Thomas Part 3

Thomas Part 1

Thomas Part 2

Thomas continued to perfect his skills with his bow and arrows. He entered competitions that his city sponsored and always won. He went to other cities and usually won their competitions as well. David continued to make new and larger bows and arrows as Thomas outgrew them; Thomas even began to learn to make his own. Although he did well in competitions, Thomas especially enjoyed hunting with David and his grandfather, Neka. Other people in his village would generously pay him to hunt food for them.

From a young age, Thomas worked with David and his grandfather in the woodshop. Like his father and grandfather, he too had an innate gift for working with wood. He made beautiful bows for others and himself, but his passion was carving animals. Even at a young age, Thomas‘s carvings were highly sought after. When they went to other cities for athletic events, he would bring several wood carvings to sell in the local markets.

When Thomas was about 14-years old, he entered a competition in a neighboring city. On this trip, both David and Mary accompanied Thomas (usually just David went) and lodged with some of Mary’s distant relatives. One of the daughters of the relative was a beautiful 13-year old girl, Nara. She had long, thick light colored hair with deep blue eyes. Thomas became immediately smitten. Although they were too young to be betrothed, Thomas knew that he deeply desired this beautiful girl to someday be his wife.

The family enjoyed their stay in the city. Of course, Thomas won the bow and arrow competition and also did well in other athletic competitions. Nara, also smitten with Thomas enjoyed watching him perform, and found his 14-year old body attractive, and dreamt of what he would look like in a few short years.

Thomas and Nara spent time together exploring the woods and creek nearby Nara’s home. Thomas again, showed off his shooting skills when he spotted a large wild turkey. He quietly nocked his arrow, carefully and quietly aimed, then let the arrow go. The arrow went directly into the turkey’s heart, killing it instantly. Nara smiled admiringly, as she loved turkey and loved watching Thomas show off. Thomas proudly carried the prize turkey home to be cooked for the next day’s evening meal. Of course, the families were pleased with the catch and enjoyed the meat.

Thomas continued to sharpen his shooting skills along with his other athletic skills and contended well in each of the competitions he entered. He became well-known and well-respected for his strengths and skills. He also was well-known for his animal carvings as he brought carvings whenever he traveled. He always enjoyed traveling to the city where Nara lived! He loved spending time with her and looked forward to their future together!

After meeting and falling in love with Nara, Thomas wondered if he could carve a person. He asked Neka to show him how to carve a person knowing that he really wanted to carve an image of Nara. Neka gave him a softer piece of wood to practice on, then carefully demonstrated to Thomas how to carve faces, hair, curves, arms and legs. Thomas meticulously followed Neka’s instructions the best he could. His first carving was adequate, but he was determined to do better. Neka gave Thomas additional practice pieces of wood, additional demonstrations, and Thomas continue to patiently practice until he perfected the image of a young girl. Now, it was time to create a carving of Nara.

When Thomas was 17 years old, he thought it was time to finally ask Nara to marry him. Both sets of parents were pleased with the relationship and encouraged it to continue. Thomas, along with his parents, traveled to Nara’s home. Thomas placed the wood carving of Nara in a golden colored linen bag that he planned to give to her when he asked her to marry him. He was excited, yet nervous. David and Mary were excited to have Nara as part of their family and especially at the thought of having grandchildren!

Once they arrived at Nara’s home, Thomas took Nara’s hand to go on a walk, carrying the linen bag that contained the wood carving. They talked and laughed as they strolled to their favorite place in the woods by a small gurgling creek. The sky was crystal clear blue, the sun was past its apex and heading towards the horizon. Colorful wildflowers covered the landscape, birds were melodiously singing, and the frogs were cheerfully chirping. The peaceful setting could not have been more perfect.

Thomas handed Nara the golden linen bag and asked her to open it. She was excited to receive a gift from Thomas, knowing how skilled he was with wood. He had given her several different carved animals and she loved each one of them. Not only was his workmanship exquisite, but knowing that the animal images were carved with love, love for her, caused her to completely cherish his gifts.

Nara expected another carved animal so when she took the carving out of the bag, she was stunned that it was a carving of her! The carving was made from a hard deciduous wood and portrayed her sitting on a log, head bowed and hands clasped as if in prayer. It measured about 6 inches long, 6 inches high and around 3 inches deep. And, was exquisite! Thomas informed her that shortly after they first met, he saw her sitting the way he depicted her in the carving.

He told her that not only was she beautiful on the outside, she also radiated beauty from within. He then tenderly expressed to her that he wanted to be with her forever, he loved her, adored her, never wanted to be without her, and then asked her if she would be his wife forever.

Nara, thrilled for the carving and ecstatic over the proposal eagerly said yes and gave Thomas a long, passionate kiss. They sat and hugged, laughed, kissed, and dreamed about their future. They dreamed of their home, children, occupations, and of spending their life and eternity together.

