Economics 101, a Novel, ch_41 -- Covenants Made

(The story starts here:

The previous chapter is here:

[JMR201610140720: I've lost the thread by this point. This whole chapter may change or disappear.]

Mormons believe in miracles. We also believe that we are supposed to do all we can before we seek for miracles. And miracles are for helping other people, more than ourselves.

We work, but we don't worship the works of our hands. (At least, we try to avoid that.)

And we don't require miracles unless they are required of us.


But we do allow God to do miracles if it suits His purposes. In case I haven't made it clear, I am asserting that, in my alternate history fiction, it is His purpose to have Karel and Bobby together, alone, on that island for an indefinite period of time.

In the real world, we would expect their parents to be lead to them soon, and all the extraordinary things that happen in this chapter would be avoided.

And it would change the story completely.

(I really need to rewrite this chapter. It treats sacred things way too lightly. But I don't see how to go at the rewrite just yet. Maybe when I get a few chapters after the next one written.)


And in this chapter we're still running a bit way too far over the top.

The vision faded around Bobbie and Karel as they embraced each other for a few moments, or maybe even minutes. Then they put their shoes on and hiked down. If there had been anything resembling a path, they would have run.

Back at camp, they ignored lunch and bamboo and pretty much everything, just got their temple clothes out of their trunks. The only thing they stopped for was another hug [JMR201609031549: and a prayer ] .

[JMR201612031941: You might remember that Tt]hey told Melissa Burns about one of the reasons for special temple clothes. Simplicity, modesty, and a kind of egalitarian approach to things.

There are some symbolic elements, as well, but [JMR201609031550: there is no distinction of rank. yY]ou need preparation to understand them correctly [JMR201609031553: . S , s]o we don't talk about them except where we can be fairly confident that the people we are talking with are prepared.

The fact that I have published this where you can read it on your computer screen is pretty indicative that I have no way of [JMR201609031557: knowing whether you would deciding whether you might ] understand what [JMR201609031557: a simple symbol means the symbols would mean ] .

So pardon me if I decline. I have actually touched on some of the symbolic elements of the temple ceremony in this novel, but I believe I have done so in a way that allows them to be kept sacred.

Well, forgive me. If you are feeling offended by the things that I have written to this point, maybe you should refrain from reading further.

On the other hand, if you don't read the rest, you may find yourself offended for no reason at all. Catch 22, to borrow a profane idiom.

"I don't guess we should change in the tent."

"I'm not hiking back up the mountain in these. We'll have to change in the jungle near the clearing, but that won't be a problem, will it?"

And they stopped to pray, and, not being held back, they hurried back up the mountain with their temple clothes and temple recommends and marriage license and certificate, and their hopes, and a fountain pen in their backpacks.

The group in the bungalow became aware again of their surroundings, and they all looked around. No one bothered asking if anyone else had seen the vision.

Officer Paalo knew what he needed to ask now. "Nazoru, do you know something about this temple stuff that they are talking about?"

"My wife has mentioned it to me in the dreams. It seems to be a place where dead people can become Mormon."

"That sounds bizzare."

Professor MacVittie explained, "A living member of the Church stands in proxy for the dead person, and the ordinance is performed 'for and in behalf of' the dead person."


"Baptism, marriage sealings, and some other ceremonial kinds of things. I am given to understand that, in the Catholic Church, they are called 'sacraments'."

"And after the ceremony is done? Does that make the person Mormon?"

"No[JMR201612031958: , not unless they agree to it," Bob replied.

"How do you know whether they agree or not?"

"We don't."

"Not in this life, anyway," Mary added.

And Anna contributed her two cents: "Sometimes we, uhm, members have dreams, but those are considered sacred and we don't mention them unless God tells us to. ]

Paul offered an explanation. "Aside from the side-issue that 'Mormon' here is shorthand for 'Christian believer in the Book of Mormon as another testament to Christ', we believe they have the opportunity of accepting the ordinance on the other side of the veil. Or not accepting. Baptism is a covenant to believe in Jesus Christ and live His teachings, ..."


