Sanctity of life

The weeks passed and after a few months, I considered myself settled in. I decided to live in a city close to The Master’s home. Instead of bothering with rent, I found a corner ally to call my own. I used my money to buy supplies for my shelter and food. Just to keep on the safe side, I continue my low profile.

Even after months, I still couldn’t understand why there were so many children here. They outnumber the adults and, after doing the math, it’s impossible that they were all born here. I asked The Lady about this one afternoon while I served dinner. She shared with me a bit about the area’s culture.

Although successful, the city and surrounding villages were small. It was the community’s main interest to grow. Over the recent years, the governing officials have taken in children from the overcrowded orphanages in other cities. Once brought here, they would start in an orphanage. After a week or so, they would start meeting everyone in the city and surrounding villages. This place takes the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” seriously. In this system, the hope was that the children would be adopted or at least find their place in society.

The Lady explained that the Great Spirit is what sends children, as a gift to married couples. Children were special and they taught patience, compassion, love, and selflessness. Not only are the children you raise the ones who will take your place, but they are teachers of values and vessels of happiness.

Even after her speech, The Lady could tell that I still didn’t quite understand the why. She said that I would simply have to try with faith.


*This chapter explains why people get married and have children, and why they bother with children. Personally, I never understood why children were considered perfect until age 8. They can be total monsters! Then I thought maybe children are considered a physical and spiritual trial for the parents, thus God doesn’t hold the children responsible because they’re supposed to be trials.

But more than that, parents are responsible for raising the next generation, the people to replace them. In order to raise a good generation, the LDS Family Proclamation states that parents should, “rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live”. The Great Spirit is in reference to God. Children are “[His] heritage”, and thus is putting immense truth in righteousness parents.

How do you view children? I would love to hear the views from the people of my generation, fellow young adults and teenagers. Comment wherever you can, I’d love to talk to you.*


Why Marriage

Despite my initial disgust of what my new life on the Surface would be, I worked too hard to get out of the Underground. I’ve got to give this a shot. I was able to find a yukata and bought a wig with the last of my money to cover my unconventional half-black, half-blond hair. I hid my tantos, my daggers, in the knot of my obi and begin to look for a job.

To skip to the point, I got a job as a housekeeper to a merchant’s home. He liked to bring his wife to his business meetings and needed someone to watch and keep the house. A servant, basically. I’ve got to start somewhere, I guess. Fortunately, it wasn’t as boring as I imagined. The lord and lady of the house seemed genuinely interesting in getting to know me and I continued to learn the Surface’s culture.

For the first week, The Master of the house stayed behind while The Lady went out for errands and the likes. As I quickly learned, The Master wanted to learn more about me specifically, like a background check. I admitted that I didn’t want to talk about where I came from and I was new around here. Naturally, I added that I was grateful that I found this job so quickly. He said that was one of the reasons he hired me, because I was new in town. He said he valued new opinions, and that I defiantly look new.

He asked what I thought of his wife, The Lady. I said she looked respectable and that I looked forward to getting to know her. Before The Master left, he mentioned that his wife looks after their grandchildren often (“Great,” I thought). Then he said something I won’t soon forget, “Sometimes I’m jealous that she gets to stay home with the kids. And other times I don’t know how she does it. She’s an inspiration.” I just smiled, because I couldn’t speak. I got a lump in my throat and was overcome by a feeling. I’ve known this man for one day and the first thing he tells about himself is his love for his wife. I couldn’t even continue working. I just lost myself in awe, shock, and confusion.

The Master went to bed early and The Lady came home later than expected. As she was about to see me off, I had to ask her about The Master. Did she know that he admired her like that? The Lady raised her wrinkled cheeks into a smile and said, “of course I do.” I asked how she earned his admiration, and this time she looked at me in confusion.

“You do not earn the love of your spouse, child. You marry with love and it grows the longer you are one. He supports me and I support him.” She went on to say that The Master takes her with him onto business trips because he values her insights. As they consider and sacrifice for each other, that’s how they’ve grown to be one. It was all going over my head. Giving yourself to another person… in order to grow yourself? It doesn’t seem right.

The Lady sent me off to think about it and said she would see me tomorrow for work. As I thought, I looked through the fresh garbage and found tablecloths and old clothes. I climbed to the roof of the nearest building, made by bed of clothes and a table cloth, and tried to sleep.


*This chapter has a little more of direct message. This chapter’s inspiration came from David A. Bednar’s “Marriage is Essential to His Eternal Plan”. Such things I drew from included, “The Natures of man and female spirits complete and perfect each other, and therefore men and women are intended to progress together…” and “… they [husband and wife] learn to serve and cherish one another, as they share life experiences and grow together and become one.” These are principles, I feel, that any married couple can implement, regardless of religion. As Bednar goes on to explain, when children see parents serving each other, it will compel them to be less self-centered.

