Day of Remembrance

The following is copywrited material. Any use of this work or a portion of this work for any purpose including but not limited to reprinting, broadcasting, electronic transmission, or publication without the express written permission of the author is prohibited by law.

On the left hand side-bar and also at the end of this introductory section there are links transporting you to the opening chapters of Day of Remembrance. To read the entire manuscript, about forty chapters in all, you will have to wait until it is published which hopefully will be sometime this year.

You can read the author's notes below if you like (something I highly recommend) or skip directly to the opening chapters of this novel using the aforementioned portals. Thanks for reading and please consider providing some feedback, particularly along the lines of what is mentioned in the post below.

Overview of the Work
Day of Remembrance is the fourth volume in the Promised Land Series. It is written in a split novel form with the major story line introduced in chapter one which details the Book of Mormon events leading up to and including the taking of the brass plates out of Jerusalem. The secondary or split story line is introduced in chapter two and follows the four year period from Joseph Smith's first visitation by the angel Moroni through his reception of the gold plate record containing the Book of Mormon account.

Though seperated by more than 2400 years in time and thousands of miles in space, the Hebrew calendar acts as a bridge between the two stories, tying them together through the rare occurance of Joseph Smith's reception of the gold plates taking place on one of Jewry's most holy feast days--the Day of Remembrance--a day set apart for Israel to remember their covenants with God and for God to remember His covenants with Israel.

Below is the author's note that will likely appear before the first chapter when (and I should also add if) this work is published. I hope you enjoy the opening chapters.

I'm most interested in your coments as they relate to the split novel form. Is it easy to follow? Are you comfortably able to keep track of so many characters? Are there too many plot lines to remember? Is the split novel form confusing in some specific way? (Is that a generally specific oxymoronic question?) Does it jar you out of the story or draw you into it? And of course the usual questions like did the plot lines engage your imagination, did the characterizations create a sense of real people, and (with regard to historical fiction) was the setting realistically drawn? What say ye?

Author’s Note
Since the day Moses returned from the summit of Mount Sinai with the celebrated stone tablets, Jews have memorialized the first day of the seventh month on the Israelite calendar by blowing horns in memory of the receipt of revealed covenants from heaven and petitioning God, through prayers and the playing of trumpets, to awaken after many millennia to a remembrance of those ancient promises given the seed of Abraham.

Among the covenant-blessings revealed to Moses was an understanding that it was the work and glory of God to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of his children and preserve forever the eternal nature of family ties—a timeless principle lost for centuries after the Babylonian occupation of Judah, but kept alive in a lesser-known brass-plate record sequestered deep in the treasury of Laban, Captain of the Israelite guard at the turn of the sixth century before Christ.

Present-day Jews observe ha-Teurah, The Feast of Trumpets, on a day known as Rosh ha-Shanah, meaning the “turning of the year”—a holiday that has evolved within modern Jewry into a “Jewish New Year”. It was on that feast-day in 1827 that Joseph Smith Jr., like Moses before him, brought down from a hill in upstate New York an ancient record he refereed to as a New Covenant. The sacred text was etched on plates of gold by ancient Jews who migrated to the New World and later deposited in a subterranean stone box about four hundred years after the birth of Christ—sealed in the ground for centuries in a hill south of what would one day be nineteenth century Palmyra, New York. Fourteen hundred years later, Joseph Smith Jr. translated the record from its ancient reformed Semitic dialect and published the translation as the Book of Mormon, fulfilling ancient biblical prophecies that the God-given covenants revealed to Moses would, in the last days of the earth, speak out of the dust.

On September 22nd, 1827 the Jewish celebration of Rosh ha-Shanah marked the beginning of a prophetic call for Joseph Smith Jr. to do a work unlike any in the modern world. Early in the morning of the Jewish feast-day Joseph Smith ushered into existence additional Judeo-Christian scripture appropriately sub-titled Another Testament of Jesus Christ and began a dispensation of revelations destined to reach beyond the community of Palmyra Township and touch the lives of men and women across the earth who would listen to this modern prophet tell of a latter-day restoration when God remembered again his ancient covenants with Israel. The significance of ha-Teurah—The Feast of Trumpets—remains somewhat unfamiliar to readers of the Book of Mormon. The Hebrew Holy Day on which this feast is celebrated did not always bear the name Rosh ha-Shanah as it did in Joseph Smith’s time of the late 1820’s. When the prophet Lehi lived at Jerusalem six hundred years before the birth of Christ, the day set apart for celebrating the Feast of Trumpets was known among Jews as ha-Zikkaron—The Day of Remembrance.

