The Fullness of Time by Richard B. Scoville - Read Online
The Fullness of Time
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Ambition and calamity shape the lives of Mark, Natalie, and Jacques, and each must face a moment of truth, a choice of light or darkness, a path of life or death, a destiny of joy or misery.Gilles Gallon, struggling to comprehend his brother's death, prays for solace in a Catholic church . . . and overhears a plot to kidnap Mormon missionaries. His plea for help leads to mortal danger.Elders Lewis and Collins, missionaries in Paris France, unaware of their perilous circumstance, are led by the Spirit to the door of one whom the Lord has prepared.You will pass through the portal of death and witness a glorious resurrection, as you make your way through The Fullness of Time.
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The Fullness of Time - Richard B. Scoville

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11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad ....

– 2 Nephi 2:11

Even in our sleep,

pain which cannot forget

falls drop by drop upon the heart,

until, in our own despair,

against our will,

comes wisdom

through the awful grace of God.

– Aeschylus

This is a work of fiction.

Father was seated at his magnificent desk, deep in thought, when Mother entered the resplendent Throne Room. His face exuded the same intense emotion that permeated Her own being. He looked up and they locked eyes; their gaze was a conduit of communication. Standing, breathing deeply, He met Her in the Grand Court of reception, where they embraced. Mother sighed. I have just spoken with Lucifer. He is ranting bitterly . . . malevolently . . . presuming thou wilt reject his plan.² For a prolonged moment She was silent, attempting to regain her composure. Our son is obsessed with hatred . . . with jealousy, tears streamed down Her face, and I am filled with grief. Despite his promises, he will not return to us.

Father said nothing. She looked into His face and saw sorrow. Their embrace tightened and they wept quietly.

So many times I have encompassed him with light, with joyful memories, with all my love . . . and he has responded, She whispered. Her voice became firm. "This time he drew near me with his mouth, and with his lips he did honor me, but he has removed his heart far from me.³ His only intent was to silence me, to be done with my pleadings."

His wisdom has perished, and his understanding has been hid, Father said softly.

"Why has he lost faith in us?"

He has not. He knows that all our promises will be fulfilled. But he wants more.

"Then he has lost faith in our Plan! He thinks he knows a better way."

As thou knowest, said Father, as gently as He could, his ‘better way’ is supreme selfishness.

How did evil spring from our celestial home? What is the source of this ugliness, this vulgarity, this . . . betrayal?

The source? Father withdrew from their embrace and looked into Mother’s desperate eyes. As He softly stroked Her hair, She felt His compassion, His unwavering devotion. She wanted to return His love, to ease His burden, to soothe His feelings; but for that moment She simply basked in the comfort and warmth of His light.

Father carefully considered Mother’s questions, peering deep into her gentle, compassionate soul. She was not requesting information; His omniscient companion knew that evil, throughout the Universe, had always existed. She and He had been subject to it during their own premortal and mortal lives. Having risen infinitely above and beyond the grasp of that evil, they had been able to shelter their home from its influence. But they would not safeguard their children forever; progression could not continue without opposition. A fullness of joy would never be realized without the experience of sorrow.⁵ They had known that evil would one day seep into their family, to test and teach and strengthen their children . . . and it had always been understood that wickedness would bring to pass heart-breaking casualties. There was no other way.

To recognize this in theory was hard enough, but now it was actually happening! Beloved children, born to them in the spirit, raised to spiritual maturity in their home, cherished and nurtured, were squandering their divine potential. And the evil was not seeping in, it was gushing in, flooding their family with bitterness and rebellion. Mother certainly remembered the sweet faces of those children, not that long ago, as She cradled them in Her arms and sang Her heavenly lullabies. Now their faces were twisted and angry. Why had they chosen to hate and rebel? They were being swallowed up by the very jaws of hell, and for the sake of their agency She could not stop it.