After a time, the sun was about to set below the horizon so they decided that they needed to go back to Nara’s home. They held hands, feeling full of promise for their future together, dreaming together as they walked.

As soon as Nara’s father saw them walking toward the house, he quickly ran to Nara’s side, put his arm around her and looked down at his precious daughter with a great big smile! Nara smiled back at her loving father and gave him a big hug as tears began to flow down her cheeks. When they reach Nara’s home, they found their parents and Nara’s siblings eagerly waiting outside for their return. Nara’s younger brother, Noah, hungry and confused at why Nara was crying ran to her and put his arms around her legs to try to comfort her. Nara hugged Noah and informed him that she was crying happy tears. Noah, feeling relieved then stated in a loud, impatient voice that it was way past time to eat; the evening meal was all prepared and ready to eat! Everyone laughed! All of Nara’s siblings were hungry and anxiously awaiting Thomas’s and Nara’s return so they could eat.

Thomas asked Noah if they could wait just a couple more minutes before eating. Noah begrudgingly agreed, but to hurry; he was so hungry that he could eat an entire deer all by himself! Thomas chuckled, tussled his hair, then hoisted him up and set him on his shoulders.

Thomas, hanging on to Noah with one hand and holding Nara’s hand with his other hand, announced that they were now betrothed and planned to marry as soon as it would be practical. Nara took the carving out of the linen bag to show everyone. They all loved the carving and how Thomas so thoughtfully and exquisitely portrayed Nara in prayer.

Noah, feeling stuck on Thomas’s shoulders, squirmed down and gave him a big hug!! Because he had many sisters, proclaimed that he was thrilled to get another brother! Then, emphatically and impatiently announced to everyone that it was time to eat! Laughter erupted as everyone agreed with him! The mothers hugged Thomas and Nara then left to put all the food on the eating table. The fathers then congratulated them and ushered everyone into the eating room for the long-awaited celebratory evening meal.

(To be continued…)

 

 

 

Esrom Part 3

Esrom Part 1

Esrom Part 2

After my passionate speech and the room filling with the peaceful assurance that it was time for us to escape our captivity, we sat in silent contemplation for several moments. Finally, my mother broke the silence and said one word, “How?”

I think that was the question each of us pondered during the silence. Jared had many people who, for whatever reason, followed him and would do just about anything to help him. He had more guards than were necessary to assure we accomplished our tasks. We rarely had time to ourselves when we were not being watched.

How would we obtain weapons? How would we communicate our desires to others? How would we convince the people that it was time to free ourselves from captivity? How would we train for battle?

My father directed each of us in the room to go to our homes and to pray for a solution then we would meet again in three nights at sunset. He also sternly told us not to inform anyone of our thoughts until we had a basic plan.

Coriantumr expressed concern about what the guards would think if the same people met here again in three days, since the same guards worked at the same times and in the same places. The healer, Calia, recommended that we pray and ponder for the next three days, and bring any inspiration that we might obtain to her or to my Father.

Calia was one of the oldest members of our community and well respected by my parents and all who knew her. She was considered a prophetess as she seemed to have a direct line or conduit to God; my father often consulted her with important decisions. Her husband was killed by Jared’s guards during captivity as he was not physically able to meet the demands of his assigned task. Although he did his best to complete his tasks, he moved slower than the guards thought he should move, so they whipped him until he died. Calia was truly a gifted healer as she seemed to know exactly which herbs and other treatments were needed. In fact, several times Jared requested her services, even offering her a room in the palace but she would not stay there, desiring to be with her people.

Before everyone departed, Coriantumr quietly mentioned that he had been having dreams about a way to fight enemies using only the body, especially arms and legs. I quickly stood up and enthusiastically commented that I had similar dreams. Without saying anything else, Coriantumr, who was taller and much stronger than me, stood up, walked over to me as if he was about to attack me. I grabbed his arm, circled my leg around and pushed my foot into his chest and threw him down to the ground. It was amazing! I had never before thrown my brother to the ground! And believe me, I tried many times. My mother looked at us in astonishment, knowing how many times I tried to take down Coriantumr and I seemed to have just done that with ease. We suddenly felt an assuring peace and comfort knowing that we were being guided by the Lord to defeat Jared and his armies.

My father dismissed everyone and we all had a new anticipated hope that a way would be provided for our people to finally have our God-given freedoms again.

Coriantumr and I eagerly discussed what we envisioned in our dreams, what we saw, and how we would be able to teach others what we learned. We started doing the different moves that we dreamt about. Our parents were intrigued with what they saw. We were amazed at how easily we were able to convert our dreams into skill. My father suggested that we create a plan to teach others the techniques and create scenarios to practice and master them. The teaching and training would need to be done in secret as we did not want Jared’s guards to know what we were doing.

Coriantumr and I stayed up half the night recalling every possible move that we could from our dreams. We accidentally woke up my mother who reminded us that we really did need to get some sleep because we still had our chores to do the next day. Sleep came slow as my mind continued to race, trying to remember what I had been taught in my dreams.