The task of producing Day of Remembrance has drawn me to reflect on the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ in our time and the modern-day restoration of ancient covenants through the prophet Joseph Smith that began with the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. May God bless your life as you come to appreciate living in the days of the fullness of times.

David G. Woolley
Springville, Utah
January 19th, 2007

Chapter One

The following chapter is copywrited material. Any use of this work or a portion of this work for any purpose including but not limited to reprinting, broadcasting, electronic transmission, or publication without the express written permission of the author is prohibited by law.

—Late Summer, 598 B.C.

“Answer me!”
Ebed-Melech knelt on the cold prison floor, his thick, black-skinned frame hovering over the well of the prison. Where was Jeremiah? It was impossible to see him with only the glow of a single lamp finding its way through the narrow opening and casting little light on the reason for the silence below.

A rope disappeared into the well and somewhere in the shadows the prophet Jeremiah lay tied to the end of it like an ox in a harness. Ebed pulled on it with both hands. There was no play—nothing but dead weight taking out the slack.

“Do you hear me?” The stench of rotted mire stung tears from Ebed’s eyes and he turned his ear to the muddy chamber. There should at least be a whimper, a sigh, or some sound of life rising from this hellish place, but the only answer was the relentless drip of water seeping through the subterranean foundations of the palace. Something was gone terribly wrong. Ebed balanced his feet along the edge of the hole, took hold of the rope and—

“Not down there!” The former jailer—the man Ebed replaced by order of the king—held a torch ahead of his stride. Since the day Ebed took the man’s post he did nothing but wander in the shadows of the prison, following Ebed wherever he went, watching him like a spirit that never slept. The man never offered a word of advice, never showed Ebed about the prison, why he didn’t even bother to introduce Ebed to the prison guards. The old jailer could be of help—he knew the prison better than any of the guards or prison hands—but how could he trust the vengeance that burned in the man’s eyes?

Ebed said, “He’s not stirring.”

“That’s how they all go. Real quiet. Not much life left in them after so long in the well.” The old jailer walked with his shoulders hunched forward and his words whistling through the wide gaps in his teeth. He held the torch to the opening, close enough the searing heat flashed across Ebed’s face. “It won’t be long. Another day or two and the chills and sickness will have him.” The old jailer sidled in next to Ebed and tugged on the end of the rope. “Lift the corpse out with this.”

“I won’t let him to die.”

“Fool. That’s why they sent him here.”

“Then why not a sword and be done with him months ago?”

The old jailer lowered his chin into his chest and whispered, “For fear of his spells.”

“He’s no sorcerer.”

“Tell that to the chief elder.”

“Give me that.” Ebed snatched the torch from the old jailer and forced the flame through the opening in the floor. Dirty water pooled around the form of Jeremiah. His legs were entombed in a layer of mud, his body slumped forward, and his face stuck in the mire. He lay still, without the rise and fall of breath in his shoulders and Ebed shoved the torch back into the old jailer’s hands, took hold of the rope and stepped to the edge of the pit.

“Go down there and you’ll curse us both.” The old jailer took Ebed by the arm. “You weren’t in Jerusalem the day Jeremiah conjured a curse of death.”

“Faith is the only curse Jeremiah cast on anyone.” Ebed pulled free of the Jailer’s grasp. “That isn’t anything to fear.”

Ebed scaled down the rope, landing in mud up to his knees. He struggled across the dark pit to Jeremiah and pulled him out of the earthen tomb, his mouth and nose stopped by the foul mire. He steadied Jeremiah’s frail frame over his shoulders before climbing the rope, his powerful arms slowly lifting them cubit by cubit, his feet working against the wall and his toes finding the crevices in the mortared seams between the giant foundation stones. Ebed cleared the opening and laid Jeremiah’s thin, mud-covered body on the floor.

“Free we are.” The old jailer waved the torch close to Jeremiah’s face. “Free of his curses.”

“Breathe!” Ebed pressed against Jeremiah’s chest, emptying and then filling his lungs with air. “For the love of heaven, live!”

“Leave the dead be.” The old jailer started down the corridor. “I’ll fetch the help to bear away the body.”

Jeremiah’s arms lay lifeless at his side. His eyes stood shut and his body still, but when Ebed set the wooden ladle to the prophet’s lips and the first drops of cool water fell on his tongue, his lungs heaved and water sprayed from his mouth.