At length Father spoke the stinging truth, but in subdued tones. Lucifer lusts for ultimate power and wealth . . . he has been blinded by ambition. By immersing himself in wickedness, he truly believes he will find the power to overthrow our Kingdom . . . and enslave his own brothers and sisters.⁷ He paused and studied Mother’s face. The evil of which thou speakest has been embraced by the heart and mind of our own son; and now he cultivates and spreads his nefarious passions.

Is our infinite love not strong enough to draw him back? Can he not feel it? He was our sweet boy . . . . Mother closed Her eyes for an instant while a thousand happy memories passed through Her mind. "Now he fights to take that which we yearned to give him!⁸ She paused, lost in thought, then said quietly, Tender moments with young Lucifer shall always abide with me. We nurtured our son and delighted in his smiles. What cheer he brought to our home! When he journeyed with thee, how he loved to gaze upon the splendor of thy creations.

But now he wishes to crush us! And with his all-consuming rancor, with envy and a thirst for power, Lucifer shatters himself instead.

My heart is broken, said Mother. In him there is no light, now and forever to come. I had not realized that such sorrow could exist within a fullness of joy.¹⁰

The pattern of eternity was thundering through their family, as they knew it would; but a perfect understanding did not stop the profound grief of losing a son.

There have always been those who fall, said He, "who love darkness and shun light; who fear the truth which light reveals.¹¹ It has always been so, and now it happens again with us. He is fallen, is fallen, our Lucifer, Son of the Morning. Oh Lucifer, my son, my son!"¹² As Father spoke, tears of anguish formed in His piercing, eternal eyes.

She who is also Most Righteous and Holy wept as She declared, "He persuades so many to follow after him. With acidic lies he lures our children away from us; he deceives and blinds them, and leads them captive at his will.¹³ I understand that it must be, but the loss and betrayal leave me in such excruciating pain."

The silence that followed was lingering and poignant; at last Mother said, The appointed hour has come. Let us depart and stand in the midst of our children.

At once they were surrounded by those who were spirits, cherished sons and daughters, and Father remarked, Among all these are many of the noble and great ones. He and Mother saw these souls that they were good, and Father said, These I will make my rulers.¹⁴

Father turned to the multitude and raised His arms, signaling His intent to speak. The silence was immediate and profound; every eye was upon Him. He spoke in a voice that was not harsh, neither was it loud; nevertheless, it entered every mind, pierced them to the very center, and did cause their hearts to burn.¹⁵

"Beloved sons and daughters, all ye who have assembled yourselves together, Mother and I welcome you to the final session of our extraordinary Grand Council. This has been a momentous gathering. Throughout the eternities people will speak of it, prophets will write of it, and all will yearn to remember it clearly.

It has been wonderful to behold your faces and glorious to be in your presence! Your expressions of love and support, both in person and through prayer, have been heartfelt and deeply comforting to us.

"Although our family is now vast, we are still a family! We long for an end to jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes!¹⁶ See that ye love one another, as we have loved you!¹⁷ Treat each other with more kindness, more patience, more courtesy, and more forgiveness.¹⁸

"What joy you bring to us! From the days of your spiritual infancy to these days of your growth and maturity, we have held you in our arms, been by your side, and shared in your hopes and dreams. We have taught you, rejoicing in your successes, and comforting you in your struggles. We often recall our adventures and journeys together, our feasts and celebrations, the heartfelt talks we have had with each of you . . . and all these things have given you experience, and have been for your good.¹⁹ They have prepared you for this crucial point in eternity, this pivotal season of your First Estate.