Nazoru responded to this. " [JMR201612032003: As you know, Dd]eath is just the separation of the body and spirit. The spirit lives on." And the others nodded in agreement.

Officer Paalo also nodded. " [JMR201612032003: As I know, yes. ] Makes sense, I guess." And he thought a bit. "But [JMR201612032020: , you mention marriage, also. pP]ardon me for maybe suggesting something odd, but, for example, could I maybe marry my father to Nazoru's wife?"

Mary answered this. "Marriage is something that happens in this world. In the temple, we can seal marriages for time and eternity. But that is still conditional on whether the people involved accept the sealing. And we can't seal a marriage that never existed. At least, it wouldn't mean anything if we did."

Anna added. "For example, Nazoru, if he were baptized and went to the temple, could be sealed in a proxy sealing to Himeru, and Hanaka could also be sealed by proxy to him as his daughter. But the sealing takes no effect until and unless they accept it."

Bob added. "Something I have only recently begun to understand is that this ceremony we call a sealing is just the beginning of a process that ties us together by the things which we do for each other. Uhm, and a symbol of that process, for those who have so lived but receive it by proxy. And then they can continue the process."

Nazoru looked up at this. "Himeru and Hanaka want me to do that. How would I go about doing it?"

Bob responded to this, as well: "You would have to be baptized and live faithfully for a year or so. Then you would take information about your wife and daughter to the temple and someone would stand in as proxy for them, and you would be sealed."

"What is a sealing like?" Officer Paalo was the one to put it into words.

Anna replied, "There's not really anything fancy. You join hands and the person who has the authority says your sealed."

Paul chided mildly, "That's a little oversimplifying, isn't it?"

Mary said, "Not much. What else? You have to say yes?"

Bob said, "There are some things that you have to do first, of course."

"True." Anna confirmed.
Officer Paalo was interested in what would have to be done first, but another question came to mind. "But there is no temple on that island, is there?"

Professor MacVittie answered. "In the past, when there was no temple available, other private buildings or rooms were used. For proxy baptisms, secluded places on a river were sometimes used, as I recall. I suppose, since no one else is on the island, they are going to dedicate that spot on the mountain for the purpose."

"Is this often done?"

"Not since we had temples to go to."

"Then why make an exception for these two?"

The conversation hung here, until Mary suggested, "I guess it has something to do with our not being allowed to find them too soon. Going to the temple is not a privilege, it's a part of a path. If God were punishing them for not getting married before they came, He definitely would make them wait. But apparently He is giving them a calling, and being sealed is going to help them do things right."

"Was that series of questions part of the ceremony?"

Bob responded to this: "No, they were just being given the chance to decline the calling. Free will is important."

Paul added, "But each couple will get some specific advice, and questions similar to those may be part of the advice. That part is guided by the Holy Spirit."

Officer Paalo checked his understanding here: "Okay, as I understand you to have explained it, the Holy Spirit guides believers, to help them do what's right."

Paul confirmed, "Yes. That's right."


"What happens when people don't do what this spirit says?" 

"They don't get the blessings they could have. Or it takes longer, or they get different blessings." This was Anna's contribution.


Officer Paalo thought a bit more. "So, if I wanted to be baptized, I'd have to go to a temple?"

Paul answered: "Baptisms for living people can be done many places. In fact, we could do it in the water at the beach, if we could find a quiet section of beach [JMR201612032031: , and if the law allows such things to be done on the beach ]."

"So, could I do that, now?"

"I'd need to contact the district president and get permission. Since there is no mission in operation here, he can authorize it. And then we'd have to review what you think you understand, and you'd have to confirm that you really meant it, but other than that and certain of the islands' legal requirements you know about, yeah, you could."

And they spent the next two hours talking about the work for the dead and
about the temples. Somewhere during that time, Mary Whitmer quietly excused herself and went to get hers and her husband's temple clothes. A little later, Anna Pratt did the same. And then the professor quietly went for his.

