by Toni Sorenson
the setting: beginning about 20 BC - Helaman chapter 11
The people abound in wickedness, both Nephite and Lamanite. Gadianton robbers plague the people from their strongholds in the hills. The prophet Nephi is given the power to bind and loosen in earth and in heaven. He persuades the Lord to replace war with famine that the people might be brought to humility and repentance. The rains stop and destruction from war is replaced by famine. The effects are felt among the righteous as well as the wicked. Many perish. Finally, at the point of utter despair and sure destruction, the people repent and the rains come again.... Almost four years without rain!
"And now O Lord, wilt thou turn away thine anger, and try again IF they wll serve Thee? And IF so, O Lord Thou canst bless them according to thy words which thou has said." (Helaman 11:16)
It is the generation of Samuel - when believers among the Nephites are fewer in number than among the Lamanites. All over the land the people are being prepared for the birth of the Messiah - about whom their men of God have been prophesying for nearly 600 years.
Turmoil grips Zarahemla, despite the humbling famine. In many ways it is a time not unlike our own. Believers await the signs they have trusted in for so long. Unbelievers ridicule and mock them and trample everything that is precious under foot. Believers are persecuted and their faith is stretched and tested in their hardships. The wicked reason "it is not reasonable that such a being as a Christ shall come, if so, ... why will he not show himself unto us, as well as them who shall be at Jerusalem? ... this is part of a diabolical plan of deception to keep the people downtrodden and in ignorance - promising them an event which can never be proven - not among us" they say "but in a land which is distant, a land which we know not; therefore they can keep us in ignorance, for we cannot witness with our own eyes..."
Sound familiar? Uh huh. Yeh, me too.
What would it have been like to have lived then? Probably similar to now I imagine. And yet we have the 20/20 vision of hindsight that they did not.
Those believers had faith in an event yet to hapen and a being yet to be born. We have faith in an event that DID happen and in a Redeermer who has not only been born, but lived and preached and ministered and died - all according to prophecy, and who rose again, and who promised to return.
Author Toni Sorenson took Nephi at his word, and likened "the scriptures unto ourselves". She paints a picture of the time encompassing the books of Helaman and 3rd Nephi, in the Book of Mormon. A time which we should recognize as up close and personal.
Take a journey through the eyes of a young man named Kiah. A boy raised by a believing mother, in a world where they were the minority - even among their neighbours and friends.
Days never to be forgotten. Days that we would do well to imprint in our hearts, as we are reliving them in our own day. The final days when foretold signs abound, and those with eyes to see recognize them and take note.
a novel by Toni Sorenson, author of the Best Selling MASTER
500 page HB Cdn $26.95