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 11: “He Came to Himself” 1

“When you get outside, run,” one of the men had told him.


“Doesn’t matter as long as it’s north or south. Do not run east.”

“For how long?”

“Until you faint.”

So when the gates shut and shook the earth under his feet, Josiah ran. He ran south, thinking it would be easier to stay warm that way.

As his feet pounded, he wondered why he had to run, but for once, he just believed.

It did not take long for him to hear the patter of other feet behind him, and he looked.

There were men, rough looking men, holding weapons. And they were gunning for him.

He ran with desperation.

* * *

Josiah woke up face down, where he was when he fainted.

He had escaped.

Now he had to find food, water, and shelter.

The weather was warm enough that he didn’t worry about shelter, and he found a stream. He found some berries.

After taking care of himself, Josiah backtracked and spied on the base of the men who had chased him. It was horrifying; they basically enslaved everyone who came out of Zion. They had a single man as a leader, and he was essentially a mafioso.

Josiah wandered and surveilled other societies. And despite hoping otherwise, not one was as good as Zion.

One even adopted the Constitution of the United States, supposedly. It still had one leader, and he still acted with impunity.

Josiah thought about how, over time, the United States had reverted to an oligarchic authoritarian regime, and nearly did so many times.

That’s what he had been told and never believed it.

But this society had done so in how long? A decade? Josiah knew that he had been born shortly before his father had been arrested, and Zion was built soon thereafter. It could not have been more than 18 years.

Every society started degenerated or evolved that way. He had been told that all societies in history had done so, and finally, he believed it.

* * *

Three years later, Josiah felt ready.

Somehow, he snuck past the goons of the mafioso who enslaved people trying to qualify for Zion again and got into the queue.

Somehow, he applied for a chance and was accepted.

Somehow, he survived the probation prison.

Somehow, he qualified for readmittance.

“I’m not sure how I have qualified,” he said.

“Because you lived the Law, even when it was hard,” said the head judge of the readmittance panel. “Specifically, even though you cannot give funds to your fellow men, you spent your time with them. And you did this consistently.”

He smiled. “Welcome, back, Josiah.”

“Thank you, James.”

“Now,” James said, “we have already taken your name and picture off the list of people who were banished, and it has been that way for a week. You may enter now.”

He leaned forward with a strong grin. “There’s someone waiting for you.”

Josiah nodded, and his stomach twisted. He walked to the door and pushed it open.

He never saw the man before he was pulled him into an embrace.

“Hi, Dad.”

* * *

“Dad, are you ready to go?” Josiah said, hand on the doorknob.

Samuel slowly walked up. “No, we’re not going to the Judgment Hall today. I’ve told Eli that we’re going somewhere else today.”


The old man’s eyes gleamed. “You’ll see.”

They walked to the edge of the township to what Josiah had always thought was a warehouse, and Samuel opened the door and activated a garage door.

“It’s been 10 years since you started training under me, and that’s long enough,” Samuel said as light started to flood the room and caught a sleek machine. “I’m old, and it’s time for me to retire.

“From both teaching and racing.”

He threw something to Josiah, who caught it. It was a key.

“She’s yours. Have fun.”

“But why, Dad?”

Samuel’s face lifted a touch. “Well, do you see that paint job? That was a gift when I bought it, a gift from several wards.”

It was a beautiful job, one that splayed the flag of Zion across the entire car.

“They gave it to me for my service to Zion as a teacher. So it seems fitting that it should stay in the hands of the chief teacher of the Law.”

“Wait, what?”

“Like I said, I’m retiring from teaching. The torch is yours now.”

Samuel’s face turned into a tiny smile. “Or rather, the car is yours now.”

And he just left.

Josiah opened the car and turned the key. Its electric engine purred; Josiah nursed it onto the road outside the township and floored it.