It had been 46 hours, 27 minutes and 32 seconds since Mindaugas had received news that he would be released this coming Sunday. He felt relieved and grateful for the opportunity to serve, but couldn’t shake a nagging doubt or two. He pulled his quad down from the shelf—even after all the new scripture canonized during this last dispensation he still felt most comfortable with the 2013 Scriptures Committee edition. Mindaugas’ tongue stuck out as he quickly thumbed the pages, skipping over and around the passage that he was looking for.
“The pages still stick together…even here,” he half-chuckled to himself, settling into Alma 42, skimming until the 25th verse:
“What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God.”
“if so, God would cease to be God…”
Mindaugas sat back, fingers drumming absent-mindedly on the pages in front of him.
“Did I rob justice?”
Mindaugas was deep in thought, lips pursed, when Vera walked in. As she walked over to Mindaugas, she looked down and saw the chapter he was reading and knew immediately what was going on.
“Mindaugai, you did what you thought was best. That has nothing to do with why you’re getting released. I supported your decision from the beginning and helped persuade the others, and I’m still on the Council.”
Mindaugas slumped in his chair.
“I suppose you’re right…but I can’t stop thinking about it. They preached so much hate…surely they were ripe for destruction? They certainly didn’t have more hospitality than Sodom and Gomorrah. Rivaled the folks before the Flood in terms of idolatry and worship of Mammon. As unrepentant as those in Moronihah, Zarahemla, and Moroni…”
As Mindaugas trailed off, Vera jumped in, “And yet, Ninevah was preserved. A family from Sodom and Gomorrah was preserved. The descendants of the Lamanites were preserved and still have some role to play.”
Mindaugas sat quietly. Then stood to pace the room, stopping and starting here and there, on the verge of speech, but never quite mustering up the words. Vera waited, twirling a white stone between her fingers, watching it move in and out of her hand, the writing on it only visible when the moonlight caught it just right.
Mindaugas stroked his light scruff, reaching to adjust his glasses. Tears welled up in his eyes.
“Did I rob justice?”
Vera held him as he sobbed.
They stayed like that for some time. Holding each other. Vera comforting Mindaugas.
“Look at this,” Vera offered, holding out the stone.
Mindaugas stood up abruptly and backed away.
Vera gave him the look.
“Mindaugai, you haven’t looked since you decided to spare them. Please. Look.”
Mindaugas approached cautiously and held out his hand for the stone. Vera dropped it into his hand.
“Go on. Look!”
“Today’s a special day in the Kolob 7th Ward. A member of the Council of Gods is being released. All who can express gratitude to Mindaugas Skliutas for his years of service as Heavenly Father please make it manifest. Thank you. Now, can Chi Quansah please stand. We have extended a call to Chi Quansah to serve as Heavenly Father for the next dispensation. All who can sustain Chi Quansah in this calling, make it manifest by raising the right hand. Any opposed by the same sign. Thank you. Chi Quansah, can you please join us on the stand?
Mindaugas will share a brief testimony, after which Chi Quansah, excuse me, Heavenly Father will address us. After Heavenly Father’s remarks, we’ll sing ‘In Our Lovely Deseret’. We’ll proceed to that point. Mindaugas?”