Last-days Kids


My mom always calls me a Last-days Kid. She says it as a compliment whenever I’m especially good. Or she’ll say it to prompt me when she knows that I can do better. Sometimes she calls me that to reassure me that I can do a difficult task: “Sure you can give that talk in front of the whole ward at the Scout banquet, Ryan. You’re a Last-days Kid.”

What it means is that I’m probably one of the really good spirits chosen to be born during the last days. And it’s not just me. Mom says lots of children born now are special kids. She volunteered to help out in my fourth grade class once a week, and she continually marveled at how bright we all were. “Of course, you might all be Last-days Kids,” she’d say.

I asked her if everybody in my class could be Last-days Kids. “I thought it was only kids in our church,” I said.

“No,” Mom answered. “Any child born now, whether to LDS parents or not, might have been saved to come forth at this time. You could all be Last-days Kids.”

Suddenly I didn’t seem so special anymore. Then I thought of Kevin, my best friend. If he was a Last-days Kid, too, maybe he’d like to come to Primary with me. I’d love it if he’d join the Church. I’m the only boy in my Primary class. Lisa and Tina-Marie are OK, but I’d sure like to have a buddy in there. So I told Kevin a little about maybe being a Last-days Kid and asked him if he’d like to go to Primary with me. But he said he had other things to do on Sunday. I said, “Some other time, maybe.”

“Well, maybe,” he said, “but probably not.”

I could tell that he hoped I’d drop the subject. I felt really stupid, because I figured that he’d start to tease me about being a Last-days Kid.

Sure enough, he did. At our next soccer game we were down three to one at the half, and our coach, Gracie Gosney’s dad, was trying to inspire us to be a come-back team. “You can do it,” he said as we all sucked on the oranges the trainer had passed out. But from the looks on all of our faces, it was obvious that nobody believed that we had a chance.

Then Kevin poked me in the side and said, “Maybe we could come back and win this game if some of us are Last-days Kids!” Then he started giggling.

“What are you talking about?” Coach asked.

“Ask Ryan. It’s something they teach in his church,” Kevin said.

I stared at the ground and said, “Some of the children on the earth today were saved to be born now, because they were valiant spirits in heaven. So, Last-days Kids are special.” I said it as quickly as I could, hoping the referee would blow her whistle before anyone could laugh.

Coach didn’t understand what I was talking about, but he said, “You mean that you believe that you’re special, Ryan?”

“Probably.”

“And do you believe some of the players on our team are Last-days Kids?”

I looked him right in the eye, and I could tell by his voice and face that he wasn’t teasing me, that he really wanted to know. “Yes,” I said louder. “At least, we could be.”

“I think you’re right.” He smiled. “Let’s go out there and play like Last-days Kids!” He gave us a cheer, and we all cheered back. “Last-days Kids! Last-days Kids! Last-days Kids!” we chanted as we ran out onto the field. The other team and all the parents stared at us, trying to figure out what we were saying.

We won the game, four to three, and I kicked in one of the goals myself! After the game Gracie walked over to me. “Tell me some more about your church, Ryan,” she said.

I told her about the Articles of Faith, which is what Sister Adams says that we should do if someone wants to know what the Church teaches. But Gracie didn’t seem to understand them at all, so I started telling her about Primary.

“Can any kid go to Primary, or just kids in your church?” she asked.

“Anybody who wants to,” I answered. She just stood there, waiting, so I took a deep breath and asked, “Would you like to go to Primary with me tomorrow?”

She smiled a big smile. “I’ll ask my dad.”

Oh, brother! Another girl! I thought. I was glad that Gracie wanted to go to church, but why hadn’t Kevin reacted like this? Gracie’s father said that it was OK for her to go with me, so I told him what time Primary started and when I’d pick her up. She drove off, waving at me from the window of her dad’s van.

That night Mom and Dad came into my room for my prayers. When I was done, Mom kissed my cheek and said, “We’re really proud of our missionary.”

“Don’t be,” I said.

“Why?” Dad asked.

“Because I wasn’t really a missionary to Gracie. She practically had to beg me to invite her to Primary. I didn’t want another girl in my class—I wanted Kevin to come. Why didn’t he want to go to Primary and learn more about the gospel?”

“Even Last-days Kids have their free agency,” Mom said. “Don’t give up on Kevin yet. And don’t stop being his friend just because he isn’t interested in going to church with you.”

“I wouldn’t do that,” I said.

“Good.” Dad smiled. “I’m proud of you.” And he kissed me good night.

Our lesson in Primary the next day was about the Word of Wisdom. Gracie sat and listened hard to everything Sister Adams said. Lisa and Tina-Marie were quiet too. It was a good lesson. After Primary Mom asked Gracie if she wanted to go home.

“Are you going home?” she asked.

“No. We’re going to stay for sacrament meeting,” Mom answered. “But if you’d like to go home now, I’ll take you.”

“Am I allowed to go to sacrament meeting?” Gracie asked.

“Of course,” Mom answered.

“Then I’d like to stay, please,” Gracie said.

Dad squeezed my arm, his smile almost too big for his face.

After church we dropped Gracie off at her house. “See you at soccer practice,” she said as she hopped out of the car.

“Will you need a ride to church next Sunday?” Dad asked.

“No. I don’t think so.” The whole mood in the car went down like a flat tire on a bicycle. Then Gracie leaned in through my open window. “Last night Mom and Dad and I had a big talk. Mom’s been wanting to find a church to go to ever since we moved here. And Dad said that he’s always been impressed with Ryan. So they said that if I liked your church, next Sunday they’d go with me.”

[illustrations] Illustrated by Karl Hepworth