"Now behold, as the Father of your spirits, my devotion to you is endless and eternal, for Endless and Eternal is my name.²⁰ Hearken unto me. Open your ears, that you may hear; your hearts, that you may understand; and your minds, that the mysteries of eternity may be unfolded to your view.²¹

Precious children, many of you have been deceived and have lost your way. Father looked over the entire multitude; his eyes were heavy with concern. With a mighty yet earnest voice he declared, "And we yearn for you, that you might return to us! But you harden your hearts and your ears are dull of hearing; you seek not for truth and righteousness, but walk in your own ways, setting aside our counsel, supposing you know of yourselves,²² thinking you can circumvent the way and find your own paths to happiness. Verily I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness!²³ You thirst for power, for glory, for riches . . . and travel down false, perverse, and dead-ended roads, attempting to satisfy your lusts. Some of you even believe . . . to achieve that which you seek . . . you must overthrow our Kingdom."²⁴

With this came gasps of horror and tears of sorrow. Shouts were heard, No, Father no! How can this be? Others cried, Who are these traitors? We shall stop them! But there were many whose countenances darkened and whose eyes glared defiantly.

Oh, my dear sons and daughters, can’t you see? Father beckoned Mother to come and stand by His side. They put their arms around each other, facing their children, and smiled. Father continued, "To those who have transgressed or been offended, we say, ‘come back!’ The path of repentance, though hard at times, lifts one ever upward and leads to a perfect forgiveness. To those who are hurt or are struggling and afraid, we say, let us stand with you and dry your tears.²⁵ If you feel estranged from us in any way, for any reason, we plead with you to return and stand with us! Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid!²⁶ We shall commune, one with another, and mend that which is broken. Come back to the arms of your loving parents, lest one day you cry, ‘The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!’²⁷

"Our deepest yearning is that each of you might be filled with a fullness of joy! Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into your hearts, the things we have prepared for those who love us; for if you love us, you will keep our commandments. And behold, the commandments will lead you to our greatest gift, even Life Eternal!²⁸ You cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for we will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours!²⁹

You have all been taught concerning these things . . . that in due time, if you keep your sacred covenants and rebel not, purifying yourselves through repentance and good works, your spirits shall be clothed in tabernacles of flesh and bone, as those you see we have.³⁰

Mother then said, "Verily, dear children, that day draweth near! You know that you must leave us for a short season . . . to experience life in a fallen, temporal world. Despite its relative brevity, your mortal journey will be a crucial point in your eternity. It will be designed specifically and very personally for you, a catalyst of sorts that will propel you toward exaltation.

"Father will bless you beforehand; yea, each of you shall receive your Father’s blessing. In it He will foreshadow your mortality and reveal unto you many of the trials, opportunities, and blessings that await you. Every one of you will be foreordained to accomplish specific purposes, render significant acts of service, and do much good in your lives; but you must choose light over darkness and love over selfishness.

"From your vantage point in this pre-mortal world, your mortal pathway will seem clear; but you will leave us cloaked in a veil of forgetfullness. On earth you must take the Holy Spirit for your guide.³¹ By this means your faith will develop and your agency will be made perfect."

Father then said, A fullness of joy cannot be gained without first experiencing sorrow, bereavement, loss, disappointment, rejection, pain, and finally death. You have all been carefully tutored in these things; yet hereafter, from your temporal perspective, they will seem more harsh and difficult to comprehend.

Father paused and looked over the vast congregation. His familiar, warm smile appeared, adding to the supernal glow of His countenance. "Nevertheless, my beloved children, be of good cheer! As you face these ordeals, I will be by your side. Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.³² For behold, I will give unto you line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom and find happiness, even in mortality; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, ‘We have enough,’ will be taken away even that which they have.³³

"Your very nature will become more divine as you face the significant challenges and rich experiences of earth life. Verily I say unto you, you shall find great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures of understanding.³⁴ Compassion, humility, sacrifice . . . faith, hope and charity . . . strength and great joy await you, my dear sons and daughters!"

Mother said, The crowning mission of your mortal lifetime will be to find an help meet, an eternal companion, and create your own family! It is not good for man or woman to be alone. You have, no doubt, already felt a profound desire for closeness . . . for someone with whom you can share your life. You and your beloved may become parents . . . and experience a new kind of love, a powerful and God-like love, even the love of a parent for a child.

