Zoram: Traveler to the Lands Of Mormon

By Sonja Atkinson

Zoram is based on events described in the first two books of the Book of Mormon, told through the eyes of Zoram, servant first of IMG_0488 2Laban, then of Laman of the House of Lehi. The riveting story in the Book of Mormon that recounts the journey of Lehi’s caravan in the wilderness, and its challenges, is the setting for the events that affect Zoram as he and his wife suffer the trials of such a journey. Zoram is a person worthy of a personal blessing from Lehi, and yet a person about whom we have very little detail. The story stays true to what is said about Zoram while using his character to create the world of Lehi’s time. Names and personalities are given to people such as Ishmael and his daughters, and carefully researched details draw the reader into the story, presenting what life might have been like on such a trek.
Zoram was orphaned when he was ten and lived precariously in the streets of Jerusalem. A camel train driver, who was very rough with him, picked him up and made him one of his servants. The driver sold Zoram to a kindly merchant who treated Zoram like a son, teaching him bookkeeping and reading. When he was a young man, Zoram inherited the merchant stall of his foster father, but lost his stall when he went into debt to Laban, a wealthy, conniving winebibber, in order to buy jewelry for an Egyptian courtesan. Laban illegally altered the debt agreement, securing Zoram and his skills as his bondservant.
In a dramatic encounter with Nephi, the principal person in the first two books of the Book of Mormon, Zoram becomes a free servant in the House of Lehi. As the servant of Laman, Zoram was influenced by him, and also by Lehi and Nephi. His path to an understanding of the truths proclaimed by Nephi was a slow but steady one. One of Zoram’s personal traits is loyalty, and he wants to remain loyal to Laman, but struggles to do so when Laman has times when he rebels against his father, against going further and further away from Jerusalem, against God, and tries to harm his brother, Nephi.
Zoram is aware that his wife, the oldest of Ishmael’s daughters, named Miriam in the story, does not believe in God. She says that even if He is real, she doesn’t believe He takes a benevolent interest in any of them. Pointing to the scar from a childhood accident that rendered her mute, her query is “Where was God?”
A young woman brought to the camp to marry the son of Lehi’s servant brings an idol of the goddess of fertility, causing a problem for Zoram and Miriam because Miriam joined a few of the women when they went off to worship the idol.
Because of his own personal integrity Zoram was able to maintain both the trust of Laman and the esteem of Nephi. When they reach the new land, the dissention between the brothers reaches its breaking point, and Zoram must decide whether to go with Laman or with Nephi. It is the culmination of Zoram’s continuing struggle, because in several instances in the story Laman has been a kind and considerate master, and Zoram wants above all else to be loyal.
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