After waking up the next morning, Coriantumr and I continued to recall and rehearse what we learned in our dreams. We ate our morning meal and unfortunately had to leave to do our daily responsibilities but we went with a new energy and a new hope for a new life.

After our workday was finished, my sisters’ husbands, Len and Daniel, came to our house excited to learn our new method of fighting. Even though they were somewhat underweight because of living in captivity, they were both still large and muscular. They were impressed at how I was able to easily take down Coriantumr when I had never been able to do it before. Coriantumr appreciated the chance to train with Len and Daniel because we needed to develop a method to train others. This would give us experience before we showed others this method.

Coriantumr, being older, larger, and stronger than me, took charge of the training. I gladly watched him as he had an innate gift of leadership and teaching. I was also blessed with those gifts, but despite our brotherly mischievousness and competitiveness, I naturally wanted to learn from him.

Coriantumr started with what we thought were the basic moves. We really did not know what we were doing, we were just trying to duplicate what we imagined in our dreams. Surprisingly, the training did not go well. We did not understand why, Coriantumr and I argued, Len and Daniel seemed not to be coordinated enough to master the basic moves; which was odd since they both were strong and athletic. My mother, observing this, suggested that we take time to pray for additional help and guidance. She strongly believed that we were missing an important step or instruction.

We prayed and listened for guidance. Nothing came. We prayed again. Our father prayed with us. Still nothing. What were we missing? Len and Daniel finally left to be with their families. Coriantumr and I talked with our parents. We had felt so hopeful that what we learned from our dreams were answers to our prayers to escape captivity. My father wisely suggested that maybe there was something missing from our dreams that we did not recognize or we had not dreamt yet.

We carefully went through our dreams the best we could. We rehearsed moves that we saw. We sparred with each other using moves we dreamt about. Something was still missing. We went to bed with the hopes that the missing piece would be revealed to us.

(To be continued…)

Esrom Part 2

Esrom Part 1

After talking a bit about the possibility of planning an escape, my father reported his conversation with Jared about hid guards and what just about happened with my mother. Actually, Father was not able to talk to Jared himself; apparently he was too busy to see his own father. So, he spoke with one of Jared’s ministers, one who oversaw the guards assigned to those of us in captivity. The minister laughed at my father. Then, as he saw the anger and disgust in my father’s eyes, he looked down, stopped his laughter and informed my father that he could not control all his guards, despite the agreement. My father could see in the minister’s eyes greedy lustfulness and a hint of pride for the guards who almost had their way with my mother.

The minister loosely assured my father that he would talk to the guards. My father did not trust his assurance and firmly informed him that if there were any other infractions by the guards, he would demand to discuss the issue with Jared.

After the unsuccessful conversation with Jared’s minister, my father felt that he needed to inform all in captivity to never leave women and girls alone. He sensed that would not be the last assault on our people. In fact, he wondered if the minister would slyly give permission to the guards to increase the torment our people. That was a major factor in my father agreeing that it was time to escape our captivity.

We spent some time talking about different ways to escape our captivity, none of which sounded good or right. My father decided that we needed to have a council with some of his most trusted advisors. He emphasized to us that we could not yet talk to anyone about wanting to make plans to escape. He realized that even though there were several hundred of us in captivity and we all wanted to be free, there may be a few who would not be trustworthy and would tell Jared’s guards about our plans.

We all agreed with my father, but everyone turned and looked at me with daring looks in their eyes. I wondered why the looks; after all, I was the one who was most determined to free us from captivity. My sister’s husband playfully rubbed his hand on my head, messing up my already messed up hair, and reminded me of some of my youthful foibles. I knew that I tended to become overly dramatic, energetic, and sometimes a bit reckless. They all laughed as I was pretty confident that they remembered some of my childishness pranks.

I assured my family that not one of them would be more committed to our escape than I would be. I understood that this was a seriously large responsibility and I would carefully keep our confidences.

The next day we arose early as the sun crested over the horizon. My mother still did not feel well but no one was willing to let her stay home alone; still feeling traumatized from the previous day’s events. My father decided that he would stay with her so we divided up his tasks, as well as mother’s tasks, and went about our day.

My father asked me, Coriantumr, my sisters and their husbands that if they saw a few certain individuals, men and women that my father implicitly trusted, to discretely invite them to come to our home that evening after the sun set. We were not to tell these individuals the purpose of the invitation except that my father wanted to have an informal get-together.

Although my mother continued to suffer considerable trauma from the previous day, my heart felt surprisingly light as I contemplated various ways we could escape our captivity. In fact, my heart felt so light that I began my crazy antics while hoeing weeds in the fields. Without thinking, I began to hoe with exaggerated motions, spewing up dirt everywhere and to everyone around me. I started singing at the top of my lungs, nonsensical songs that I created on the spot. It was all in fun; however, my sister’s husband yelled from across the field to remind me to settle down. I grinned at him, bowed in an elaborate and exaggerated manner, and put my finger to my mouth to signify to him that I remembered that I need to stay calm. Everyone around me, even those covered with dirt, laughed as they knew I could be quite playful at times. Actually, I believe, or want to believe, that many enjoy my playful antics; they made people smile, laugh, and momentarily forget the drudgery of our captive work.