Father extended His arm toward His Firstborn and said, Jehovah and Michael will go down and organize an earth, whereon you may dwell. Others will be called to assist in this great work . . . and when all things are prepared, we shall form your physical bodies from the dust of that earth, and it shall come to pass that the blood of mortality will flow through your veins.

There stood One among them that was like unto God, and He said unto those who were with Him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; And they who keep their First Estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their First Estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their First Estate; and they who keep their Second Estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.³⁵

Father nodded. Jehovah, thou hast spoken in clarity and truth. He turned again to the congregation and said, Though a veil will be in place, each of you, at the age of accountability, will have a knowledge of good and evil. As you live according to the light and knowledge you have received, you will be blessed with even more light. Father looked into the faces of his vast progeny. "Yes, you are beginning to understand. Although you will be separated from us, we will not leave you comfortless.³⁶ As Mother said, the Holy Spirit must be your guide; The Holy Spirit is also the Comforter, and may be with you always,³⁷ according to your faithfullness. But beware. In the days of your mortality there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, showing great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, many will be deceived, even the very elect!"³⁸

There was silence in Heaven for the space of many hours, while the children of God pondered these words and searched the feelings of their hearts.

And it came to pass that many were struck with fear; yea, the silence was broken with sounds of weeping and piercing expressions of heartache. Countless spirits began disputing, one with another, and the peace they had enjoyed was shattered. Father and Mother went among the multitude, calming, admonishing, teaching of faith and repentance, and embracing their precious offspring; they listened intently and answered many questions. Millions of the noble and great ones also went forth, teaching and exhorting their spiritual siblings. They all spoke of hope and opportunity, love and reconciliation . . . testifying of the Plan with faith and absolute confidence.

At length, Father and Mother returned to their place in the midst of their children, signaling their intent to resume speaking. The commotion ceased, and all eyes were upon Father.

"O remember, remember, that whoso treasureth up my word, as it shall be proclaimed by my holy prophets, shall not be deceived!³⁹ Without agency there would be no growth and no Eternal Life! Wherefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye will be free to act for yourselves – to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of Eternal Life.⁴⁰

"Our Plan, this Great Plan of Happiness, would utterly fail, and all mankind would perish, were it not for a mighty and merciful Redeemer.⁴¹ There must be One who will deliver you from your fallen state. He will satisfy the demands of justice; yea, He will rescue you from death, and pay the penalty for your sins! And when your mortal probation is over, when you have breathed your last breath and finished your test, when you are battered and beaten with earthly cares, He will encircle you about in the arms of his love,⁴² wiping away your mortal scars, and healing your broken hearts.⁴³ And so, beloved sons and daughters, I ask, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?⁴⁴

Mother stepped forward and addressed the host of spirits. "We must send One who is holy;⁴⁵ One with infinite strength and goodness, capable of bearing the griefs and sorrows and sins of mankind;⁴⁶ One with perfect love and devotion, willing to drink the bitter cup and not shrink;⁴⁷ One who can be touched with the feeling of your infirmities, and in all points tempted, yet without sin;⁴⁸ One who will descend below all things, that He may comprehend all things;⁴⁹ One who will descend deep into despair, into profound agony, to cover, to forgive, to rescue His brothers and sisters, and, as Father said, encircle them about eternally in the arms of His love;⁵⁰ He must perform an infinite atonement⁵¹ and be the Savior of the world."⁵²

And One answered like unto the Son of Man, Here am I, send me. Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.

And another answered and said, Here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.

