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 4: “Wo Unto the Liar” 1

“But as you just saw,” Eli continued, “lying gets you nowhere in Zion.”

“There’s nothing wrong with an innocent white lie,” Josiah countered.

“Maybe not,” Eli shrugged, “but how do you know?”

“Telling a boss that I got something done on time when it was only a little late is not a problem, for example.”

Eli tipped his head. “It could be. What if your boss did not tell you that if it was late, you would be on the hook for paying the penalty?”

“That would be wrong! I would report him!”

“But it’s just a little white lie, isn’t it? In fact, it’s not even a lie because the boss didn’t tell you anything that was false!”

“That doesn’t matter! He should have told me.”

Eli smiled. “It seems you only care about honesty when people are not honest with you.”

“Well, of course!”

“Then be honest with others. Even when a little white lie won’t matter.”

The train slowed, and Eli stood up.

“But speaking of liars, let’s go deal with one now.”

“Where are we?”

“The fusion research plat.”

Josiah sighed. “Yeah, about that, can you tell me why Zion is laid out in plats?”

“All in good time,” Eli said, “but thank you for letting me know that’s one of your questions.

“Anyway, we need to go into the research facility.”

* * *

The Fusion Research Center was huge. Josiah had thought the Judgment Hall was big, but this was something else.

Samuel seemed to be thinking the same thing. He was staring up at the immensity and then remarked to Eli, “I don’t understand why you earmark so much money for this.”

“Oh, yeah, I had better explain that.”

“You don’t have to explain anything to him!” insisted Josiah. “You’re the chief judge, and he’s a lowly teacher. He’s even your employee!”

Eli sighed. “He may be my employee, but I am also his. In fact, I am an employee of everyone in Zion. Most of all, I am Christ’s employee.

“That is why the government is entirely public, and that is why there are checks and balances on me.

“Christ said that he who is the master of all is the servant of all.2 Why should I be any different?”

Josiah just rolled his eyes and turned away.

“Anyway, yes, Samuel, you are right to be concerned. But if fusion becomes viable, it will not only provide plenty of power, it will provide so much power that we could desalinate all of the water we need, provide extra oxygen, and provide helium.

“In other words, having fusion would solve all of our biggest resource problems. And you know that resource problems could easily wreck Zion.”

“Quite,” Samual said. “But how does it give us those things?”

Josiah tuned out the two older men as they walked through the facility. Everything looked so cool! And there was actually some sound!

Finally, they entered a room, and the people inside looked up.

One jumped to his feet and said, “Ah, Eli! How good to see you! Did you come for a tour? Allow me to…”

“No.” Eli spoke sharply. “You will not have anything to do with this.” He turned to the others in the room and pointed to a woman. “You too. The rest of you, guard them both in the corner.”

“But…” the woman started, but Eli cut her off. “I don’t want to hear it. I just want to see the evidence.”

The others dutifully herded the two into the corner, and Samuel helped.

Josiah noticed that both of them seemed fidgety.

Eli sat down at a workstation and opened his own laptop. “Paul, I’d like your help finding what I’m looking for, please.”

One man joined Eli, and there was quiet murmuring for several minutes. Paul kept pointing to both the workstation and Eli’s laptop.

Eventually, Eli stood up and walked to the corner.

“Director Theman, I see you have four vendors supplying magnets,” he said. “Can I see magnets supplied by each vendor?”

“Er, yes,” stammered the man. “Of course.”

He hesitated, and Eli said, “You can’t show me any magnets supplied by Uan, LLC, can you?”

The director pursed his lips for a long second and then admitted, “No, I can’t.”

“For this theft of public funds, the assets of you and your accomplices will be confiscated.”

The director started. “But I had no accomplices!”

“Besides your accountant, here?” Eli asked, waving a hand at the woman.

“Er, yes.”

“Now you have the crime of lying added to the list. Your cousin is Uan, LLC, who then sent it through five others, where some of it eventually ended up back to you.”

Eli lowered his head and glared. “Or are the bank records lying?”

“Um, I can explain?”

“Unless there are actual magnets, I don’t want to hear it.”

The director fell silent.

“For your crime of lying, I sentence you to death or banishment.”

“And you, Isabel,” Eli said, turning to the woman as the director’s face blanched, “don’t think that you are going to get away with your crimes just because you were more clever about hiding them.”

The woman, who looked like she was about to defend herself, shut her mouth.

“I know for a fact,” Eli said, “that the money you stole was actually used to get real products.

“But paying for overtime caterers should not cost an ounce of gold per person.”

Some of the other people in the room gasped.

“And research should never have overtime! Unless I set any hard target for you.”

“But you did!” the woman snapped.

“Oh? What target? The deadline for the report that was due yesterday?”

“Yes, that!”

“And what did I say needed to be in that report?”

“Our progress and a financial report.”

“Correct. Did I say that you needed to hit certain targets before that report was due, or did I just want a progress report?”

The accountant shifted on her feet.

“So let me get this straight: you got a bigger salary than you should have by playing along with the director’s crimes, and you siphoned money away from research by convincing the director and everyone that there were targets to hit that required overtime, for which you paid your friend, Lena Jerrod, for overtime meals. Did I get that right?”

The woman did not say a word.

“For your lies, you are sentenced to death or banishment, and so is your accomplice. For your thefts, your assets will be confiscated, and so will the assets of your accomplice.”

Eli turned to his assistant. “Be sure to schedule arraignments for all accomplices.”

“Already done.”

“And be sure to publish photos for the director and accountant so that their banishment is public.”

“Already done.”

“Good.” Eli turned to Samuel. “Could you please get a posse to escort these two out of Zion?”

Samuel gave a small nod and started to walk out.

The director was faster. He grabbed Samuel, wrapped an arm around his neck, and jammed a knife into his side. “If you don’t let me go, I’ll kill him!”

“An early resurrection sounds good,” said Samuel coldly.

Shock caused Theman to loosen slightly. It was just enough. Samuel’s elbow wrenched him away, and his hand slammed downward on the director’s knife hand. It dropped, and the director staggered as a firearm appeared.

Samuel held the gun with steely resolve, pointed at the director.

Josiah recognized the look in his eyes, a look that he had only seen a few times. It was the only time he had ever been afraid of his father, and he unconsciously shrank back.

“I was tortured for Zion,” Samuel growled. “I will die for Zion. And I have killed for Zion.”

For one intense moment, nobody moved or breathed. Then the director slowly raised both hands and surrendered.

“You, too,” barked Samuel at the woman, and she did the same.

“On second thought,” Eli said as he carefully walked over and recovered the director’s knife, “I’ll get the posse. You stay here and guard them along with everyone else.”

He looked at his assistant. “Yes, you too, James.” He hesitated.

“Oh, come on, James,” Eli said, putting an encouraging arm around the assistant’s shoulders. “The only weakness you have with firearms is your unwillingness to use them. You’re a crack shot and have sharp and instant judgment when actually handling them. This is the time to use it.”

James nodded and drew his own weapon.

Eli strode away, and Josiah followed.

“You’re really going to banish them? All they did was steal. Isn’t there something in the Law about restoring what was stolen?”

“That’s not all they did, Josiah. They also lied.”

“But is that really so bad that they must die?”

“Absolutely not,” Eli said. “The only crime in the Law that requires death is intentional homicide.3 The punishment is banishment on threat of death. Everyone who receives that sentence has the option of leaving Zion to spare their life.”

“But why?”

Eli stopped, looked at the young man with amazement and quipped, “How is it you can be so arrogant when you are so ignorant? And how can you think you can run a society when you don’t even understand how it works?”