The Blue Book

By Jane McBride Choate

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    Those that seek me early shall find me (Prov. 8:17).

    Tim counted his money carefully. Seventy-five cents. He’d been saving for two weeks.

    The neighbors were having a garage sale, and Tim was determined to find something for his little sister, Lisa, and his parents. Seventy-five cents isn’t much, but, he reasoned, prices at a garage sale are bound to be cheaper than those at a store.

    Tim took his time at the garage sale, looking through the toys and stuffed animals. Nothing looked right for Lisa until he saw a tiny doll wrapped in a pink blanket. Fifty cents. He could buy it and still have a quarter to buy something for his parents. But what could he find for a quarter?

    A blue book with a 25¢ tag caught his eye. It had a funny name in the title—The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. He flipped through the book, stopping to read parts here and there.

    He turned back to the beginning and found that someone had written in it. Another scribbled-up book, he thought, disappointed. He had enough of those at home. He started to put the book down, then noticed that it wasn’t scribbling inside the book—it was a letter:

    “Dear Friend,

    “My name is Josh McHenry. I know this book is true. It tells about Jesus Christ. If you read it, you will learn more about Him.”

    The letter was signed and had Josh’s address.

    Tim read the letter again. He didn’t think his mom and dad were going to be excited about a used book, but he felt compelled to buy it.

    He paid for the doll and the book and walked home, clutching the book to his chest. He spent the rest of the day reading it. He even turned down a chance to play football with his friends. By bedtime, he’d read over fifty pages.

    Some of the words were hard, but he kept at it. He understood more than he’d thought he would. There was a lot of action, too, and he liked that. Even more, he liked the feeling he had when he read it.

    The next morning he gave the book to his mother. She opened it and turned the pages slowly.

    “There’s a letter inside,” Tim told her. He watched as she read it.

    “Where did you get this?” she asked, an odd expression on her face.

    “At the neighbors’ garage sale.”

    She read the letter again. “I think you’ve found something really special.”

    That evening, Tim wrote a letter to Josh, explaining how he’d found the Book of Mormon. Carefully he copied Josh’s address on an envelope and sealed it.

    Each day Tim checked the mail, hoping there’d be a letter from Josh. Five days later, one came. Tim tore open the envelope and read the letter. Josh had included his phone number, and Tim called him. He sounded like a lot of fun, so when he invited Tim over to his house on Saturday, Tim was happy when his mother said she’d drive him to Josh’s house.

    The boys played together all afternoon. Then Josh’s mother brought them peanut butter cookies to snack on. As they ate, Tim asked Josh why he’d written the letter in the book.

    “Mom helped me write it a long time ago. I wanted to share my testimony with someone else, and my church leaders said this was one way I could do it.”

    “What’s a testimony?”

    “It’s what I believe,” Josh replied.

    Tim listened closely as Josh told him about his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some of the things sounded strange, but Tim asked questions until he realized that it was time for him to go home.

    “I’m being baptized next Saturday,” Josh said. He’d already explained that children were baptized when they turned eight years old. “I’d really like it if you could come.”

    Tim promised to ask his parents.

    The following Saturday, Tim dressed in his best clothes, then waited for his parents and sister. They drove to the address Josh had given him. The church building was simple but attractive and was surrounded by beautiful flowers and shrubs.

    They found Josh and his parents in the foyer. Josh and his father were wearing all white clothes. The McHenrys led them into a chapel, where soft music was being played. A man welcomed everyone there. After the people there sang a hymn from the hymnbook, a woman offered a prayer. Tim was surprised as he heard people address each other as “Brother” and “Sister.”

    Following two talks and a song, everyone went to a smaller room, which held the baptismal font. Tim watched as Josh’s father immersed Josh (lowered him completely under the water). After Josh and his father changed their clothes, Josh sat on a chair, and his father and three other men put their hands on Josh’s head and gave him a blessing.

    A peaceful feeling settled over Tim as he listened to what Josh’s father said. Soon, Tim promised himself, I’m going to be baptized and become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints too.

    Illustrated by Phyllis Luch