We contacted those my father requested to contact. At sundown, two trusted advisors to my father, a healer, Coriantumr, Len, my other sister’s husband Daniel, my sisters Deborah and Neria, gathered in our small home. I have other brothers and sisters and their families that my father wanted to come, but he also knew that too many people at our house at one time would raise suspicions among the guards.

Being the righteous and God-fearing man that my father is, he started the meeting with a heart-felt prayer, pleading to God for help in our deliverance out of captivity. He recounted the experience with my mother and pled for protection for our people. After his prayer, a sense of extraordinary peace and calmness came over us. We felt the power of my father’s prayer and the power of God imparting his peace unto us.

The first topic that my father brought up was for those in the group to quietly inform everyone else to never leave women, girls, and children alone. He recounted his meeting with Jared’s minister and his feelings that the minister and Jared would not honestly honor the agreement to leave our women alone. My father desired to keep everyone as safe as possible.

We already had an effective communication system in place to quickly get messages to all our people. After discussing the merits of using that system to communicate this message, we decided to go ahead and use it. Daniel brought up that he believed that some of our people may be spies for Jared and his people. My father agreed with him but felt that this message was important to get out through our normal system. However, we would need to discover those among us who may be spying for Jared or may be defecting to his side.

My father next brought up the topic of our possible escape. He recalled his feeling of what happened to my mother the previous day and his concern that the abuse would get worse. Those who were not with us the previous day were quite surprised that my father would bring this topic up. I decided to speak up; even though I was the youngest of the group, I had their attention.

With passion, I courageously expressed to this group that I wanted to help my father regain his rightful place on his throne. I reminded them that all I had known was captivity and I was ready to become the person God intended me to become, not just some shabby, submissive slave. We all felt the power of God come into the room and the sweet whisperings of the spirit telling us that it was time to escape the chains of captivity that held us prisoners for years.

(To be continued…)

 

Thomas Part 2

Thomas Part 1

Thomas was quite the social and adventurous young boy. Because he was an only child, he spent much of his free time with cousins and friends, especially with group of five other boys, all of whom were within a year of Thomas’s age. Three of the five boys were cousins, sons of David’s siblings, and two were friends who lived close by.

This group of six boys were well-known throughout their community. For the most part, they were good boys. Their parents taught their families well, but they were still boys, trying to have some adventurous fun.

One day when Thomas was about ten years old, on a picture perfect late summer day, two of his cousins Elad and Aaron, and Thomas were playing with their rubber balls. They had completed their chores for the day and wanted to enjoy the cooling temperatures before the sun completely set.

The balls they played with were made of a type of rubber. Rubber artisans used rubber for various different purposes, including making toy balls for children and adults. The balls were light weight and came in various sizes. Most of the balls were a charcoal gray color, but colored dyes were added to some of the balls creating various colors. The process to add dyes to the rubber was extensive, so not many balls were colored. The balls were bouncy and could keep a young child entertained for quite a while.

Children used the rubber balls to play catch, to hit with sticks (somewhat similar to baseball), and some of the more rambunctious boys would play a type of dodge ball game, or just throw the balls at each other. Sometimes they would split up into two teams and play a type of war game. Depending on how hard a ball was thrown would depend on if one was hurt by the ball. Even the hardest thrown ball would usually only cause a minor bruise. The children, especially most of the boys, did not mind the occasional bruise; usually the entertainment they enjoyed out-weighed the slight pain of a bruise.

Older children and adults used the rubber balls for various games they created. One game they played was similar to basketball. The game was played outdoors on a large field. There were round hoops on each end of the field. Two teams competed against each other, trying to get the ball in their hoop. The hoops were vertical rather than horizontal.

While rambunctiously playing with the rubber balls, suddenly Thomas took the ball from Elad. Elad immediately began chasing Thomas. Being very quick and agile, Thomas sprinted away from Elad. However, Elad was almost as athletic as Thomas was, so could keep up with him. Thomas, knowing that Elad was close behind him, ran down stairs to an underground storage room where they stored food, especially food for the cold season. Normally, the door would be closed, but happened to be open at that moment. Aaron followed after them.

Elad was close behind. Thomas hid behind one of the large ceramic vases that just filled with summer grain about two weeks previous. The vase was about four feet tall and about 18 inches in diameter at its widest point. It was beautifully decorated with artwork of some of Mary’s favorite flowers. It was a large vase, with a tight lid, and held enough grain to last about one to two months of the cold season. Elad and Thomas circled around the large vase, somewhat careful not to disturb the other vases that held food while Aaron stood by, warning them to be careful around the storage vases. As Elad was about to grab Thomas, Thomas, trying to get away, tipped the large vase over. There was a big thud sound followed by the breaking of the ceramic vase. Grain and shards of pottery scattered everywhere.

