“Didn’t He Say Everybody?”


Mom, how do you spell my?

M-y. What are you doing, Shawnie?”

“Writing my life story. How do you spell name?

N-a-m-e. Shawnie, don’t you think it would be better to wait until after first grade, when you can write better?”

“Oh, no. I can do it just fine. How do you spell is?

I-s. But, Shawnie. It’s going to take an awfully long time this way.”

“No, it won’t. I know how to spell Shawnie.

“That’s good. But why are you doing it now, when next year it will be so much easier?”

“Mommy, didn’t President Kimball say that every member of the Church should write their personal history?”

His, Shawnie. His personal history.”

“Oh. You mean it’s just the boys?”

“No, no. I mean, grammatically, when you say every, which is singular … never mind. Yes. You’re right. Everyone has been asked to write their story. I mean, his story.”

“Then I should do it, shouldn’t I?”

“But honey, I think President Kimball just meant people who can write.”

“Oh. Did he say that?”

“Not exactly. But he did say members of the Church, and that means people who are old enough to be baptized. And everyone who is old enough for baptism is ordinarily old enough to write.”

“You mean, I’m not a member of the Church?”

“Well, you’re a child of record.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means that your name is on the Church records and that everyone knows you are trying to learn the things you need to know to become a member of the Church as soon as you’re old enough.”

“Then I’m not even a Mormon?”

“Well, you’re a practicing Mormon. You’re getting ready for the day when you’ll join the Church.”

“Good. Then I’ll practice by writing my ortobiography.”

“Auto, Shawnie.”

“Ought to what?”

“Shawnie, I’ve got an idea. You tell me what you want to say, and I’ll write it down for you.”

“Thanks, mom. And can you read me yours, too, so I can see what you wrote?”

“Well, mine’s not quite done, honey. I haven’t had much time to work on it. Mommies are real busy, you know.”

“Oh, yeah. I didn’t think of that. Well, then, you can work on yours at the same time I work on mine. I’ll write mine by myself; then you’ll have time. Good idea?”

“Yes, Shawnie. A good idea.”

“Mom?”

“Yes, Shawnie.”

“How do you spell happy?

[photo] Photography by Jed A. Clark

Sharon Elwell, mother of three, is music leader in her Napa, California, ward.