Excerpts from the journal of Nephite #1
Taken from "Historical Compendium of the Writings of the Three Nephites," Volume 7.
Published by Signaturi Press.
14 April, 17 AD* I, Zelphinihah, having been born of most zealously religious parents, and having fled from my home even in my youth, and having spent the days since my departure in the company of the Gadianton Robbers, do take sharp pointy tool in hand, and do give an account and a record of my doings since my youth. For behold, through my struggles and the efforts of mine hands, I have become mighty as to the strength of my brethren, and do command many hosts.
And behold, my men and myself have plotted and plundered, schemed and stolen, and in this way have made ourselves most wealthy in gold, and in jewels, and in wimples, and in ziff, and in cureloms (which beasts are most useful unto man, especially when one has to make a fast getaway).
And behold, I am now going to throw out everything my parents ever told me about how to write. I mean, really! I'm not making myself sound any smarter, with all these "behold's" and "lo's," and "thereof's." It just makes me harder to understand. With that out of the way, I'll now return to my life over the past few years.
Yeah, I skipped out on my parents when I was ten, the day they decided my occupation for the rest of my life. Can you believe they wanted to make me into a priest? Like we need another priest in this world. If they'd get off their butts and work for a living like the rest of us. . . All right, so my occupation really leaves me in no position to complain.
I'm twenty years old now, and it looks as though the best years of my life are already behind me. The Nephites have decided to hole up, to "protect themselves." From us. Why, I have no idea. There are only a few thousand of us, but their governor, "Lachoneus" (what a peculiar name. . .) claims that there are millions of us hiding up in the mountains. Every time a plague breaks out, he tells the people that we've poisoned the water. Whenever they find a body in the street, the poor person was murdered at the hands of the evil Gadiantons. My guess is that he's been hiring the Lamanites to do a lot of this stuff, to keep the people from recognizing that most of their problems come straight from his terrible management.
Sure, none of us are completely spotless. But who would have thought that a small band in the hills could be seen as such a threat? Those mindless Nephite sheep have burned their homes, farms, and forests, and gathered everything they owned into a single fort. They've killed almost all the game animals, and there's no food left anywhere. Our choices are simple: either leave the land entirely, or try and attack them directly. Both plans are close to suicidal.
20 July, 18 AD Our attacks have been utterly futile. The Lamanites have also been sending up some troops, but it still appears that we'll run out of food long (or people) long before they do. We've only gotten a little information about what goes on behind those walls, but it appears that Gidgiddoni has been executing "Gadianton spies" by the thousands. Apparently, there are more Gadianton spies inside the walls than there are robbers outside.
27 July, 18 AD One of our best thieves, Limhihah, managed to get inside the walls and kill one of their captains of fifty. In and of itself, this didn't help us much, but the Nephites called for another wave of "robber hunts" to avenge the killings. They've started sending troops out against us.
14 January, 26 AD I was taken prisoner about seven years ago. They then taught me their "gospel" night and day until I started pretending to agree with it. I'm pretty sure that if I hadn't, they would have killed me eventually. The first thing I did when they started sending people out to reclaim their lands was to come here and find these plates (which are made of low-grade tumbaga, in case anyone is interested). But now I have a modicum of freedom, and have been assigned a small plot of land, which I am contractually obligated to work until the day I die.
15 April, 28 AD Tax collector came around again today. Said I owed Lachoneus half my production this year. I can't make ends meet, but that idiot wants to make the entire country exactly as it was before, and is more than happy to spend my money to do it. He's building roads leading from nowhere to nowhere, claiming that if he builds them, people will come.
4 January, 34 AD Storm came through, blew the house over. Neighbors gone. Don't miss them. Dog gone. Miss him. Everything is getting . . .
8 January, 34 AD Looks like I got off easy. When I said the neighbors were gone, I had no idea that every neighbor within twenty miles had been blown into the ocean. As I was saying before, everything got dark for three days. I had to cut a slice out of a cow that had been flattened against a rock. I'm still hungry.
9 January, 34 AD Heading for Bountiful. Not sure why. I've started hearing voices. Taking tumbaga, slab of cow.
15 August, 34 AD Sat around most of the afternoon listening to a dull sermon by some guy whom everyone claims to be both dead and alive. I'm not exactly sure how he managed that. Everyone appears very shaky, emotionally, and they've latched on to him like he's going to redeem them all. Personally, he reminds me of this pushy salesman who once sold me a limp ox. . .