Mary, hearing the crash, hurried down to the storage room to see what happened. As she entered the room, she saw the grain mixed with various sizes of ceramic shards and Thomas, Elad, and Aaron scurrying to pick up the shards. Thomas, seeing Mary, went to her, hugged her and told her how sorry he was for breaking the vase. He knew how important the vase was to her and especially how important the grain was to the family. He had even helped harvest the grain and put it in the vase.

Mary first asked if the boys were hurt in anyway. Then she proceeded to sternly remind them the importance of the grain for food during the cold season. She instructed them pick out all the shards, place them in a pile, put the grain into linen-type bags, and then find her when they thought they were done. Mary left the storage room, still feeling quite angry, but decided to leave the situation and let her anger abate.

There were so many shards! Thankfully, most of them were larger pieces that were easy to pick up. They struggled to find all the small pieces. Thomas did not want those in his food and his mother sternly told him to find and remove every single piece.

After about one hour, Mary went back to the storage room to see how they were doing. They looked quite down and discouraged as it took a lot of careful detail to separate the shards from the grain and it was getting dark as the sun was setting. That was hard work for 10-year old boys who would rather be playing and doing something else. With the help from their friends, they were more than half-way done. Mary brought in a couple of torch lights and spent some time helping them. In fact, she was able to get more done in about 15 minutes then the boys could get done in an hour.

Mary desperately wanted to lecture the boys, but decided against it. She felt that the tedious picking out all the shards from the grain would be a powerful lesson in and of itself.

After about another one-half hour, Mary supposed that most all the shards were picked out of the grain. They would need to be extra careful when they used that grain during the cold season to check for any remaining shards.

When Thomas returned to the house, David was there, returned from a long day at the woodshop and already had heard from Mary about the evening’s events. He informed Thomas that he would need to work to purchase a new vase. Thomas felt extremely discouraged as he knew that the vase was one of his mother’s favorites, that it was made especially for her, and was expensive. David reminded Thomas the importance of making amends for poor choices and purchasing a new vase for his mother would be the right thing to do.

Later that evening while David, Mary, and Thomas enjoyed family time, Elad and his parents came over to discuss the day’s incident. Elad, with the prompting of his parent, apologized to Mary and David for his part in breaking the vase and informed Thomas that he would help purchase a new vase. They discussed different ideas of what they could do to earn a fair exchange for a new vase.

The following day, Thomas, Elad, Mary, and Elad’s mother walked to the marketplace and found the pottery artisan, Pezi, from whom Mary purchased the original vase. Thomas sheepishly explained what happened to Pezi and that he needed to place an order for a new vase. With Mary filling in the details, he gave Pezi all the necessary information. Pezi, who was once a energetic boy like Thomas, told him and Elad that they could work in his workshop to help pay for the new vase. After hearing this news, they both excitedly looked at their mothers for approval. They were thrilled as the vendor was a favorite distant relative of theirs.

Mary and Elad’s mother told them that they could work for Pezi as long as they completed their daily and weekly chores. They arranged times that they would go and work with Pezi. Pezi could only smile at the young boys, remembering similar situations in his youth.

Thomas and Elad, and occasionally Aaron worked for Pezi for several weeks. They learned the fine art of pottery making and helped make the new vase for Mary. She actually loved the new vase more than the previous one as Thomas put some of his own love and energy into it and it taught the boys many life-long lessons.

Esrom Part 1

Esrom May 8, 2018

My name is Esrom and I am the son of the King Omer and his wife Cass. I was born in captivity under the rule of my older brother Jared.

Life in captivity was the only life that I knew. As a child, I felt a lot of love from my parents so it appeared that my childhood was pretty good. I had siblings to play with, and occasionally fight with. I had cousins and friends to hang out with. We had enough food, although, some days there was not as much food and I went to bed feeling hungry.

We worked hard. Even as a young child, I went with my parents to work in the fields, weeding, hoeing, and whatever else my small hands could do. All my siblings and friends worked hard, we all had our assignments, all to support my brother and his lavish lifestyle. Some watched the flocks and herds, only to have most of the young animals taken from to support Jared. Some of my friends learned woodworking skills, art, granite works, metal works, and various other skills. Some of the women cared for the smallest children while the other mothers worked. All of this was to sustain Jared and his insatiable, lavish lifestyle.

I never properly met my brother Jared as I was born in captivity and he no longer spoke to our parents. I often saw him as he and his guards would saunter through our settlement inspecting our work, often demanding more from us. He never acknowledged me, although I looked almost exactly like him. I am confident that he knew I was his brother.

Although life was difficult, we were greatly blessed and we prospered because we kept the commandments of God to the best of our abilities, considering we lived in captivity. We found joy as we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, who we knew was yet to come.

