A Matter of Time


Jamie’s conscience pricked him as he climbed to the top of the tree. He knew that he should be helping his dad on the farm—after all, he was twelve years old now—but something important was happening in Colesville, New York, today, and the whole town was talking about it.

Joseph Smith was coming back to their little farming community after attending the first conference of the recently organized Church in Fayette, New York. His wife, Emma, was traveling with him, as were Oliver Cowdery and John and David Whitmer. Some of the people in Colesville wanted to be baptized while the Prophet was there, and Jamie was one of them. He’d sat in the back of the room when Joseph had preached to them before, and he knew that the Prophet’s words were true. Now Jamie wanted to look again upon the face of the man who had actually seen God the Father and Jesus Christ, and he wanted to do it without the Prophet knowing that he was being watched.

Before long, Jamie caught sight of the wagon. He could see a woman in the wagon and noticed the other men too. But one person seemed to stand out from the others. A burning feeling quickened Jamie’s heart as he watched, and he knew more surely than ever that this man was the Prophet. Even after the Prophet had passed and Jamie had climbed down from the tree, his feeling of elation continued as he returned to his home.

As Jamie stepped onto the porch and slipped inside the kitchen, he heard his mother say, “But I’m not sure! I’ve known Joseph for some time now, and I want to believe that he speaks the truth. But to have someone say that he has actually seen and heard God! That’s hard for me to accept.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind that what Joseph says is true,” his father said. He walked over to the shelf and took down a book. “I’ve read the Book of Mormon, and I believe that it’s true—every word of it,” Father testified to her. “If Joseph lied about seeing God, then he lied about this book being true. The reverse is also true. If this book is true, then Joseph actually saw the Father and Jesus Christ. Joseph is a prophet, and I intend to be baptized this Sunday when they hold the service.”

Jamie walked forward. “Me too. I know that what Joseph teaches is true.”

“How can you, a young boy, know if a church is true?” his mother asked, smiling gently to soften the words.

“I know,” Jamie stated. “And I’ve read the Book of Mormon. It’s true!”

“I’ve really wanted to read it, too,” Mother said with a sigh, “but I just haven’t found the time. There are so many chores …”

Jamie’s heart started pounding. More than anything in the world, he wanted his family to all be baptized at the same time. But if his mother didn’t have time to read, she wouldn’t know that the Book of Mormon is true. He could give her that time.

“If Father will give me time from my own chores, I’ll do yours, Mother. Then you’ll have time to read the Book of Mormon. I just know that when you’ve read it and prayed about it, you’ll know that it’s true.”

“I can do Jamie’s chores if he’ll do yours,” Father agreed. “How about it, Martha?”

Mother looked at her husband, then at her son. She loved them both very much. “All right. I’ll read the Book of Mormon. But I’m not promising that I’ll be baptized.”

For the next two days Jamie was busy from morning till dark. He’d never realized before all the work that his mother did during the day. At night he fell into bed exhausted. He even missed the special meeting where Joseph announced the baptism on Sunday. All his strength was directed toward helping his mother.

Saturday afternoon Brother George Riggs rode up to their farm. Jamie went out with his mother and father to greet him.

“Brother Johns,” Brother Riggs said after the greetings were over, “I need a pair of strong arms to help dam that stream above Brother Knight’s farm. That’s where we’ll hold the baptismal service. Could I have your son’s help for the afternoon?”

Father glanced at Mother, who nodded her head.

“We’d be proud to have him help,” Father answered. “He desires to be baptized also, so it’s fitting for him to help dam the stream.”

Brother Riggs smiled at Jamie. “That’s just fine. Brother Joseph will be glad to know that.” Turning to Father, he asked, “And you, Brother and Sister Johns? How about you?”

“I’ll be baptized, too,” Father spoke out clearly.

The group then turned to Martha for her answer. She hesitated for a moment, then smiled at her son. “Jamie gave me the time to read the Book of Mormon and to ponder and to pray. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I, too, want to be baptized!”

Jamie had never felt happier in his life.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Robert T. Barrett