I won't name the temple, for reasons I have mentioned elsewhere, but in the temple presidency's office, President Brown of the district presidency was meeting with the temple president and their counselors. The first counselor had just finished officiating in some proxy sealings, and they were discussing some Church business.

The temple president interrupted the discussion and gave his first counselor some unusual instructions, and President Brown added a few requests. Then everyone except the first counselor left the room to continue with the next sessions of proxy work.

After they left, the first counselor took some paperwork from a drawer and knelt down and began to pray, and soon he was caught up in the spirit and physically carried to the clearing. About the time he arrived, Bobbie and Karel arrived, too. They had met before, so there was no need for introductions.

"Well, hello, you two. I'm glad you made it in time for your marriage interview." And they shook hands and exchanged hugs.

Karel said, "I'm not going to ask how or why you are here."

"Maybe you should. But there are some other things to talk about first."

For the next half an hour or so, they reviewed their covenants, and talked about their standing before God. Reporting their conversation verbatim would be treating sacred things too casually, so I'll summarize:

They talked about the mutual respect they had found at college and the desire not to force each other or their friends.

They talked about Wycliffe's practical joke that went too far, and about forgiving him, and about their regrets that it had cost his life, but also about their gratitude for his keeping watch over them now.

They also explained their sleeping arrangements, with the tent between them. And they talked about the need to sleep together for warmth when the temperature dropped during rains, and talked about how they had refrained from intentionally doing things to get themselves and each other sexually excited.

And they talked about their buddy system in the water and about having to take care about danger from the sea when they bathed, and about their dreams and other things that had happened, including the night Karel had been rather frightened by Bobbie's kiss.

And they talked a little about how their worry that they would be unable to marry properly had led to the one real argument they had had while on the island.

After that, the first counselor explained a part of why they were being asked to live alone on the island for an unspecified amount of time, enough so they would understand how to take the next several steps. And we are not privy to that, either.

Then he interviewed them separately, because stewardship always comes down to the individual.

Somewhere in the US, Dan and Kristie woke up in the middle of the night.

They rolled over in bed to face each other.

"I had a dream."

"Me, too."

"Bobbie and Karel getting their marriage interviews."

"On a desert island. I'm jealous. Sort of."

They got out of bed and knelt down by the bed and thanked God for being able to get married. Then they prayed for Bobbie and Karel's safety.

"I think we'd better put on some clothes."

So they changed into their temple clothes and put the rest of their temple clothes in their laps and knelt down again to pray. Soon they, too, were caught up in the spirit and physically carried to the island.

"Karel! Bobbie! How do you guys rate this kind of first class accommodations?"

"Whoa! How did you guys rate the special however it was you got here? Never mind. It's sure good to see you. By the way, allow me to introduce my bride-to-be."

Bobbie slapped the back of Karel's head gently before turning and giving Kristie a huge hug. "So you're married?"

"You interrupted our first night back from the honeymoon. You got the invitation?"

"Postmaster had to ask if it was for me. I didn't dare show it to Karel until we got to this island."

"Hilarious. 'Bobbie and Karel Pratt.'"


Kristied giggled and Dan chuckled.



Bobbie kicked Karel. Gently, of course.

"Ouch. Okay, not hilarious." Karel pulled Bobbie close for a kiss. "But it was sure funny when you told me about it. You laughed as hard as I did."

"Laughter is a release from pain." She replied, hugging him back.


And they had a group hug.


"It's so good to see you two finally opening up to each other." Kristie said, quietly, tearing up a little. 


Then they introduced Dan and Kristie to the first counselor.

The seven in the bungalow were kneeling down around the table in prayer, and they, too, were caught up in the spirit and physically carried to the island.

When they arrived, the first counselor [JMR201609031659: interviewed Nazoru and Officer Paalo, asking them asked Nazoru and Officer Paalo ] if they were inclined to fight against the Church of Christ or His gospel, and both said they weren't.

