Notes on A Valley Full of Bones

A couple of years ago, I got to really thinking about Book of Mormon character Captain Moroni. Following the concept to liken the scriptures to ourselves, I started to wonder if we would even recognize a character like him today, and if we did, would we be okay with him? Are we comfortable with the suspension of habeas corpus, with insurrection against the government, with “fight for liberty or die” mandates? Should we question, at all, the narrative of the scriptures that those were all good things? (Does anyone recall that Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus in border states?)

Then I said, “What sort of area would look like total lawlessness that would invite a character like this to intervene?” I recalled various places I had served on my mission that were urban combat zones (if you keep up with my blog The Living and the Dead you know what I’m referring to). I recentered the setting in the infamous neighborhood The Cut in Corpus Christi which, when I was growing up, supposedly had one of the highest crime and single-parent birth rates in the nation. And I wrote up a slim urban fable or parable based on the concept. I sat on it for years. A friend who read it for me said, “This is great. It’s kind of like a Mormon Boondock Saints.”

Most people have read it as sort of an action thriller. It’s not. It’s a parable about a mindset, about a system of beliefs, and about what the extremes of those would look like if enacted. I finally worked up the courage to publish it, which I did earlier this year (https://www.amazon.com/…/B08NYS…/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0…). What I did NOT anticipate was that Senator Mike Lee of Utah would then go on to invoke Captain Moroni and liken him to Donald Trump. I did not anticipate that a BYU-hooded man would be climbing a flagpole at the Capitol. I did not anticipate that another man would dress up in his Book of Mormon garb and fashion his own Title of Liberty and help assault the Capitol. So I invite people again to consider what the Captain Moroni figure actually means, what it looks like if it’s carried out, whether the above-mentioned real-life characters were actually performing Captain Moroni-like actions or if they were fraudulent in their appropriation of a near-sacred character to Mormons.And of course, feel free to buy a slim (93 pages) but prophetic meditation on these concepts. You’ll read it fast, but I hope the questions linger with you for a long time.

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