Please see the disclaimer.

Assumed Audience: Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are curious about history, civilizations, and/or Zion.

Epistemic Status: Extremely confident in the priciples. The more general or high level things are, the more confident I am. I become less confident as things become more detailed.

Chapter 10: “Cast Out” 1

“Oh, hey, it’s the bishop,” said Josiah.

Eli and Samuel looked at him sadly.

“Hello, Josiah,” said the store owner. “I’m glad you came. You too, Eli and Samuel.”

“Good to see you, Bishop Yan, but I’m not glad to be here,” said Eli.

“Yeah,” said the bishop. “Same.” He turned to Josiah. “Let’s talk in my office.”

“Wait, me?”

“Yes,” said the bishop.

“Unfortunately, you are the one under judgment,” Eli said.

“Why?” Josiah barked.

“Please come to my office, and we’ll talk about that.”

“You will tell me now!”

“Josiah, follow the bishop,” growled Samuel.

Josiah turned to glare and yell at his father, but then he saw that look in his eyes.

* * *

“So we’re here. Tell me why I’m under judgment.”

The bishop leaned over his desk. “It is time for you to take your place in society.”

“You mean, accept the Law of Consecration?”

“Yes.”

Josiah laughed. “I don’t even believe in the Law of Consecration. No can do.”

“Well, then, it is time for you to find another ward.”

Josiah snickered. “Yeah, right.”

“Pack your bags and be out by nightfall,” retorted Samuel.

“What?!” Josiah sprang to his feet. “You can’t do that!”

“Of course I can; it’s my house.”

Josiah strode quickly to his father and grabbed his collar. He briefly noticed that look in his father’s eyes again, but this time, he didn’t care.

“I will stay.”

“You will leave.” Samuel’s voice dropped even further. “I will ask a judge to enforce it.”

“We’ll see about that!” Josiah spat, and he swung back a fist.

There was a spark, and Josiah’s vision clouded and swirled as he crumpled left with stinging on his right cheek.

It was 10 seconds before his vision cleared, and he was able to look at his father standing over him. In the center of his view was a sharp, gleaming point.

His father held the sword at his nose, holding the sheath in his other hand. Josiah realized that the cane was the sheath.

He felt a warm liquid on his cheek, blood from a cut. The pain hurt, but his embarrassment burned.

“Eli,” Samuel said slowly and dolefully, “I need to report a child that refuses to honor his parents.”

Eli’s eyes widened. “Samuel, do you understand the consequences?”

Samuel’s eyes were sorrowful gray with a bright tinge of rage. “They are the consequences I must suffer for my failure.”

Eli stood silent and still for several seconds. “I’m sorry, Samuel. I tried.”

“Yes. We both did.”

Eli turned to James. “Help guard Josiah. I need to round up a posse.”

James nodded, drew his weapon, and leveled it at Josiah. Eli left. The bishop drew his own weapon.

* * *

Josiah spent an excruciating hour on the floor, slowly bleeding from his cut until a clot formed. He father never moved his sword.

“Dad!” he finally exclaimed. “Why would you do this?”

“Because the blood of the covenant runs thicker than the blood of birth.”

Josiah said, “English, please.”

James said, “Your father means that God and His Law are more important to him than family.”

“I knew you didn’t love me!” Josiah shouted.

“On the contrary,” James replied, “your father talks about you more than anything else. He’s always been worried about you.”

“He never let me do what I wanted to do!”

“And that is love; Alma said, ‘wickedness is not happiness.’ Your father was trying to save you from yourself.”

The office door opened, slamming into the wall, and in rushed Josiah’s mother followed by Eli.

“Mom! Save me from Dad!”

She fell to her knees and hugged him. “I can’t. You know the Law, and you chose another path.”

She pulled away and looked at him, tears soaking her face. “But you still have one more choice. Please choose banishment, and do not choose death; don’t make your father execute that punishment.”

“He doesn’t have to!”

She shook her head. “Josiah, the Law requires that accusers carry out the punishment, so if parents accuse their child of dishonor, they must execute the punishment. If there is to be punishment, your father must execute it.”