In order to fulfill the requirements of the law of the islands, Officer Paalo and Nazoru were asked to be among the witnesses while Karel and Bobbie exchanged vows in a civil ceremony according the laws and license they had drawn up. Their parents, Dan and Kristie, Officer Paalo, and Nazoru signed the licenses and marriage certificates, and then Bobbie and Karel exchanged vows.

Wycliffe, Hanaka and Himeru were witnesses on their side of the veil. Then they left to help Zedidiah. Shortly after, Greg and Georgiana returned.

Officer Paalo, Mary Whitmer, and the first counselor copied the information from the license and certificate.

Officer Paalo and Nazoru were invited to observe while a dedicatory prayer was offered, dedicating the site for the sacred ordinances, and then they returned to the bungalow.

And then those who remained made certain preparations which I shall not describe, and the second counselor performed the sealing.

Well, I can explain, perhaps, that the preparations reminded them of their covenants to follow Jesus' teachings, and helped them remember certain symbolism which directs the believers to respect each others' freedoms and responsibilities.

In countries which acknowledge the authority of the Church to perform marriages, there is no need of a separate civil ceremony, and, indeed, a separate civil ceremony is rather discouraged where it is not necessary.

I hope it's fairly clear why we prefer God's laws to man's when we can make the choice.

After the ceremony, Professor MacVittie returned to the bungalow to help Officer Paalo and Nazoru figure out the next steps to take.

The first counselor returned to the temple, being rather busy that day (as usual).

And the Pratts and Whitmers and Dan and Kristie stayed a little while to catch up on important news and make memories, since they weren't allowed to take pictures.

After a little while, Greg and Georgiana reminded them that they all had important things to be doing, and asked if they could catch up on the rest in a few years. And then they were allowed another hour to talk until they returned.

Somewhere out on the sea, Zedidiah was somewhat dehydrated, hungry, and not really thinking clearly. Wycliffe appeared to him in a dream and explained that, because he had left the parents' group he had not been able to be among the witnesses when Bobbie and Karel got married. This aroused Zedidiah somewhat, and he was able to use a portable emergency filter to get some water clear enough to keep himself alive a little longer.


As he swallowed the last of the water and checked the crumbling filter, he thought about his life in New Zealand before he had come to the islands, and about the people he had left behind. And he said, to himself as much as to anyone else who might have been listening, "If I get out of this alive, if Karel and Bobbie are safe, I'll go back. I'll do the right thing by them if they'll let me."

Back at the bungalow, Nazoru told Paul and Bob what Himeru and Wycliffe had told him about the location where Zedidiah was adrift, having run out of fuel, food, and water. And they arranged for a boat and Zedidiah's [JMR201609101122: , ] plane to go get him.


They still had to argue with him to convince him to return to the main island, and it took a few more dreams at night to get him to believe that maybe Karel and Bobbie didn't need to be found immediately.

The arrangements took several hours, and the trip out took a few more. It was dark when Paul and Bob left in the plane, wearing parachutes. They had prepared packs with emergency supplies in floating boxes, and a dinghy, as well. They inflated the dinghy during the flight, taking turns to nap.

The others started out in the boat about the same time, also getting sleep as they could.

When Bob and Paul arrived at the location Nazoru had given them, they sighted Zedidiah's boat quickly in the light of the moon and radioed their own boat with the actual location.

They couldn't raise Zedidiah on radio, so they flew low and waved when they saw him slumped in the pilot's chair. The noise seemed to rouse him, but he didn't seem to have the strength, or maybe the will, to wave. So they circled back, dropped the supplies and the dinghy in the water nearby and flew up high enough to jump. (They had chosen a dinghy small enough to get out the airplane's doors.)


As they approached the jump point, they said (yet another) quick prayer for Zedidiah's and their own safety.


Both had experience parachuting, and were able to steer themselves close to their targets. Paul entered the water near the dinghy, and Bob dropped close to Zedidiah's boat.

Bob swam to the boat and boarded, leaving his 'chute in the water.

While Bob checked Zedidiah and tried to give him water from his canteen, Paul swam to the dinghy, righted it and got in. He gathered his 'chute, then rowed around to collect the boxes and Bob's 'chute. Tying the dinghy to the boat, he threw the boxes on deck and climbed aboard.

