Kirtland Temple
A National Historic Landmark

A Mouse in the House of the Lord

By Debra Bruch

Page 3

Philip was mad, not at Rex, but at Jonah and the others. "Why didn't you hit him back?"

"No vengeance," stated Jonah, holding his nose. "No vengeance."

"That's stupid!" declared Philip. "You just let him beat you up?"

"You callin' me stupid?" Jonah demanded, anger flaring up in his heart. "Who do you think you are, anyway?"

Allison spoke up, "He's just new, Jonah. It's okay." Then to Philip, she explained, "It's the first rule our family learned with the human named Joseph Smith Junior."

"I don't get it," Philip said exasperated. "Who cares about a human?"

"He wasn't just any human, you know," said Lisa.

"You tell the story best, Jonah. You tell him," said Allison.

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Jonah explained, "Okay. Our ancestors witnessed what kind of human Joseph Smith Junior was. It was amazing. I mean, sometimes he was an amazing human for humans, you know. Way back in 1832, something happened that made our ancestors take notice that something really special was happening. I think it was the very first step for our family to decide to listen and then to be the guardians of this place."

"What happened?" asked Philip.

"Yeah, tell the story again, Jonah!" yelled Lisa. Everybody wanted to hear it again.

"Okay. But I gotta start from the beginning, you know." Nods around, and Jonah continued. "Joseph Smith moved his family from New York to near here in Hiram sometime in September, 1831. He and his wife, Emma, and his family lived with a human named John Johnson."

"Where's Hiram?" asked Pip.

"I think it was in Portage County about thirty miles that way from here in Kirtland," Jonah replied, pointing to the southeast. "Emma had twins here in Kirtland but they died at childbirth. But right after, she took two really young babies – they were twins whose mother died from their birth – from John Murdock and cared for them so that John Murdock could travel around to Missouri and places like that.

"They adopted the babies!" said Lisa, a little too loudly.

"Yeah, Lisa, they did. Anyway, Joseph Smith traveled around and came back to stay with John Johnson so that he could be with his family and continue to translate the scriptures."

"Why on earth would he do that?" asked Philip.

Lisa piped up. "Humans then were really really worried about truth! Back then, everybody wanted to know the truth about stuff."

"Come on, Jonah, tell the REAL story! You know, the story about – " declared Allison.

"— okay okay! March 25, 1882, the twins got sick of the measles and Joseph was trying to take care of them, but he fell asleep." Jonah sniffed and wiped some blood from his nose before he continued. "All of a sudden a bunch of men burst into the house and took Joseph and Sidney Rigdon outside. They tried to fight and Joseph kicked one right in the nose."

"Bam!" exclaimed Pip. "Right in the nose. He bled and everything!"

"Pip! Be quiet now!" demanded Allison. "Joseph was defending himself!"

Unable to contain himself, Pip said, "Yeah, and the bad guys said bad words and everything!" The other mice stared the poor kid down until he hung his head and said, "Okay, Jonah, go on."

"Lots of times they choked Joseph until he passed out and Joseph thought that they were gonna kill him. But they went and talked to themselves and decided that they weren't going to kill him – that night anyway. They wanted Joseph to stop preaching and talking about God. But they hurt him pretty bad, mostly burns from tar and cuts and then left. So his friends spent the night scraping and removing the tar from his skin and washed him pretty good."

"So he got beat up. Big deal," said Philip.

"Nah, that's not the amazing thing," said Jonah. "The next morning after staying up all night getting all of the tar off, he went and preached to people and baptized three people. He never went after the bad men. No vengeance. It didn't stop him. They didn't stop him. He trusted in God to take care of things. That's the amazing part. That's what got our family interested. And that's the root of building the Kirtland Temple. Home. Faith in God, no matter what. Truth. No hate, just truth. No vengeance."

Silence. Then Philip became a little defiant because his heart hurt pretty badly. "Yeah, well, God doesn't take care of everybody, now does he? He lets things happen! And that's the truth!" At that, Philip ran away. The other mice children called after him, but he couldn't hear because his heart hurt too much.

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A Mouse in the House of the Lord © 2010 Debra Bruch




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