Abish was a woman who worked in the palace where Ammon, a popular Book of Mormon missionary, was temporarily serving the king as a shepherd. She had been converted but no one else in her community believed in the church and she had to keep her own testimony private. Despite having no friends who were members of the church, despite not having scriptures to read or a congregation to attend, she held on to her testimony and grew it. One day, after Ammon had saved the king’s flocks, the king called Ammon to him, and after being taught the gospel he was so overcome by the spirit he lost consciousness for several days. It was believed by everyone but his wife that he was dead and must be buried. The queen called Ammon to her and told him she believed her husband was still alive.
Ammon went to see the king and then told the wife her husband would rise the next day. He asked her if she believed him. Despite the fact that she’d not been a member of the church, she did believe, gaining an instant testimony. Ammon praised her great faith. The spirit was so strong, the queen and Ammon also lost consciousness. This was Abish’s great moment in history. She knew what was happening. She knew the Holy Ghost was present and that miracles were about to happen. Having so much faith, she wanted others to witness the miracle, so they would also be converted, so she ran to spread the word.
Things didn’t go quite as she planned, however. The people who gathered began to shout horrible things about Ammon, calling him a Nephite monster. Abish’s heart was broken and she cried. She went to the queen and took her hand. As she hoped, the queen awakened. The queen immediately began to call on the Savior to have mercy on her people, who were wicked. Then she took her husband’s hand and he awakened, and began to teach the gospel to the people. Then the real miracles began. Some people stopped shouting and listened. Some were converted and those who weren’t left the palace. Ammon eventually rose and also began teaching the gospel. Those who had stayed to hear the preaching asked to be baptized.
Many, many people were converted that day because a servant girl had maintained her testimony under difficult circumstances and had had enough faith to gather a crowd for the miracles she knew were to come. Abish, although not considered one of the major heroes of the Book of Mormon, is an amazing example of what can happen when only one person has faith and spiritual courage.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.