The Binding of Nephi
based on stories in the Mormon book of Nephi
In a valley far from Jerusalem, where the rivers run to the sea like wine out of jugs, tipped by Roman girls in a dark and grinning rite, the landscape was trans-mortified by a pillar of God, which spoke to me.
You are alone in this place, it said, just as you were alone among Jews.
You may cut down the tribe until all that is left is your father, and mother, three brothers, and you, but in the aching loneliness (and loveliness) of light, you are the last, the first, and the one, because the light you know is you, defined by me, an inkling of the Son.
The Roman girls vanished and where they once stood, an angel host diverted the source of the rivers.
That valley was the hardness and simplicity of God's love, that loneliness and loveliness.
When we, my brothers and I, seized the records from Laban and left behind his headless corpse, that loving single-mindedness was like a homing dove.
For love, is blindness, and remorse, and hope that pain relents: This is the bone-break wisdom of the ancients.
My book, I see now, is a repetitive record of all the times I was beaten, and bound, and almost slain by my brethren, remaining as always alone in the light, which unbound my body and healed its wounds.
Is it better to be alone and immortal in the light, or savage and companioned in the dark?
I have caught myself wondering.
The path to Hell is paved by idealists: those who, in a single-mindedness which is not love, but a togetherness and hatefulness, forge their own rods of iron and seek to imprison all tribes inside a human enclosure.
I see a large and modern church, glass walled and rooved, with no foundations, where the stench of humanity is intolerable to anyone private enough to notice it.
I was bound again by my brothers on our long sail to the New World.
I prayed that once we reached Eden, were held within its invisible walls, their sins would fall from their bodies like flesh in a temple fire.
But I soon realised this was a childish prayer, and returned in my mind to the manuscript, my book, a repetitive record of beating, and binding, and almost-death.
A prophet is not a prophet if people listen when he speaks.
I dreamt of the ocean drying up to make another valley, where angels made the source of the rivers and I was again with the pillar of God.
But, as before, this was a childish dream.
I did, however, hear a voice, while prone on my bunk in the bowels of the ship, where the voice did not and besides had no room to make a pillar in the air.
It said: Humans are not naturally kind.
But just as there can be no limit on the evil that humans are capable of, there can also be no limit on the good.