One beautiful spring day when I was about 12-years old, my mother felt sick, so a couple of my sisters and their families divided her tasks among ourselves so all my mother’s duties would be covered. One of my sisters watched extra children so another sister could do my mother’s job. Unfortunately, sickness was not an excuse not to work.

The healer came and brought herbs and used energy from her hands to help her heal. After the healer left, my mother quietly rested alone while the rest of us went to our assigned tasks.

Later in the day, I had an powerful foreboding feeling come over me, a feeling I could not ignore. I knew something was terribly wrong with my mother; I felt strongly that I needed to run home right then. I dropped the tool that I was using to weeding out in the wheat field) and sprinted to my house. On the way, I saw my sister’s husband, Len, and commanded him to come with me. He felt my urgency and did not hesitate; together we rushed to my home.

When Len and I reached my house, my father, brother, and another one of my sister’s husband all arrived at the same time. We were all out of breath as all felt an urgency to rush into the house. As we swung the door open, two of Jared’s guards were about to defile my mother.

The guards, completing their daily rounds, came into the house checking to make sure everyone was out doing their assigned chores and found my mother there. She told them that she was sick and her assignments were covered. Despite an agreement that my father made with Jared that his guards were to leave our women alone, these two guards chose to ignore that agreement and follow the desires of their lusting, and the prize of defiling the captive king’s wife.

My mother’s hands were tied and a cloth was stuck into her mouth preventing her from screaming out. Even though the guards were armed, there were five of us to face them. Even though my father was getting old, he was still very strong. So were my brothers and my sisters’ husbands. I was the smallest in the group, but was still large and muscular for my age.

My father sternly ordered the guards to get away from his wife and leave his house. He assured the guards that he would inform Jared that they broke the agreement. My brother, Coriantumr, ran to my mother, untied and ungagged her. She broke down in tears and hugged him.

The guards quickly departed. They had no remorse in their eyes or their speech as they bragged to each other about how they almost had their way with the captive queen. They planned to brag to other soldiers of what happened.

My father ran to comfort my mother. She was crying and shaking from the terror and trauma of what so nearly happened to her. My father asked us to stay with his wife while he departed to talk to Jared.

Two of my sisters, hearing the commotion at our house, came running in, finding our father comforting our crying mother. We rehearsed what had happened and assured them that everything was alright.

After this incident, I was determined to free us from captivity. It was not right that my father, the rightful king, was treated as a slave and his beautiful wife was almost defiled to satisfy someone’s lustful desire. I knew that we were blessed living in captivity, as was demonstrated by how many of us were inspired to run and save my mother, but seeing my mother tied, gagged, and almost defiled instilled the desire in me to put my father back on the throne where he rightfully belonged.

Even though I was the youngest of those who were at the house, I told my family that I wanted to fight Jared and free us from this captive state that we were in. I expected Coriantumr and the others to take me as a fool for such a rash idea, but surprising to me, Coriantumr completely agreed with me and so did my sisters’ husbands. Once my father returned, he likewise agreed that it was time to begin planning for our escape and the overthrow of Jared’s government.

(To be continued…)

 

 

Cass, Omer’s Wife

I grew up in a strong family who believed in Jesus Christ and his coming. I am a descendant of the Brother of Jared, Mohonri Moriacumr, and heard all the stories that were passed down from generation to generation. Not only were they passed down verbally, but they were written on plates and the type of paper that we used. We were not allowed to read his vision of the future, but we knew that he saw the future until the end of the world.

After Mohonri died, as a spirit, he continued to visit many of his posterity, including me. He gave me strength and courage. He knew the problems with my son Jared. He was one of the angels that came to me and gave me comfort and helped me to understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how that would heal my broken heart and make all things right.

Jared, as a young child and in his early teen years, was an amazing son. Even while he was still inside of me, I felt his strong, valiant spirit. I felt that he would have power to be very influential. Of course, I thought that maybe he would be a prophet or the next king.

Jared grew up having a solid testimony of Jesus Christ and His plan. He felt the Holy Spirit as a young boy and knew about Jesus Christ, and knew Jesus would come. He helped many of his friends choose to follow the prophets and Jesus Christ.

Apparently the adversary also knew of Jared’s power and ability to influence people. It started slowly when Jared was about 15 years old. Jared stayed strong for a long time, but finally a couple of his friends, whom he had helped develop testimonies of Christ, began to persuade him to obtain riches. The sad thing is, Jared didn’t need riches. He didn’t need to obtain them in any bad way. Because of who he was, he was successful at everything that he did and would have had more than enough riches for what he needed and wanted. He could have been king, without the negative influences. He didn’t need any of that! But, he got caught up in the power, in greed. It took time, it didn’t happen all at once, in fact, it took a couple years. It was as if he were slowly poisoned. His attitude towards Omer and me gradually disintegrated. Jared became more and more disrespectful as he desired greater power and gained prodigious power. And, he took a couple of my children with him!

