Amanda Pratt, CTR Spy

By Lori Mortensen

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Choose the right way and be happy (Children’s Songbook, page 161).

A spy? Seven-year-old Amanda couldn’t believe her eyes. She traced her finger over Mosiah 9:1 again, just to make sure. “I, Zeniff, having been taught in all the language of the Nephites, and having had a knowledge of the land of Nephi, or of the land of our fathers’ first inheritance, and having been sent as a spy among the Lamanites …” A spy! There it was. Amanda closed her Book of Mormon. She knew she should have been listening to Brother Anderson’s talk during sacrament meeting, but she couldn’t help but giggle in surprise. She knew lots of Book of Mormon stories, but she never knew there was one with a spy in it.

She sank down in the pew and peeked at the page again. Zeniff the Spy. It sounded mysterious. And important.

I could be a spy! she thought excitedly. She knew all about spies. Spies noticed everything. Spies used secret codes. Spies wrote down important information with special pens.

Amanda knew some secret codes. And she had a special pen—well, a very special pencil. She rummaged through her scripture-carrying bag and pulled out the yellow pencil she’d earned in Sister Wooster’s class for perfect attendance.

Then, from her coat pocket, she pulled out her little purple notepad. It had pages and pages of straight lines just waiting to be filled with important information.

Amanda the Spy! she thought. It sounds mysterious and important!

The closing song and prayer captured her attention. She loved to sing the hymns, and she always wanted to mean it when she added her own “Amen.”

Normally Amanda would have hurried straight to Primary. This time she peered over the back of the bench and watched.

Brian Fisher tripped on his shoelaces. Three babies were crying. And … and … something small and gray was under the last bench.

It was an envelope. A heavy envelope that jingled.

It sounds like money, she thought. She peeked inside. It was money! Five dollars and twenty-five cents!

Amanda hugged it to her chest and spun around on her heel. Wow! she thought. I could buy a doll. Or a new book. Or tons of gummy bears! She pulled out her notepad and pencil and wrote, “Found $5.25.”

Then she wondered, It’s all right to keep it, isn’t it? After all, it isn’t that much money. If she’d found a million dollars, that would be different. But this was just a little over five dollars. Whoever had lost it probably wouldn’t even miss it.

Amanda gave the envelope a quick kiss—then gasped. The letters seemed to jump right off the paper: “Bishop Johansen, Creek Ward.”

It was a tithing envelope!

She plopped down on the bench, feeling like she’d been punched in the stomach. It wasn’t fair! She had already planned what she was going to buy.

It was hers! Wasn’t it?

She looked at her notepad. What would Zeniff do? she asked herself. Spies were supposed to be experts at staying out of trouble. Amanda thought she knew what he would do.

She glanced around. Brother Campbell was just leaving the chapel. He was a member of the bishopric.

Stuffing her notepad into her pocket and dashing toward the double doors, she called to him, “Brother Campbell, I found this envelope here in the chapel.”

Brother Campbell shook Amanda’s hand. “Thank you, Sister Pratt,” he said with a wink. “I’ll make sure that the bishop gets it.”

Turning toward the Primary room, she thought, Amanda the Spy knows how to stay out of trouble, too! She got out her notepad and wrote, “Turned money over to Brother Campbell.”

“Oh, no!”

Amanda looked up to see the bucket in Sister Kelly’s hand bounce onto the floor, spilling crayons over the carpet like colorful fireworks.

“What next?” Sister Kelly despaired as she hoisted her crying baby onto her hip and desperately grabbed at pictures slipping from her fingers.

Without even thinking, Amanda dashed down the hall toward her CTR teacher. “Don’t worry, Sister Kelly,” she said as she started to pick up crayons and drop them into the bucket. “I’ll help.”

“I can help, too,” said her friend Melanie, who’d been with her mom in the library.

Amanda and Melanie quickly refilled the bucket.

“Thanks so much,” Sister Kelly told them with a grateful smile. “Everything’s been going wrong today.”

“No problem,” they said together.

“Come on, girls,” Sister Kelly whispered, glancing towards the Primary door. “We’d better hurry.”

Amanda and Melanie slipped quietly into Primary and sat with their class. Amanda quickly wrote, “Helped Sister Kelly pick up crayons,” in her notepad.

“Sister Kelly,” the Primary President said, interrupting Amanda’s thoughts, “Randy could not come today. Would someone else in your class like to give the scripture and prayer?”

Sister Kelly glanced at the four children in her row.

Amanda did, too. She knew Jared wouldn’t do it. He was too shy. And she knew Wayne wouldn’t do it—he never volunteered for anything. That left Melanie and her. But Melanie was holding Sister Kelly’s baby.

“I’ll do it,” Amanda volunteered. She walked quietly to the podium. When she sat down again, she wrote in her notepad, “Said opening prayer for Primary,” and drew a smiling face.

“What’s that?” Melanie asked as they walked to class.

“It’s my spy book. I’m writing down important information.”

“Oh. I thought maybe it was a CTR book or something.”

Amanda read all the things she’d written. “Found $5.25,” “Turned money over to Brother Campbell,” “Helped Sister Kelly pick up crayons,” and “Said opening prayer for Primary.” It was like a CTR book. The entries showed that she had “Chosen The Right.”

She wrote “CTR” in large letters on the cover of her notepad. It’s like a secret code, too, she thought happily. Amanda the CTR Spy! Being this kind of spy really is wonderful and important.

Illustrated by Dick Brown