Friday, November 12, 2010

A proper afternoon tea for two little girls

Yesterday at 4:00 p.m. two little nine-year-old girls showed up on my doorstep for afternoon tea.  This was all according to plan, and part of wrapping up my old "calling," or church responsibility, of being Primary chorister, wherein I teach the 3-12 year olds in my congregation songs about Jesus.

One of these little girls was a regular part of my Primary, the other was not.  In fact, this other girl and her family are not members of my faith.  Rather, both girls attend the same international school, and the little LDS girl had, on occasion, brought the other to Primary and to Church activities.  We will call the LDS girl Jenny, the other Sarah.

Over mint and rose tea and a few sweets, Sarah said, "I know Jewish people have to marry other Jewish people - is it the same for Mormons?"

Jenny quickly said no, Mormons could marry non-Mormons.  I added that they could, but it is strongly encouraged for us to marry in LDS temples.  After explaining how, in the temple, there is power and the place for two people to marry for "time and all eternity" rather than to death do us part, I continued to explain that marrying outside of the faith is hard for other reasons.

In addition to lifestyle differences (of which she knew much; based on Jenny's telling her about the Mormon health standard, Sarah had convinced her family not to drink coffee or caffeinated tea), there was another difference that made all the difference: if you knew that you would be able to go to the happiest place you could ever imagine after this life, you would want people you love, especially the person you most loved, to be there, too.

Jenny pipped up.  "That's why I have told Sarah all about the gospel - because she's my best friend in the whole world, and I want her to be there with me."

It got better.  I proceeded to explain the difference being a baptized member of the Church makes.  "You know the good feeling you get sometimes when you talk to Jenny?" I asked Sarah, who nodded vigorously.  "Well, after you get baptized, you are given the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  If you keep the commandments after that point, you can always have that same wonderful feeling with you.  And you want the people you love to have that same happiness."

Jenny again stepped in, and gave the most beautiful rendition of what the Spirit feels like I have ever heard, let alone from a child: "The Spirit feels like your heart is taking a warm bath after its been out in the cold rain, and you feel like everything will always be alright."

Out of the mouth of babes.  And I thought I was simply going to host two little girls for tea and review a few Primary songs in preparation for our annual Primary Programme this Sunday...

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