My heart just about broke in two when Jared gathered together an army and took Omer and me into captivity, along with many of our followers. I missed my son! I missed my grandchildren. I hated who they became. I couldn’t believe that my dear, sweet son could become so power-hungry and treat his family, and others, with complete disrespect.

We did find some peace while in captivity because we remained true and faithful to the covenants that we made, but it was a difficult time. We had to give much of our increase to Jared and those that ruled with him. Our needs were met, only because the Lord multiplied what we were able to retain.

We prayed mightily during this time. I became personally acquainted with Heavenly Father and even Heavenly Mother as she mourned with me. We all developed deep relationships with our God and Savior. We were visited daily by angels who brought us peace and joy. I enjoyed the grandchildren that were with us. We prayed multiple times a day for Jared and his family, with the hope that they would come back to the knowledge of Christ.

My dear sons who were born in captivity, Esrom and Coriantumr, and some of our sons-in-law were able to gather enough people to raise an army to fight against Jared. They did this in secret as Jared had guards over us continually. They recruited others who were unhappy with Jared and wanted Omer to regain his throne.

As it states in Ether 8, they were able to slay Jared’s army, but Jared begged for his life, promising to give the kingdom back to Omer. What a happy day that was! I was so hopeful that Jared would return to Christ, but it was not to be so.

As told in my dear husband’s story, Jared brought forth the evil plan revealed by the adversary. When Omer told me about his dream that we needed to depart immediately, I wept. How I wept. My son! How much more depraved could he get that he would desire the life of his own father. The father that cared for him as a baby, the father that took him hunting, to visit other cities, the father that taught him about Jesus Christ, the father that loved him more than any person could love him (except for me, of course).

We quickly gathered what we would need in a new settlement, gathered our flocks and herds, and left under the cover of darkness. I know that God was with us and His angels protected us.

Although I greatly missed our home, we flourished in our new city. I loved living near the seashore. I would go out to the beach, look over the vast waters and pray to God that Jared would come back to us, to Him. Although I prayed daily for Jared, deep down in my heart, I knew that would not happen.

When the news came that Akish had our son killed, I was heartbroken. I could not be consoled. I went out to the beach to pour my heart out to God. Actually, I wanted to blame Him. I wanted to be angry at Him because of our dear son. Mohonri came to me, as he had before. He comforted me. He reminded me that our Heavenly Parents wept with me. He opened a vision to me of our Heavenly Mother weeping at the loss of my son, Her son. I was amazed and humbled. He reminded me that Jesus Christ would come and make all things right. He opened another vision to me, that of Jesus suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. I was not shown much; my heart could not take witnessing anymore of what Jesus would go through for us. What I witnessed was greater than I could comprehend and tore my aching heart into pieces. Then, I saw Jesus; He took my heart and put it back together and strengthened it. I had a new heart! A heart where I could show greater love, even to my son who was now dead, and my grandchildren; those who were corrupted by the evil doings of my son.

After the visions, I ran back to my home, found Omer and told him all that I saw. We hugged and we cried. We were blessed with a new found faith that sustained us the rest of our days.

The time came when we were able to return to our home. I had mixed feelings as I grew to love our city in Ablom. In fact, many of my children and our friends decided to stay. I knew I would miss the great sea and all the marvelous experiences I had sitting along the shore. However, it was time to return and once again establish our kingdom, God’s kingdom.

 

Omer

I am Omer, a righteous Jaredite king. I loved God and Jesus Christ. I worked hard for my people. With my wife, Cass, we had several children, most of whom followed after the teaching of my fathers. However, Jared chose a different path, one that proved destructive to my people.

It broke my heart that my dear son Jared turned to wickedness and made known the secret combinations that were to remain hidden. I can’t even begin to tell you how my heart grieved. I taught my children the ways of Christ. I prophesied to them. I taught them the plan of salvation and the commandments to lead them to happiness. I set the example for them. I was a good king. I worked for my food so I did not require taxing the people. I did have servants who helped me, but I compensated them well. I did not pay them with taxed money, I paid them with what I earned. God abundantly blessed me so I could be a righteous king.

When Jared was born, I was thrilled to have another son. He was a strong, healthy baby. I sang to him, rocked him, held him when he cried. I held Jared’s hand when he took his first steps. I taught him about the coming of Jesus Christ and how He would redeem the world. I loved all my children like this; even though I was the king, I was very involved with my children.

I do not know or completely understand what happened to Jared that he transformed to become so evil. He was a such good and helpful boy. He was strong and curious. He was tall and well-built for his age, as both his mother and I were tall. He demonstrated outstanding leadership skills, even as a child. He learned quickly, things of the earth, and heavenly things. He was very handsome, he looked so much like his mother. He attracted a lot of attention from the girls! Even as a young child, he was a strong and compassionate leader. I could easily picture Jared as the next king.

When Jared was in his late-teen years, a couple of his closest friends turned away from the teaching of their parents and the prophets. They began questioning the doctrines taught to them while growing up. They sought Jared because they knew of his leadership skills and his ability to influence people.