“Dad would never kill me,” Josiah insisted with his father’s sword hanging inches from his nose.

She grabbed his shoulders. “Josiah, do you really not know your father? Do you not know what he has been through and done?”

“Dad never talked about it, but I think someone mentioned that he was tortured.” Josiah adjusted a little with an eye on Samuel, but Samuel allowed it. “I don’t believe it.”

“Boy, where do you think I lost my eye? Or why do you think I need this cane?” Samuel snarled.

“Oh.”

His mother stammered, “And do you remember the blood spatter that Dad could not get off the wall?”

Josiah’s brain fog cleared, and the memory came back. “Yes.”

“Do you know what happened?”

“I figured that Dad accidentally hurt himself.”

She shook her head. “Do you remember that Uncle Benjamin came over?”

“Yeah.”

“Do you remember how your dad had me take you outside?”

Josiah stomach dropped, and he choked. “Yeah…”

“Your uncle had been banished to avoid death. That punishment was still in force, but he snuck into Zion and went to your dad, looking for refuge.

“Your dad sent us away, checked that the punishment was still in force, and then…” She started crying openly.

Eli spoke low. “He cleaned everything up as best he could to hide it from you, but the Law required him to enforce that punishment on his own brother.”

Josiah looked at Eli. “What?”

“Should any person who is not allowed in Zion come in, they are subject to immediate death,” he said. “Your father reported it to me, and I judged it to be not only okay, but the required course of action.

“Yes, he had to shoot his own beloved brother, the brother that he was so close to. That is how much your father believes in the Law.”

James added, “So when your father said that the blood of the covenant runs thicker than the blood of birth, he has already proved it.”

Josiah thought for a moment and then said, “I really don’t believe it.” He turned to Samuel. “I don’t believe you have the guts to kill me.”

Josiah’s mother sobbed as Eli handed Samuel a rifle. “Well, then,” Eli stuttered, “let’s get this over with.”

The posse grabbed Josiah and dragged him outside.

* * *

Josiah struggled against the ropes as his father set up the rifle on a stand.

That look was back in the old man’s eyes and more intense than ever; they seared Josiah’s soul.

And once again, the fear took root.

“Samuel,” Eli said, “I’ll do it.”

“I must. There can be no substitute.”

Eli nodded and clenched his mouth. “Are you ready?”

For the first time, Samuel hesitated. “…yes.”

“Then please sit.”

Samuel sat behind the rifle and trained it on his son.

“Take aim,” Eli commanded, and Samuel put his good eye to the scope.

“Mom!” Josiah shouted, hoping for reprieve, even though he knew his mother had fled home, unable to watch.

“Safety off,” Eli ordered, and for an instant, Josiah thought Samuel would not do it.

Then he saw his father’s thumb move and heard a click.

And finally, he believed.

“Stop!” he shouted. “I’ll take banishment!”

“Safety on!” Eli bellowed, but Samuel had already flicked the switch back.

Nevertheless, his father kept his eye on the scope and the rifle pointed at Josiah.

Eli turned to the quickest runner. “Please tell Sister Farr that her son chose banishment, as quickly as you can.”

The man vanished.

“Samuel, you may take down the weapon,” Eli said. “We’ll put it back up if need be.”

Samuel nodded, cleared the rifle, and unhooked it from the stand.

It was not long before Josiah’s mother ran up to him and embraced him again. “Thank you, Josiah! Oh, thank you!”

Josiah said miserably, “Yes, but I’m banished.”

She pulled away, then kissed his forehead. “Yes, but you can still come back.”

Samuel reloaded the rifle, and Eli said to him, “The posse can take him to the gates without you.”

“It is still my responsibility.”

Eli nodded.

* * *

As Josiah stood outside the gates, it felt eerie that just yesterday, he had watched two others be banished. The silent train ride had been uncannily creepy too.

“Walk,” Samuel ordered, and Josiah, for the first time in his life, obeyed without arguing.

The gates slowly swung open, their hinges booming complaints, and Josiah walked through.

As the gates shut, he turned around to look at his father. He saw him unload the weapon, hand it to a member of the posse, and walk away.

But he did not see the tears in the old man’s eyes.