Magic Question


For I [Jesus] have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you (John 13:15).

The sun was shining and the birds were singing as Johnny skipped alongside his family on the way home from church one Sunday afternoon.

“Isn’t it a beautiful day?” Mom asked, taking a deep breath.

“The blossoms on the trees smell wonderful,” Dad said as he ruffled the top of Johnny’s short brown hair. “What did you learn in Primary today, pal?”

Johnny thought for a minute. “I learned that if I don’t know the right thing to do, I should ask myself the magic question.”

“What’s the magic question?” Mom asked.

Johnny grinned at Mom and Dad. “What would Jesus do?”

“That is a magic question,” Dad agreed. “Did you hear that girls?” he called to Katie and Kristen, who were a bit ahead of them.

“What, Dad?” Katie asked as she and Kristen waited for them.

“Johnny learned a magic question in Primary today. He learned that if we are having a hard time trying to decide what’s right and what’s wrong, we should ask ourselves the magic question. Tell them what it is, Johnny.”

“What would Jesus do?”

“I think that’s a very good idea,” Mom added. “I think we should all try it. Then we can talk about our experiences in family home evening tomorrow night.”

The next day after school, Johnny’s friend invited him to go to the store. Johnny went in to ask his mother for permission.

“Do you have any money?”

“I have two quarters that Grandpa Green gave me.”

“OK, have fun. Remember to be careful and watch for cars!” she called as he ran for the door.

“I can go!” he yelled to Jason, who was waiting on the front lawn.

On the way, they tried to decide whether to get a sack of penny candy or a candy bar or a Popsicle. When they got to Mr. Johnson’s store and looked at all the candy, they still couldn’t make up their minds.

Then Johnny noticed that the candy bars were fifty-five cents. He only had fifty cents, so he knew that he would have to buy either penny candy or a Popsicle. When he started toward the case of frozen treats, he saw Jason sticking a candy bar in his pocket. “What are you doing?” Johnny whispered in a scared voice.

“I only have thirty-two cents,” Jason whispered back. “I want a candy bar and some penny candy, so I’m going to sneak out the candy bar and pay for my penny candy with my money. What kind of candy bar do you want? I’ll stick it in my other pocket.”

Johnny remembered the magic question he’d learned in Primary the day before. He knew that Jesus would never steal. “No,” Johnny told Jason firmly. “It isn’t what Jesus would want me to do.”

“Oh come on, you big baby—no one will ever know.”

“But I’ll know, and so will Jesus.” A happy thought came to him. “I know—let’s put our money together. Then we can buy a candy bar and some penny candy, and we won’t have to steal anything!”

Jason thought about it for a minute. “OK,” he said. “We won’t have as much that way, but I feel better about doing it your way.”

The boys picked out their candy and paid Mr. Johnson for it. He smiled at them and said, “Thanks for coming in, boys.”

That night in family home evening when they talked about the magic question, Johnny told them what had happened at the store. They were all very proud of him. He felt good inside because he knew that Heavenly Father and Jesus were proud of him too.

[illustration] Painting of the Savior by Robert T. Barrett

[illustrations] Illustrated by Dick Brown