Do you agree with this? Is complete respect and love in marriage a realistic goal? Give your thoughts in the comment section and see you next time!*


But that’s all past. I’m free from the Underground now, I earned it. As I said before, I’ve been on the Surface for about a week. I’m going to be a normal person now. I haven’t actually gone into any of the surrounding cities or villages, but instead I’ve been making observations. Like a creep…

Anyway, I can sum up what I’ve seen in one word: peaceful. People aren’t afraid of one another, shop owners aren’t suspicious of anyone that walks in, people talk to each other for enjoyment instead of business. But aside from that, I closely studied the women to see how I would be expected to act and look. Needless to say, it was the exact opposite of how I was raised.

What anybody looks for in life is happiness. I was taught that happiness comes from being protected, which can only come from yourself. You are the only person you can trust with your life. You have a responsibility to yourself to build the highest and thickest walls you can. To obtain this protection, Sensei enlisted me into the Underground’s police force, the Killjoys. Obviously, this force was unofficial and ragtag in nature. Regardless, we has skilled personal, weaponry, and special connections. Those who didn’t hate or fear us respected us. Put together, this is the recipe for protection. So I should be happy, rights?

Obviously not, seeing as I’m starting my life over. So how should I be instead; what do women on the Surface do? The exact opposite of what I’ve been doing my whole life. Their modest, kind, open, giving. My first reaction was shock. How could they afford to be so careless? I soon learned that it’s the men that take the role of protecting their wives AND their children. So what do the women do? They clean, cook, watch the children, and other various tasks. How boring! I left the anarchy of the Underground to trade it for a life of servitude?! Now I know why everyone looks so peaceful, they do nothing but the most trivial tasks life has to offer. Is this what brings happiness to these people?


*First of all, thank you for still reading. J

Here, we see a little more into Sahera’s upbringing and her values from the Underground. So now she has to blend in. The views that Sahera expresses about women are views that you often hear today, comparing motherhood to servitude. While it’s true, the nature of motherhood is that the rewards reaped are evident only within her family. That’s something that’s implied in this chapter, that a woman’s rewards are her own. They are scarcely if ever fully recognized by people outsider her family. Ezra Taft Benson said in the talk “To The Mothers in Zion”, “No more sacred word exists in secular or holy writ than that of mother. There is no more noble work than that of a good and God-fearing mother”. This is something Sahera will experience in later chapters.

What are your views on motherhood in these modern times? What do you admire about your mother? Leave a comment and I hope you enjoyed the chapter.*

Sahera’s Past

Which is better: To have questionably committed parents disappear one night, or to have two cohabitation adults adopt you out of obligation? I suppose this is where the source of my confusion began. Who can I trust?

I was raised by a man named Sensei. At least that’s all I’ve ever known him by. Sensei has been my most solid parental figure since I can remember. As the story goes, he found me when I knocked on his dojo door asking for food. My hair was a long, black, rat’s nest and I wore nothing but panties and a plastic trash bag as a poncho. A single, homeless child is rare in the Underground. Most orphans are taken to the surface, to have a humane upbringing. The few children that are down here either stick to their mothers like glue or are “picked off” during the night. Fortunately, Sensei still had his conscience even after years of living in the Underground. He asked me where my parents were and I said I didn’t know. He convinced me, as a child, to take him to my parent’s apartment. From what he could tell, Sensei told me that my parents had gathers all the house’s valuables and left me. I don’t remember a single thing about them.

Sensei knew what happened to children who stay in the Underground. He said I could live with him in his dojo if I made myself useful. As a child, all I knew was that my other parents weren’t coming back and this man was saying I could stay with him. So I agreed and accepted this man as my new father. Fortunately, Sensei made the same offer to a little boy a year or so before. This little boy, Kyuzo, was rescued by Sensei as a baby after his parents got caught in a deadly “misunderstanding” with fellow business colleagues. I had a brother and a father, now I needed a mother. Where do you find mothers?

Sensei was doing fine raising Kyuzo on his own. Kyuzo earned his keep by doing chores, errands, and learning the arts of the dojo. Sensei was permanently injured and was eager to see his skills pasted on. Living with Sensei meant working hard, but we all tried to have a positive attitude about our lives. Then, Sensei found us a mother. She was a nurse – of sorts – at the Pit. The Pit is a large building that’s used as a jail, hospital, and mental asylum all in one. If you’re not obedient, you become what’s called a Mix-Up, where they “accidentally” mix up your records with someone else in the Pit. Usually, it’s prison inmates that get switched into the mental ward, which is not a wing of a hospital so much as a holding wing for experiments. Experiments such as how much pain can a human stand? What will this chemical do to the human psyche?