I believe these friends had already made a deal with the adversary and the adversary commanded them to lure Jared into their group. They tempted him with the most beautiful girls, and of course, riches. They gave Jared gold, silver, and other precious minerals. Jared didn’t need what they gave him. He was already abundant and could have had anything that he wanted. I don’t know how they acquired all the gold and silver that they had, as they were still young, but I am confident it was not from a good source. I do not believe it was from their parents as their parents were still good people.

But somehow, they instilled a desire in my son for more riches; and, for power. They lied to him! They lied! Because of their lies, my family and I were taken captive. Jared ruled over us. I was right, he did become a king, but ruled with unleashed power and hate.

We lived in captivity for years. Jared and those who influenced him and followed him, degraded us and abused us. Even through the hardships of captivity, my people were blessed with everything that we needed. My wife and I were blessed with several more children. As they grew in captivity, and learned the truth about Jared, they developed a determination to take the throne from him and return it to me.

My sons gathered together an army. We created weapons and armor in secret so Jared and his guards would not discover that we were preparing to attack him.

The Lord was with us. We prayed constantly, mostly in our hearts as we went about our daily routines. We prayed for our weapons and those who would use the weapons that they would be used only for freedom. We prayed that our armor would protect us. We prayed for angels to watch over us and protect us.

The day came when the Lord’s spirit told us to prepare to retake my kingdom that night. We silently and speedily made our preparations. Then, led by my sons Esrom and Coriantumr, we went to the palace, slayed most of Jared’s army, then confronted Jared. He pled with us to spare his life. How could I allow my son, my own flesh and blood, to be killed? My sons, and others, warned me about Jared, that if we allowed him to live, he would create further problems; he was not repentant. I could not allow my son to die so I ordered Jared to live.

As it mentions in the Book of Ether, although I allowed Jared to live, he was distraught because he lost his position. I do not know what caused him to crave power, influence, and riches. It was as if he were addicted to power. His daughter, my dear sweet granddaughter, devised a cunning plan for Jared to retake the kingdom. Unfortunately, the plan was pure evil as it required acquiring and bringing to light the old evil plans created by the devil. Part of the plan was for the son of one of my dearest friends, a very handsome young man named Akish, to desire Jared’s daughter to be his wife. To complete the agreement, Jared required Akish to bring him my head!

Fortunately, God was merciful to me and my family. His spirit came to me in a dream and warned me that I needed to quickly leave and take my family and friends, and all those who supported me. We left that night, under the cover of darkness, traveled for many days until we came to a place called Ablom. We pitched our tents there and made that location our home.

We created a beautiful city in Ablom. It was not as elaborate as where we came from, but it was nice, a nice place that we could call home. My sons, daughters, and grandchildren thrived there. Our crops and herds flourished there. We were truly blessed by the Lord.

Occasionally, friends would travel from our previous home and bring us news about the happenings there. One time, a couple of good friends rushed into Ablom, searching for me and my wife. Once they found us, they reported that Akish had Jared killed and now occupied the throne. Oh, how my heart ached. My wife’s heart ached. The anguish completely consumed us. Even though our son became wicked, he was still our son and we loved him.

Akish, my once dear friend, how could he have turned so evil? Nimrah, one of Akish’s son’s came to us and told us what Akish did to his brother—he starved his own son, our great-grandson, out of jealousy. How could any father starve his own son? The Spirit of the Lord must have completely departed from Akish for that to happen.

Others fled to us because of the abuses of power Akish subjected his people to. They wearied of the constant battles between Akish and his sons and the cruelties to those who were originally loyal to Akish.

After battling for many years, most of the people of Akish were destroyed in senseless wars. The remaining people came to us and escorted me and my family back to my original throne. Although it was so wonderful to be back in our homeland, it was bittersweet as so many of my people needlessly died because of the wickedness of my son.

My son. I lost my son! My grandchildren, my great-grandchildren. My son, the cause of so much senseless heartache and destruction.

My wife suffered greatly because of Jared. As his mother, she felt incredibly responsible, even though she did all that she knew to teach Jared and our children the truth. She suffered physically, spiritually, and emotionally because of her afflictions. I tried to comfort her, our other children tried to comfort her, but she would not be comforted. Finally, an angel came to her. The angel blessed her and comforted her. He told her that Jesus would come and make everything right. The angel told her that she was an amazing mother and did all she could do to teach her children, including Jared, about Jesus. The angel reminded her of agency and that is what she fought for in the pre-earth life. She needed to allow Jared to have his agency! Although difficult, she was able to let go of the pain and hurt that she felt and found peace in her heart, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was Jesus Christ that healed her broken heart. After that experience, she knew without any doubt that Jesus Christ would come to the earth and do what He said He would do and heal the earth. Although she was still very sad about Jared, she knew that she was ok, and that Jesus would suffer and die, even for Jared, and because of His Atonement, all would be made right.

See Ether 8 and 9.