While I love the power of the scriptures, I fully admit I wouldn’t make a very good ancient prophet, or prophet’s wife for that matter. I’d be far more likely to run and hide under my bed than become a martyr for the gospel. I think that’s part of the problem with Abinadi. The scriptural account, accompanied by the few popular artist depictions make him out to be someone that is miles beyond me in far too many ways. He feels like an old man making his last stand as he preaches before King Noah. You know, like the older gentlemen in your ward whose held every calling, and knows the gospel inside and out, and has more to say on any subject than you have ever even thought of—that type of guy.
The fact of the matter is that like so many things in the scriptures we miss a lot of the “back story”. When you look at the account of Abinadi, no where does it hint at that “wise old high priest” status. This is something that author H.B. Moore takes advantage of to tell a very different version of the story than the one I’d been seeing in my mind’s eye for so many years. I for one am extremely grateful that she did. In her latest novel, Abinadi, Ms. Moore takes a lot of “what ifs” and creates a life for the prophet that suddenly made him feel more real and complete for me.
While being fastidious with detail and spirit, H.B. Moore places an Abinadi before her readers who is young and happy. Abinadi is living a life full of hope and blessings. What if Abinadi was taking more chances than I naively assumed? What if, in order to preach the messages God put into his heart Abinadi had to kiss his wife and young child goodbye with a fairly certain understanding that his chances of seeing them again were slim? Nope, not me—see that reference to hiding under the bed.
Abinadi as told by H.B. Moore is an artfully crafted story of hope, faith, love, loss, and the gospel that would rival almost any situation that you and I could face in this day and age. It was so easy to see myself in Ms. Moore’s portrayal of the high priest Alma, and in many other characters. I could see for the first time how so many pieces could have come together to work the miracles Heavenly Father needed for His people during that time period. It made me examine my own life a little more closely. No, I’ll never measure up to Abinadi but maybe, just maybe, I could learn to be a little better than I am by paying attention to more than just the fact that Abinadi gave his life for the gospel.
Because I know how thoroughly the author researches her material, I read her descriptions and details with interest. The marriage ceremony was particularly fascinating to me. Plus, for those of us who’d like to know more about where her thoughts and ideas came from, the author provides a special set of notations in the back of the book. Under headings for the chapters, you will find some of the author’s notes and references that she used to reach her conclusions about settings, traditions, and more to help bring the scriptures to life for her reader. It’s a fun added bonus to go through and pick out these things and learn more about them, but not feel pressured to know more while you are immersed in the actual story.
Well, done Ms. Moore, for providing me with an engaging story that made the scriptures come alive in a way that kindly prodded me to keep praying and to look for sources of peace no matter what the world may throw my way.
Return to the Neighborhood
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