Needless to say, our new mother implemented some elements of her job into our discipline. Looking back, her threats of torture and experimentation were usually empty threats. However, we still obeyed her commands immediately. I don’t know about my brother, but I did it because I thought it would make her happy. I thought I would be the one to melt Mother’s frozen heart. In an odd way, she did care about how Kyuzo and I were raised, she just valued different things. Sensei wanted out help in the dojo and to learn his arts. Mother wanted us to learn the realities of life in the Underground by assisting her in the Pit.

As I learned in later years, Mother and Sensei were past lovers or something. But they had this strange tension, like they wanted to be together but somehow commitment was bad. That’s why Sensei chose and convinced Mother to be our mother. He wanted to try working together to prove to her that there is good in life, that a marriage in the Underground could work. Mother and Sensei almost never agree on anything, but they never shout either. They don’t live together anymore, yet they are parenting Kyuzo and I as if they were. They say things like, “what does your father say” and “what would your mother do”. They decided that one or both of us kids would stay at the dojo or the Pit for a few days and then switch. That way we would learn in two different ways.

Growing up, I would ask myself: are we a family or are we neighbors who trade kids throughout the week? What is a family?



*This chapter takes a look into life in the Underground for a child, or how a child might feel family-less. Is being kept alive by an adult really all that families do? Why should people bother to form tradition families?

What I’ve learned is that families are not just about making children and keeping them alive. It’s not just about adults proving their love and commitment to each other. It’s not just about rising the next generation. The family is about all of these things working together. Unity, love, and support are what families provide. In the LDS church, we believe that it’s also about raising children in the gospel so they can grow up righteous. Parents need to be together and stick together for the sake of the stability of the children. Families are meant to be synonymous with safety, in all senses of the word. As stated by Elder Oaks in “Protect the Children”, “The most powerful teaching of children is by the example of the parents.” The childhood experience that Sahera describes obviously taught her negative lessons about life.

Do you have questions? Do you agree with what I’ve said? Please respond in the comment section.*


My name is Rikisha Sahera. This is my first week on the Surface. I’m writing to record my past and to provide evidence for what can happen to a society when core, traditional values are lost.

This society is called the Underground, where I was born and raised. Not only does its name refer to its hub of illegal activity, but that the city was built inside a mountain in a southern Japanese mountain range. The whole idea for this underground city was proposed by the Americans. Japan was known for petty crime as well as its advancements. The Americans convinced Japan to adopt one of its own criminal restriction tactics: put them all in their own city and let them fend for themselves. Eventually, the Underground also expanded to house the insane, be used as a landfill, and become the base of operations for other illegal organizations that were beneficial to the government.

As a result, the appearance of Japan on the Surface improved over the years as its problems seemed to disappear. The only people besides choice government officials that know about the Underground are scientists. A variety of scientists. The Underground created an environment that was only theoretical before, particularly to sociologists. What would happen to a society where the illegal became legal, where you could literally do whatever you wanted and had to submit to the consequences derived from your peers? The only piece of the Outside that came into the Underground were the scientists and officials, who lived in the Tower that loomed over the whole city. They did nothing to keep us safe from one another or anything else, which would ruin the sociologist’s observations. In addition, generations seem to be nonexistent here. People rarely reach their golden years and new criminals are brought in regularly. But the scary part is that some individuals think that children have no place here. They’ve created a small, unnamed group to kidnap children born in the Underground and take them to the Surface, supposedly for their own safety. While this may be true, such actions make families almost nonexistent. This makes the individual the most important thing to an individual. Despite growing up here, I knew that none of this was right.


*I hope you could feel the depression and hopelessness that comes when children, families, and values are not protected. This was a prologue to give background to future writings. But there are a few main points that are implied here that the character, Sahera, will be thinking through. What does family mean? Why is family important? Why are children important? What’s a women’s “proper role” supposed to be? Why should government or society care about families?

These are a few questions that I’ve been asking myself. I’ve had this story’s characters and setting for a while now, but I’ve had no use for them. But now, I’m using this story to explore a woman’s thoughts about family. These thoughts are my own questions and confusions about what my place in the world is and why I should have a family.

What do you think? Could neglecting the family really cause societal apathy about values and peers? Give me your quick thoughts in the comment section.*


Hello. This section, Importance of the Family, will be a compilation of the things I’ve been going through and learning in the BYUI religion class, Eternal Families. The class teaches LDS beliefs about marriage, family, and their role in God’s eternal plan.

To make this subject easier for me to write about, I will be telling some, most, or all of my experiences from the perspective of one of my personal fictional characters, Sahera. In recent years, she has become an representation of my fears and confusion about the family and marriage.

If you have questions, are confused about what I write, or wish to have a discussion, please comment.