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 12: “Unrighteous Dominion” 1

<Ten months after Josiah returned from his banishment.>

Tap, tap, tap.

Josiah grinned. That sound could only mean one thing: a cane and the man who used it were coming up the stairs.

“Josiah, please come with me.”

“Sure, Dad.”

As they walked out of the house, Josiah breathed in the clean Zion air, and his ears sighed to the still Zion soundscape.

“I can’t believe I hated this before my banishment,” he said. “And now, ten months later, I’m so glad to have it.”

Samuel said, “That’s what a change of heart does. Magical, ain’t it?”

“Yeah. It helps that everywhere else was noisy and polluted.”

“I’m not surprised.” the old man said. “Anyway, Eli told me that today would be a day when you would need to follow him because it’s a perfect day to learn about usury.”

“Oh, cool, I’ve been curious. I mean, why does the Law not just say interest?”

Samuel scowled. “I’ve told you so many times before; it’s frustrating that you don’t remember.”

Josiah said, “Yeah, I know. I’d be frustrated too.”

Samuel looked at him sideways.

“It’s true!” Josiah insisted. “The problem is me. I mean, I was the one who got banished!”

“You may have learned that lesson,” Samuel growled, “and yet, you still don’t seem to want to learn from me.”

“It’s not you, Dad, I promise,” Josiah said. “When Eli talks, he quotes you all the time, and I remember you saying it when he does, even if he doesn’t mention that it came from you. After all, “the Holy Ghost…shall…bring all things to your remembrance,” right?”

“Yes,” the old man grumbled.

“Well,” Josiah said, “because I am the way I am, I need to see those principles in action; otherwise, those lessons do not sink in. What Eli gives me is seeing the Law in action, but once I do, it’s your lessons I remember.”

Samuel stopped and looked at his son for a long moment. Then he nodded and said, “Makes sense.”

The door to the Judgment Hall rumbled open, and Eli strode out, happy as ever.

“Samuel! Josiah! Good to see you both,” he said, shaking their hands. “No need to go in; we’re taking the train.”

So they turned right around.

* * *

“What?” Josiah exclaimed. “We’re going into a bishop’s storehouse? I thought you said we had two cases today? How in the world could there be a case in a bishop’s storehouse?”

“Because,” Eli said, “even bishops can go bad.”

“Why are you judging this case?” Samuel asked. “Isn’t that the perogative of the local judge?”

“It is, but he is in this bishop’s ward, obviously.”

“Okay, but what about all of the other judges in the chain? Aren’t there at least three more?”

“Yes, but unfortunately, he has connections with all of them, and they have recused themselves.”

“Fair enough.”

Eli paused. “Samuel, you are armed, correct? With your sword and firearm?”


“And you, Josiah?”

Josiah smirked. “Absolutely,” he said, fingering the strap for the rifle slung on his back.

Eli turned to his new assistant. “Joseph, no matter what, don’t draw, at least until Samuel does.”

Joseph sulked.

“Goodness,” Eli mused. “James would hardly ever draw, but you’re the exact opposite. I wish I could have you two train together so that you’d rub off on each other.”

Then he pushed the door open.

Almost instantly, the air cracked, and Eli hit the floor visibly bleeding. Joseph was firing over him before he hit the floor, and Samuel was not far behind, but he was also grabbing for Eli and pulling him back.

Josiah broke into a run away, sprinting around the building, leaped for the low overhang, caught it, and pulled himself up. He scrambled to the center of the roof, laid a directed explosive, retreated, and blew it. The blast opened a hole in the roof, and he threw in a flashbang.

“Clear?” he yelled, and Joseph joined his father in pulling Eli away, kicking the door closed as they did. “Clear!”

Josiah threw in a frag grenade, and after the boom, all went quiet.

Josiah dropped off the roof and ran to the others. “Is everyone alright?”

“Yeah,” Eli said. “They just got me in the leg.”

“Anyone else?”

“Nah, they’re terrible shots after the initial one,” Joseph said.

“Now you know why I told you to have your armor today,” said Samuel.

Josiah nodded, pursing his lips. “We need to get out of here before they recover.”

He grabbed Eli’s arm and lifted him over his shoulder before starting into a jog.

* * *

Once they were safely back at the hospital near the Judgment Hall, Eli turned to Samuel. “Can you and Joseph call in the militia? Don’t use anyone from that area.”

