Let us suppose that you in your wisdom bought 8 helium balloons for oldest daughter’s 8th birthday. Let us also suppose that your daughters have decided that this is a new family tradition for every birthday. It will be rigorously observed, they decree, if you love them.
Let us suppose that you do love them.
Saturday night finds you scurrying into the dollar store for balloons for middle daughter’s birthday tomorrow. With noted resource and ingenuity, you shepherd the balloons home through the high winds.
Sunday morning finds your wife gone to a remote Indian branch for church work, middle daughter fizzing, oldest and youngest daughter also fizzing, and you presiding over the home. Balloons are great, middle daughter says, I love balloons, I love my birthday, I love you, Joseph Smith was a great prophet, only Jesus was a greater prophet because he was better at being a prophet, I want an omelet for breakfast, oh dear birthdays are lots of fun.
With noted resource and ingenuity, you devise a game with the balloons. You will hide while middle daughter counts in the utility room. You will leave a trail of balloons from the utility room to your hiding place. She will track the balloons to your hiding place, while oldest and youngest daughter encourage her with word and gesture.
The game is a repeated success.
Middle daughter now insists on a variation. You will count, she will leak balloons while she runs off to hide. You trace the balloons, no daughter is to be found, she hid an entirely different part of the home. You shrug, and go to knot your tie.
When you emerge, oldest daughter is frustrated. She is at the end of a trail of balloons, but can’t find middle daughter’s hiding place. Anger battles with tears.
Once again, middle daughter hid elsewhere. You haul her out and ask her why she broke the rules. Because its easier to win, Dad, she says. You explain that it’s cheating. Oldest daughter hovers vindicationively. After you explain, middle daughter comprehends–oh. Oh. Oh! Then a thought occurs. But oldest daughter told me to do it, she says! Your roar of laughter is not voluntary.
In the pews, you contemplate the testifiers. One talks about her coworkers magic underwear queries. One talks about the experience of suddenly thinking of one’s dead parents and grandparents and what they would think now of your living children and grandchildren. One muses on religious freedom that is maintained at the price of wounded soldiers. One–youngest daughter–testifies that
I like that Jesus died and came back to life.
My favorite part of the Book of Mormon is all of it.
Family is important.
Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Oldest daughter talks in Primary. Moses, Jesus, and Joseph Smith were all prophets, she says. She describes in detail the angel slaying of the firstborn sons of Egypt. Audible gasps from young mouths. Conclusion: we should follow the prophets. Amen.