what is a squiggle?

According to fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Hill, a squiggle is a beginning point, a small, wiggly line on a page with the potential to become something more--a brilliantly drawn fifth-grade picture!

A beginning point. A silly phrase from my preschooler, my teenager rolling his eyes, or my kindergartner deleting my entire 3rd chapter...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ficitonal Story: Alma 30:44

Nephihah, the chief judge watched Alma rise from his seat beside him and descend the stairs until he stood level with Korihor. Alma's simple clothing--brown sandals, tan tunic and deep green robe--enhanced Korihor's elaborate dress. As Alma walked around the man, the gold rings on Korihor's bound hands glittered, and although the prisoner had been stripped of his elaborate cape and feathered headdress, Korihor's tunic was made of the finest-twined blue linen with intricate patterns embroidered along the sleeves and hem.

Interesting, Nephihah thought, that Korihor in his fine clothes could accuse Alma of glutting on the labors of the people. Below the dais, Alma stopped in front of Korihor; he held the prisoner's gaze with his piercing blue eyes. Yet Korihor didn't flinch; his eyes smoldered with disdain for the prophet.

"Believest thou that there is a God?" Alma questioned.

"Nay," Korihor snorted with disgust.

Without dropping Korihor's gaze, Alma asked slowly, "Will ye deny again that there is a God, and also deny the Christ? For behold, I say unto you, I know there is a God, and also that Christ shall come. And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only. But behold, I have all things as a testimony that these things are true; and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true; and will ye deny them? Believest thou that these things are true?"

Alma swept his arms out to encompass the world and raised his head toward the heavens as he spoke. Korihor shook his head and a small smirk sat upon his lips.

The power in Alma's words sent pulses of joy shivering up Nephihah's arms. How can anyone deny God in the face of such testimony?

Whirling around, Alma again faced Korihor; his eyes narrowed at the prisoner. "Behold, I know that thou believest, but thou art possessed with a lying spirit, and ye have put off the Spirit of God that it may have no place in you; but the devil has power over you, and he doth carry you about, working devices that he may destroy the children of God."

Korihor bowed his head in mock humility. "If thou wilt show me a sign, that I may be convinced that there is a God, yea show unto me that he hath power, and then will I be convinced of the truth of thy words."

"Thou hast had signs enough," Alma said, "will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets?" He paused and looked around the room at the group of priests and judges gathered in assembly. Alma returned his attention to Korihor. "The scriptures are laid before thee, yea and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which do move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator."

Nephihah watched Korihor for a reaction, but he just stood before Alma with his self-satisfied smile. He knows the law cannot lay hold on him for his beliefs.

Alma regarded Korihor with pity. "And yet ye go about, leading away the hearts of this people, testifying unto them there is no God? And yet will ye deny against all these witnesses?"

Korihor barely suppressed a laugh. "Yea, I will deny, except ye shall show me a sign."

Shaking his head, Alma sighed. "Behold, I am grieved because of the hardness of your heart, yea, that ye will still resist the spirit of the truth, that thy soul may be destroyed. But behold, it is better that thy soul should be lost than that thou shouldst be the means of bringing many souls down to destruction, by thy lying and by thy flattering words; therefore if thou shalt deny again, behold God shall smite thee, that thou shalt become dumb, that thou shalt never open thy mouth any more, that thou shalt not deceive this people any more."

The haughtiness in Korihor's eyes faltered. Nephihah thought he detected the faintest tremor in Korihor's voice when he replied. "I do not deny the existence of a God, but I do not believe that there is a God; and I say also, that ye do not know that there is a God; and except ye show me a sign, I will not believe."

Alma stood up straight and turned away from Korihor. "Then this will I give thee for a sign, that thou shalt be struck dumb, according to my words; and I say, that in the name of God, ye shall be struck dumb, that ye shall no more have utterance.

Korihor opened his mouth to protest, but no sound came out. His lips moved, and his bound hands flew up to hold his throat as if they could force his voice to emerge. Nephihah watched him for a minute and then reached beside his seat for the flat black rock he kept for writing. Grabbing a sharp stone, he wrote upon the surface; then he stepped down to Korihor and allowed him to read the words: Art thou convinced of the power of God? In whom did ye desire that Alma should show forth his sign? Would ye that he should afflict others, to show unto thee a sign? Behold, he has showed unto you a sign; and now will ye dispute more?"

When he finished reading, Korihor gestured for the stone so that he could write. "I always knew there was a God. But behold, the devil hath deceived me." He continued to scratch words onto the surface of the stone, blaming the devil for teaching him the words to say when he deceived the people. "Please, Alma, pray that this curse be taken from me."

Alma thrust the stone away after reading Korihor's words. "If this curse should be taken from thee thou wouldst again lead away the hearts of this people; therefore, it shall be unto thee even as the Lord will."

Korihor's eyes widened with fear. He shook his head and mouthed the word "no" several times. But Alma turned away. "Free him," Alma said to Nephihah. "He will lead no more astray."

Nephihah nodded and one of his officers stepped forward and removed the ropes around Korihor's hands and feet. Korihor rubbed his wrists; he glared at Nephihah and spat in the direction that Alma had departed. Then he raised his head, resumed his look of disdain and marched out of the assembly hall.

Outside, his followers waited. They cheered when they saw him walk out, his bonds removed. Pushing and shoving to be near their leader, his followers gathered around him and waited for him to speak. Korihor smiled, nodded, and pumped his fists in the air, but his people wanted more. Finally, Korihor gave in, he moved his lips and pointed to his throat to indicate that he was dumb, mute, unable to speak.

At first, his followers thought he was just having fun with them, but when it became apparent that Korihor was truly dumb, they began to disperse. When all were gone, and Korihor remained alone, he was left with one thought echoing in his mind: Thou hast had signs enough.

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