Zedidiah was refusing the water.

"Juss ... leefme ... heeah" It was hard to make out what he was saying, but he was fighting Bob with what little strength he had.

"Looks like he's in shock. Not much pulse," Bob told Paul quietly. Then he brought the canteen to Zedediah's lips again. Zedidiah turned his face.

Paul indicated the deck with his head, and they lifted him out of the pilot's chair and stretched him out on the deck. They tried to prop his feet up on an empty box, but he slid his legs off. While Bob tried again with the canteen, Paul got more boxes and got his legs propped up. They were glad that it was still dark and there was no sun to worry about.

"ahh ... shooh ... daih"

"Shut up and open your mouth." Bob put the canteen to his lips once again, holding his head so he couldn't move, and dribbled a little water in his mouth. Automatic reflexes took over and Zedidiah swallowed. Then he jerked and spat, but there was nothing to spit.

Zedidiah began to shiver, so they wrapped him in a blanket from the boat's cabin.


"Why what?"

Zedidiah didn't answer.

"Unless you object," Bob said, "we're going to give you a blessing."

Zedidiah didn't say anything, so Paul fished a small bottle of olive oil out of one of the boxes and poured, well, dripped a few small drops on Zedidiah's head. He let Bob put the cap back on the bottle, and put his hands on Zedidiah's head and said a prayer. After that, both Paul and Bob put their hands on his head and Bob said another prayer, in which he encouraged Zedidiah to let God heal him. The whole process took maybe three minutes.

And then they returned to nursing Zedidiah.

Shortly, ] Bob was succeeding in getting more water into Zedidiah's mouth [JMR201609102036: now ], and Zedidiah was visibly recovering, the muscles in his face no longer slack.

"How's his temperature?"

"Low, but maybe okay."

Paul [JMR201609102037: put the 'chute down and ] dragged a box over. Digging through the box in the moonlight, he found the bottle of salt tablets and gave one to Bob.

"Zed," he said, "If you die, we'll never forgive you."

Bob chuckled grimly while he pressed the tablet between Zedidiah's lips and said, "Mare said that when we heard, and we are all agreed."

After about ten minutes of giving him more water a little at a time, they got some hard candy and a lemon from one of the boxes for him to try.

"Why did you come for me?"

Paul spoke reasonably. "Someone had to bring the boat you rented back."

"I killed them. I should die." He refused the candy and lemon, but accepted a little more water.

"Bull...," Bob caught himself. "Uhm, baloney. Besides, they aren't dead."

"But they sure aren't alive."

"You say that with much confidence." Paul laced his words with just a shade of irony.

That seemed to bring Zedidiah around, and he sat up. "I've seen Wycliffe in dreams."

"And what did he say?" Bob asked, nodding.

Zedidiah slumped back. "I don't understand."

"Wycliffe's soul is very much alive on the other side of the veil." This with no sarcasm.

"But, ..."

"Karel and Bobbie are still on this side of the veil."

"You missed the wedding."

"That's what Wye said, but, ..."

"Some things are hard to explain. You need sugars."

This time, he accepted the hard candy.

"Don't swallow it, just let it sit there."

A little later, he accepted the lemon, grimacing as he sucked the juices out of it.

"No pulp yet, let's let things recover first."

Fruits and sea biscuits brought him around a bit at a time.

Some hours later, when the other boat arrived in pre-dawn twilight, Mary and Anna teased Zedidiah for missing the wedding. The teasing seemed to cheer him up.

"It really happened? I can't believe it."

Officer Paalo said, "It was not mass hallucination." He had accompanied them as a representative of the police.

With enough fuel to get to an island where they could refuel, they had both boats back to the main island by Saturday evening. And Zedidiah was recovering, both physically and emotionally.


And you want to know what Karel and Bobbie did when they descended that mountain early Friday evening?

First thing they did was get dinner.


(The link to the next chapter will be here when it's ready the [JMR201609031847: last next ] chapter is here:

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