16 August, 34 AD The ox salesman has chosen me to be one of his "twelve special witnesses," and to make sure everyone believes in him after he leaves. I don't know what he's thinking. First he blows my house and dog into the ocean, and now he expects me to act like I owe him. The sheep seem to be eating this up, so it wouldn't be a good idea to sound as displeased as I am. I ran out of cow slab yesterday. There has to be some food around here someplace.
later: I think I've figured it out. I was chosen for my hair. Most of the other guys had it singed off during the fires. I guess it's easy to trust someone with good hair. The other eleven have good hair too. The ox salesman gave us each one wish. The first nine suck-ups said they wanted to live a long and happy life preaching the gospel. When it was my turn, I asked for immortality (so that I can "better preach the gospel," of course). The next two guys liked the idea, and asked for the same thing. They seem like okay fellows, though the idea of spending an eternity with them is a bit daunting.
17 July, 210 AD Immortality sucks. I should have asked for my dog back. Or another slab of cow. Or anything else besides this. These people are freaks! "Golden age," indeed. Everyone is forced to wear these ridiculous amulets, which get dark any time someone has "an impure thought." Anyone caught with a dark crystal is executed. I found the guy who came up with the idea and painted his crystal black. Serves him right.
We're not allowed to own anything. It all belongs to "the Church." I'm starting to miss the fifty percent tax rate. At least when the tax collector came through, I still got to keep half. Now, they can take every bushel of grain, and maybe let you keep enough to keep from starving to death, if it pleases them. I wonder what Jerusalem is like? I've heard a lot about it. Tiberius, one of the other immortals, wants to come with me.
19 July, 210 AD Apparently, desiring to leave is an "impure thought." They've tried to kill us seventeen different ways. Finally they released us both out of frustration. I'm still a bit groggy from the five different types of poison.
31 August, 210 AD Tiberius has been hard at work building a boat. He claims it's a one man job, and that I don't know anything about building boats. Unfortunately, he's right. So I spend my time hunting tapirdeer horses.
15 September, 210 AD Tiberius is finished. We set sail tomorrow.
2 October, 210 AD I should have known: Tiberius does NOT know how to build ships. The thing broke in pieces three days out. We ended up floating to a big volcanic island in the middle of the sea**. I always wondered where Hagoth's crew ended up. They have a map showing us how to get to India, and they worship coconuts. Tiberius tried to explain to them the joy and peace that comes from believing in the ox salesman, but they said coconuts were WAY more important. If they stop worshipping the coconuts, the coconuts stop growing, and everyone starves.
That's all they eat here! These delightful, wondrous coconuts! The first time I tasted them, I nearly cried. They're so good! I've gorged myself on a dozen of them today.
3 October, 210 AD I'm allergic to coconuts. Set sail for India.
17 October, 210AD I think I have the map upside down.
27 October, 210 AD Tiberius threw the map overboard. For one of the ox salesman's special witnesses, he can swear to beat any sailor I've met.
1 January, 211 AD We landed on some sort of land mass, and were immediately captured by cannibals. They were impressed when they couldn't kill us, but when they chopped off Tiberius's arm and it grew back, they began worshipping us as gods. Then they cut off a few more limbs.
3 January, 211 AD They've decided I taste way better than Tiberius. He's too stringy. I've provided them with about fifty legs this week. I was hesitant to taste the soup at first, but with a dash of salt, I have to admit I'm pretty tasty.
17 January, 211 AD Escaped from cannibals, stole a canoe. I think we're headed north. Tiberius says he's sure, and that he knows how to "read the stars." He also said he knew how to "build a boat," so I'm rather skeptical.
15 April, 211 AD We finally reached India. It's a fascinating place. We needed money, and I've taken to throwing myself from tall buildings, landing face first, and getting up unharmed. It's painful, but the money is excellent, and we're drawing a way bigger crowd than that fire-eating guy across the street.
Tiberius has been trying to preach the sacred word of the ox salesman, but with little luck. He managed to convince an old guy that worshipping a god with two arms is better than worshipping one with six. I really didn't follow his logic, but the old guy seemed to like it. Something about all those arms getting in each other's way.
