Annette swung her blue vinyl scripture carrier back and forth as she ran down the sidewalk and leaped up the steps of the church. Even though she couldn’t read yet, she had wanted her own scriptures, and today she was bringing them to Primary for the first time. “Look, Sister Harris! Look what I got for my birthday!” she said excitedly, waving her scriptures.
“That’s great! We’ll be using them in Sharing Time today,” Sister Harris said, smiling.
Annette watched curiously as Sister Harris carried a big blue dishpan of water, some building blocks, and various other things into the classroom. Annette couldn’t wait for Primary to begin.
“Today,” said Sister Harris, “we are going to learn about some Book of Mormon people called the Jaredites. They lived in a place called Babel. Wicked people there thought that they could get to heaven by building a high tower instead of by keeping the commandments.”
Sister Harris placed a red block on a green one, then added blue and yellow ones to make a tower. “Heavenly Father was angry with what they were doing,” she said, “so He made it so that the people couldn’t understand each other. Voulez-vous m’aider?” she asked, motioning toward the blocks and looking around the room. “Personne ne me comprend?” she asked, raising her eyebrows.
All the children giggled. “What are you saying?” Annette asked.
“I was asking if anyone would like to help me build the tower. You couldn’t understand me because I was speaking French,” Sister Harris explained. “That’s like it was in Babel. The people couldn’t understand each other, so they stopped building the tower. The Jaredite family was righteous, though, and Heavenly Father allowed them to keep their language. He told them that He would lead them across the ocean to a promised land.”
Sister Harris picked up a round plastic container with a snap-on lid. It was painted brown to look like a boat.
“The Lord told the brother of Jared exactly how to build eight barges. Each barge, which is a kind of boat, was built to be strong and tight—like this container—and each had a closable hole in the top and bottom so that whichever hole was out of the water could be opened.”
Sister Harris put the container in the pan of water and pushed it under to make big waves go over its top.
Annette looked puzzled. “But how did they see when it was dark?” she asked.
“Good question, Annette,” replied Sister Harris. “They didn’t have electricity like we do, so the Lord told the brother of Jared to think of a plan. The brother of Jared prepared sixteen small clear stones, one for each end of each barge.”
Sister Harris counted to sixteen as she took some tiny rocks out of a box. “The brother of Jared asked the Lord to touch the stones with His finger so that they could give off light. He did as He was asked, and the Jaredites were able to travel safely to the promised land.” She swished her hand in the water until the container reached the other side of the pan, then dried her hands on a towel and picked up her scriptures. “The story about the Jaredites is in the book of Ether, near the end of the Book of Mormon.”
Annette’s teacher helped her carefully turn the pages of her new scriptures till she found the right place. “Now,” she said, “to help you always find the story of the Jaredites, draw a picture of a barge right in your scriptures. Then your mom and dad can read it to you.”
Annette chose several of Sister Harris’s colored pencils. She drew a purple boat, squiggly blue lines for water, and two tiny yellow circles inside the boat for the stones of light. Then she drew a finger so that she would remember that the Lord had touched the stones.
After Primary, Annette hurried to the Relief Society room to find her mother. “Look, Mom,” she said, opening her Book of Mormon right to the picture she had drawn. “I can find the story of the Jaredites all by myself now! Will you read it to me right after dinner, please?”