And Father said, Lucifer, thou seekest to destroy the agency of man. He then looked across the vast gathering and declared resolutely: I will send the first.⁵³

With that pronouncement the multitude of heavenly hosts could no longer hold back their delight! They thrilled over The Great Plan of Happiness! Countless people began singing a mighty hymn of jubilation, fervently praising their Father and His Son! Others simply shouted for joy!⁵⁴

But Lucifer was angry, and kept not his First Estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.⁵⁵

Father and Mother were calmed by the goodness of their Firstborn Son. He is the Way, Father said, "and there is no other way for our children to reach their full measure and stature.⁵⁶ Our loyal ones will choose His light over darkness.⁵⁷ Through His example, they will learn to do all things whatsoever I command.⁵⁸ From the bitter and the sweet will come wisdom⁵⁹ . . . and humility. Charity will be found in their hearts⁶⁰ and we shall bestow upon them our greatest gift, even Life Eternal.⁶¹ With Him, and with them, we will share all that we have!⁶² Look with me, beloved Mother of a sempiternal host, to a time not far distant, when we shall be surrounded by our loving, stalwart children . . . tried, tested, strengthened, enlightened, saved, resurrected, and exalted! How great shall be their joy! How great shall be our joy!"⁶³

Together, in each other’s arms, Father and Mother beheld a glorious vision.

I take comfort, whispered She, "in our Beloved Firstborn Son. In Him I am well pleased. He is a fountain of boundless joy, of grace and truth, of compassion and charity. He, even now, is like unto thee.⁶⁴ How did these opposite spirits, these diametrically different sons, come forth from the same womb?"

He who stood with the noble and great, He who was like unto God, He who had just been chosen, emerged again from the heavenly host and smiled. Do not weep, Mother. Father, thy will be done. I shall be the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I shall work with thee to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. And the honor and the glory be thine, forever and ever, amen.⁶⁵

Oh my son! cried Mother. She took Him by His hands and drew Him into Her arms. Father joined the embrace and the three of them wept, in sorrow and in joy.


Loss of Light

36 The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.

37 Light and truth forsake that evil one.

38 Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.

39 And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.

– Doctrine and Covenants 93:36-39

Sunday, March 9, 2025 1:27 a.m.

Mark was delighted that climbing a glacier, in the middle of the night, was so easy. He didn’t feel cold, he had perfect traction on the most slippery-looking surfaces, and he was moving up the mountain faster than he had ever climbed before. It felt a little like hiking up an escalator; every step produced amazing returns. He was surprised that he didn’t feel winded or tired; he wasn’t even hungry or thirsty. Looking to the side he watched rows of cascading pine trees appear and then fade away. Soon there were no trees, just snow and rock. He didn’t know how he had gotten on the steep slope of a totally unfamiliar mountain; he just knew he wanted to get to the top.

Even though it was a dark, moonless night, Mark could see everything quite clearly. He looked around the eerie, caliginous landscape and wondered how that could be; for there were no stars and no other sources of light.

Sunday, March 9, 2025 1:27 a.m.

At the top of the mountain, in a place of profound darkness, on a glorious hand-carved throne, sat an unfathomable man . . . alone and deep in thought. His mind reeled with visions of raging, relentless battles . . . battles that would soon become even more fierce, more brutal, and more fervent . . . to a magnitude never before seen among the children of men; and then it would all end. He curled his lips in determination, shut his eyes, and saw victory! He tasted it, smelled it, and felt it, right down to the center of his spirit-bones. Complete the revolution! Seize all power! Enslave all enemies! Take Father’s throne! Become the Most High!

But a different picture kept invading his indomitable spirit, threatening to stifle his passion, to weaken his focus, to annihilate his eternal plan. It was the face of his Mother. Her heartbroken expressions had played in his mind a billion times and then a billion times more. And there She was again. His countenance darkened and his body shook. Standing abruptly, breathing deeply, he screamed vile words and curses, chasing away the nightmare of Her wounded image.

Sunday, March 9, 2025 1:45 a.m.

Mark continued his climb over the dark, frozen, now barren slope. The alpine glacier cut a straight path, taking him directly up the mountainside. Hiking the steep glacial ice should have been grueling . . . but it was easy, physically anyway. Emotionally it was becoming perilous. The slight, pleasant breeze of a few moments earlier had become a harsh wind . . . icy and penetrating. It blew relentlessly into his face, but he felt the life-threatening coldness in his chest.