1 August 211, AD Made it to a city called Alexandria. A few people follow the ways of the ox salesman, but they do it in strange ways. They all seem to have a death wish. The authorities (called Romans) don't trust them, and I've seen some of them vandalize the idols of other religions. Apparently, being suicidal is considered holy among them. One of the stories circulating is about a noble youth named Origen, who tried to become a martyr, but his mother hid all his clothes. His father was awaiting execution for his beliefs, and was told that he could go free if he would simply mock the ox salesman. But the kid wrote to his father saying, "Don't change your mind on our account." This is supposed to show his astonishing devotion to God and Christ. I don't know which is more disturbing, that a teenager would have such a desire to die, or that everyone speaks of this as something to emulate. I was surprised that Tiberius didn't get all misty-eyed over this. But I guess I knew he had at least a bit of sense.
15 September, 211 AD Tiberius has converted to gnosticism. He thinks they know something we don't.
I've left Tiberius with the Gnostics, and have departed for. . . well, anywhere but here.
5 November, 211 AD Ran into John the Beloved in Macedonia. He was rather peeved that I wasn't dead. He thought he was the only one. We didn't part on the best of terms.
17 October, 1973 AD Was hitchhiking along I-15, when this blue-haired octogenarian "felt inspired" to stop and pick me up. As soon as we got up to forty miles an hour (which appeared to be her top speed), she started yammering on about how I need to accept the ox salesman into my heart and follow the Brethren. Well, there's only so much a man can take, so I asked her to pull over about seven miles down the road. When she pulled over, I hopped out of the car. She asked, "Are you going to be okay, sonny?" I nodded, then as an afterthought, asked, "Do you have your food storage yet?" She didn't. I told her "You'd better get it. By this time next year, you'll need it." Then I pulled the invisibility trick Tiberius taught me. Her eyes went big as saucers, and then she peeled out at what must have been a hundred miles an hour. I told Alamecumeni about it later, and we both had a big laugh.
*Note: all dates have been converted into the proleptic Gregorian calendar system.
** Possibly Oahu.
BYU Researchers Working to Beat "Apostacy Virus"
A Church News Article
It has long been known that those who associate with apostates often catch the spirit of apostacy themselves. The LDS Church has taught this immortal principle since its inception. But not until recently has scientific confirmation of this holy precept been available.
Brigham Young University professor Nephi T. Hamsterfetish believes he has discovered the physical cause of apostacy, a retrovirus he has dubbed Malefecarum apostaricius. "It has been shown to spread via physical contact, sexual intercourse, and by handling such common items as books that have been previously handled by apostates." Extensive research has also led him to hypothesize that the virus may be spread over the internet.
"I know it sounds impossible, but my fellow researchers, who have spent years studying the epidemiology of this new strain of virus, are convinced that there is no other explanation." He cited several examples of apostacy where the only contact with an ex-mormon occurred entirely over telephone lines.
Though the CDC refuses to fund further research, President Boyd K. Packer has authorized $10,000,000 for research into a possible vaccine. "If a vaccine can be discovered for this tragic, soul-destroying plague, then the LDS Church feels obligated to do everything it can to make such a vaccine a reality."
President Packer also outlined the steps members should take in the mean time: "Avoid speaking to, or even being in the same room with, an apostate. Only read faith promoting literature, such as my book, entitled, 'Memorable Stories and Parables.' Do not attempt to log on to the internet, for any reason. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, before every meal, and whenever you feel you may have been exposed to an idea that is not in keeping with the Spirit." He later clarified that this advice also applied to dealing with so-called "Liahona Mormons," who seldom show symptoms of apostacy, but whom Dr. Hamsterfetish says are probably carriers of the virus.
Symptoms of the virus include, but are not limited to: drinking caffienated beverages, reading books published by Signature Press, reading anything not published by Deseret Books, becoming a vegetarian, getting a non-earlobe body piercing, getting more than one pierce in an earlobe, visiting rpcman's site, dating before the age of 16, dating a person of the same gender (any age), not attending Sacrament Meeting, not paying tithing, paying tithing on net income instead of gross, saying any word worse than "hell," not getting 100% home teaching, having feelings of "missing time," small but unexplainable marks on the back of the neck, waking up with a feeling of paralysis or awareness of a "presence" in the room, or feelings of unworthiness.
"I feel certain that we can begin widespread innoculations within the next three to five years. Until then, what can I say but 'hold to the iron rod.'"
Correction: In a recent article, "BYU Researchers Working to Beat 'Apostacy Virus'" several of the listed signs of apostasy were actually signs that you fell victim to an alien abduction.
The Church News regrets the error.
Previous <--- ---> Next