“Curse you. Look what you’ve done.” The old jailer limped back to Jeremiah’s side. The breath of life filled the prophet’s body, chasing away the gray in his cheeks and replacing it with a red hue. “You’ll anger the Chief Elder for this.”

“Better him than God.” Ebed removed the harness from around Jeremiah’s slight frame and lifted him from the floor, the prophet’s body hanging limp in his arms. He started through the catacombs past a lamp mounted on a giant stone pillar and the brightness startled Jeremiah’s eyes open. He reached for Ebed’s hand and said, “The time is come.”

“It’s another of his curses.” The old jailer hurried alongside Jeremiah and leaned his head in. “What time is come?”

Ebed said, “Ask him once he’s bathed and fed and resting in the upper prison.”

“There isn’t time to rest.” Jeremiah tightened his grip on Ebed’s arm. “The day for God to begin to remember his covenant with Israel is come.”

“We’ve done nothing to you.” The old jailer hurried around in front of them and back-stepped ahead of their walking, his gaze shifting between Ebed and Jeremiah. “Tell him we’re innocent. You. Me. We’ve done nothing but follow orders. Tell him before he curses us with something more terrible than the affliction he sent Hannaniah.”

Jeremiah’s mud-soaked hair fell down into his lips and the ends played over his words. He said, “God will do a marvelous work among his people.”

“There was nothing marvelous about it.” The older jailer shook his head. “They found Hannaniah dead in his house.”

“Yea, even a marvelous work and a wonder.” Jeremiah spoke with a trembling voice, telling the old jailer of the covenant given to Moses and recorded on the brass plates locked away in Captain Laban’s treasury. He insisted the record was to be taken from the city and copied by another prophet into a record fashioned of plates of gold. He said, “In the last days, the covenant will be read upon the housetops and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among them and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth.”

“Mad he is.” The old jailer pulled back. “Mad enough to curse us all.”

“Let him alone.” Ebed held Jeremiah close.

“You haven’t heard him when he’s lost in one of his deluded fits.” The old jailer stood in the center of the corridor with the torch raised in the air, blocking Ebed’s way through the shadowy catacombs. “He’s possessed by Captain Laban’s relics, thinks he’s going to steal them.”

Jeremiah said, “Twenty-eight days shall pass away and then God will remember his covenant written on the brass plates.”

The old jailer counted the days on his fingers before slowly lifting his gaze and whispering, “What evil do you plan for the Day of Remembrance?”

Jeremiah said, “It is written in the Hebrew calendar.”

The old jailer spit on the ground. “Curse the calendar Moses invented.”

“Moses didn’t invent it. God revealed it to him.” Jeremiah raised his voice enough to cut through the wheezing in his throat. “God gave him a vision of the great time-keeping orbits and revolutions of the planets in the heavens. Every feast celebrated among the Jews was appointed its day according to that which was ordained in the council of heaven before this world was created and the Day of Remembrance holds a sacred place among the most holy of days.” He leaned higher in Ebed’s powerful arms, his gaze moving slowly about the dark ceiling of the prison like a wise man scanning the night sky. “The heavens with all their planets and stars and the revolutions of this earth are a great timepiece, more accurate than the most precise water clock and the time appointed to preserve the records of the covenant is come.” He took Ebed by the forearm. “Every feast among our people was calendared in the heavens. The Babylonians and the Egyptians and the Chaldeans have their calendars, but they do nothing more than track the passing seasons and the rising and setting of the sun.” Jeremiah held his hand to his mouth and coughed before saying, “Hidden in the calendar given Moses is the appointed day for the record to come forth in the fullness of times.” Jeremiah lay back in Ebed’s arms. “I must ready the brass plates to have part in that future Day of Remembrance and curse any man who seeks to stop me—curse him to death.”

“He’s threatening Captain Laban.” The old jailer raised his torch higher, the orange-yellow light casting over the prophet’s frail frame. “Just as he threatened the prophet Hannaniah. He killed the man. They don’t know how, but he did it.”

Ebed said, “He isn’t well.”

“He’s well enough to curse us.” The old jailer backed toward the entrance to the catacombs, the torchlight growing faint with each step. “Curse us all he will.”

“Jeremiah hasn’t the strength to harm anyone.” Ebed held the prophet close.

“His strength comes from another world.” The old jailer fumbled for the key to the prison, pushed open the iron gate with his boot and started up the circular stairs, but before he disappeared around the turn he pointed the end of his torch at Jeremiah and spoke through the oil smoke rising from the flame.

“Twenty eight days and we’re all cursed!”

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