would mess up and have to try again. But they were his hope now. They were his people’s hope. They were all people’s hope. They would build Zion. And when they were finished, it would stay. Not for four hundred years. Not for four thousand years. Forever.
And if they were going to build Zion, they would need to start by building a church. And not any church. God’s church. Because Zion is not just one heart, but a whole congregation of good, pure, imperfect hearts all knit together like a big comfy blanket. It is not something we do by ourselves. But if you bring your heart to church, God will start knitting.
And so Moroni picked up his pen and wrote: “And this is what a church is. It is a place where the people sit together often. And they talk together. And they are honest and kind to each other. And they practice being good, and helping others be good. And God is there with them. And whether God tells them to teach, or talk, or serve, or sing, or pray, or forgive, or ask forgiveness, the people do it. The people at church are not perfect, but they care for each other very much. And the people try. They really try.”
All artwork by Lauren Blair.
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