Sunday, March 9, 2025 1:52 a.m.

Still deep in thought, pacing the floor now, the man enthroned on the mountain top waited impatiently for the arrival of his guest. Flickering in his memory and contributing to his current angst were long ago but vivid memories of his Mother’s face. Her expression was contorted, sorrowful . . . devastated; it blazed through his mind each time he persuaded a brother or sister to join the insurgence. He hated Her for looking that way, for trying to manipulate him with guilt. Thousands of years had passed, and still Her poison bewitched him. The best antidote, he had found, was laughter. So he laughed, and laughed, and cursed and laughed, and soon he felt just fine.

Sunday, March 9, 2025 1:57 a.m.

Mark spotted what he believed to be the final steep incline leading toward a strange, glowing summit; but he wasn’t sure he’d ever get there. The frigid wind was not physical; he was almost certain of that. It was on the inside he felt numb, and he feared he was suffering from spiritual hypothermia.

He looked curiously at the mountain’s top, unexplainably visible, looming over him in the darkness. The view was now totally unobstructed by lower crests and peaks. He couldn’t imagine what he would find if he ever made it up there, and he grappled with the absurdity of his nighttime trek. As he plodded upward, a stabbing pain pierced his frozen heart, leaving a growing sense of apprehension in its wake. It was like a tightening knot of dread . . . a foreboding that he was giving up everything . . . trading away the most precious, sacred parts of his heart for absolutely nothing. And he had apparently commenced this escapade without carefully thinking it through. He couldn’t even remember starting the climb! He was just blindly following an irrational impulse that seemed to satisfy the monstrous side of his nature.

Sunday, March 9, 2025 2:28 a.m.

The cold and dark were incredibly thick now, creating an atmosphere almost impossible to penetrate. Mark was pushing through what he hoped would be the last stretch of rugged terrain. The blasting wind had stopped, leaving a silent, frozen calm in its wake; but the stillness and tranquility of the icy solitude did not soothe his heart. He was trudging along in profound silence, unable to hear even his own movement through the vaporous landscape, feeling trapped in a sort of Stygian gloom.

The darkness dissipated a bit when he took a decisive leap over a deep chasm and stepped up to a vast plane. As he set foot on what he thought was the mountain’s top, he could vaguely discern a final steep and rocky apex jutting out of the flatland. A moment later, in the middle of his next step, everything changed. The snow, ice, and barren ground were gone. Unexpectedly and abruptly the sky was blue, the air warm, and an immense, glowing castle, positioned on the peak’s absolute high point, came into view. The colossal structure was surrounded by formal gardens of trees, flowers, manicured shrubbery, and dark green grass. A walking path through the grounds looked as though it led to the castle.

Mark was astounded; nothing made any sense. For the first time on his bedeviling journey he spoke outside his mind, in whispered breath, What the hell is going on? A bolt of fear flashed through his entire body. Am I dead? He shut his eyes in horror and didn’t move for a long time. Then cautiously, inhaling deeply, he looked again. He could still see; he was breathing and thinking; he took a step . . . he could move. Eventually, convinced he was alive and detecting no immediate threat, he relaxed a little. It was a relief to be out of the cold. As he had supposed, the blasts of frigid crosswinds had been emotional in nature, for a careful evaluation of his toes, legs, arms, hands, fingers, and neck, confirmed that everything wiggled, rotated, and flexed just fine. Clearly, the frostbite had not been physical.

Despite the warmth of the beautiful summit and the ostensible calm of the place, Mark continued to feel uneasy. His emotions were thawing and he was troubled. He felt alone. He felt like he was betraying his parents, himself, and even God Almighty. But his reaction to these disquieting sentiments was not a humble one. He was angry! Why couldn’t he emotionally break loose from his childhood? Why was he