“Yes,” and they both left.

“Okay, so bishops go bad, but that was bad,” Josiah quipped.

“Yes,” Eli said, groaning. “That’s why D&C 121:39 says,

…it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

D&C 121:39

“Don’t move,” the doctor ordered. “But bend your leg.”

Eli complied. “See, God wants to exalt us, yes?”

“Yes,” Josiah replied.

“That means He will give us all power. But before He can do that, He needs to give us small power to see if we will use it righteously.

“If we cannot, He cannot give us more. ‘Hence, many are called, but few are chosen,’ where ‘chosen’ means being exalted.”

He sighed. “Well, this bishop failed the test.”

“And now he will be banished along with his cronies.”

“No, killed. They planned and attempted murder. So your father will go in and wipe them out.”

Josiah felt a small twinge. “I know Dad is okay with dying…”

“Yeah, he certainly wants resurrection to get rid of the cane and the eyepatch,” Eli laughed.

“…but they’re not going to do anything stupid, right?”

“Nah, they’ll just have the militia gas out the building. Or blow it up.”

“What if they escape? My frag grenade might not have gotten everyone.”

“We’ll just get a list of people who are missing and make them wanted. And we’ll hunt them. Zion must eject people like that.

“Oh yeah. We talked about that.

Eli adjusted himself, and the doctor snapped, “Don’t move!”

He froze.

“But what about yourself?” Josiah asked. “You basically have all power here in Zion, yet you obey this doctor here.”

She glared at him.

Eli said, “You forgot that we already talked about that.”

“Was that before my banishment?”

Eli nodded.

Josiah said, “Let’s please do it over again. I’m listening now.”

“Okay,” Eli said. “Do you remember what I said about your father having power?”

“It was because of influence, right? Like, people trust him?”

“Yes, exactly. And that’s the kind of power you want to build.

“But sometimes power comes from position, like chief judge, or bishop. And in those cases, the power is a stewardship from God. In fact, every job in Zion has some stewardship power.”

He gestured to the doctor. “She has full power over my treatment, so when she tells me to not move, I don’t move.”

“Don’t move!”

Eli put his hand down sheepishly. “Anyway, she has that power, and that means that I do not! Even though I am chief judge, my stewardship does not overlap with anyone else’s. Where their stewardships begin, mine ends.

“Well, more accurately, everyone has their own stewardship, and where their stewardships end, mine begins; it covers everything else that no one has stewardship over. That’s why people consider the chief judge as the most powerful in Zion, because I have lots of little powers, but they don’t realize that it just means I get the scraps of power.

“And on top of that, I don’t automatically get power over everything else because lower judges get that power first; I am the last person who receives power if no one else can, or if they defer to me.

“So I obey this doctor because she has power over my leg right now, and I do not. And if I tried to exercise that power, that would be unrighteous dominion.”

“Okay, I think I get it,” Josiah said. “But why are they called ‘stewardships’?”

“In ancient times,” Eli began, “a steward was a servant who the master entrusted with essentially the same power that the master himself had, at least over certain things. Joseph of Egypt was one such steward, both for Potiphar and Pharaoh.

“Of course, stewards were expected to exercise that power in the way that the master would have, or better. Since our Master is Jesus Christ, we can’t do any better, but He does expect us to do our best.

“So they are called stewardships because in reality, we don’t have the actual power yet; Christ gives it to us, for a time, and we must manage our stewardships with as much care as we can. Failing to do that is also unrighteous dominion.”

“But,” Josiah asked, “why don’t people just try to magnify their stewardships? For example, if I am the owner of a store, why don’t I try to get a monopoly? That would surely be good for my stewardship, right?”

“That’s a good question,” Eli said as the doctor stood and left. “And the answer is that by doing so, you are ruining another part of Christ’s Zion.

“Yes, you have your stewardship, but it’s only a part of Zion, and everything in Zion is the Savior’s. This means that if you magnify your stewardship at the expense of another’s, chances are that you could be harming Zion overall, and since Zion is not yours, but your Master’s, you are harming Him.

“So stepping out of our bounds is unrighteous dominion, exercising power in our stewardships poorly is unrighteous dominion, and exercising power to harm the stewardships of others is unrighteous dominion. We must not do those things.

“This is the essence of the oath and covenant of the priesthood.”