Jenelle heard her best friend, Michelle, ask Rebecca to her birthday party on Sunday. Michelle’s parents had planned a swimming party to celebrate her eleventh birthday.
Michelle had already invited Jenelle, but Jenelle had told Michelle that she’d have to let her know. Jenelle knew that she wouldn’t be going to the party, but she didn’t want to say that in front of the other girls.
The two girls had been friends since they were six years old. But after Jenelle’s family had become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nine months ago, things had changed between them. Jenelle wanted Michelle to understand that becoming a Latter-day Saint didn’t change what Jenelle felt for her friend, but Michelle was having a hard time accepting that.
After school, Jenelle trudged home more discouraged than ever because Michelle had announced that everyone else she’d invited to her party would come. At least Mom will be home, Jenelle thought. She’ll know what I can do. I always feel better after talking things over with her.
At home, she quickly found her mother in the kitchen. “What am I going to do?” she asked once she’d told her mother the whole story.
Mom put her arm around Jenelle’s shoulders. “You have to decide what’s more important to you—going to your friend’s party or obeying the commandments.”
Jenelle sighed. She knew what she should do. That didn’t make it any easier, though. She didn’t want to hurt her friend’s feelings. And more than anything, she wanted to go to the party. Almost more than anything, she thought. She couldn’t break one of the commandments, especially when the prophet had spoken about the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy in a general conference talk.
She knew what she had to do. After school the next day, she hurried home and wrapped the present she’d made for Michelle, then walked to her friend’s house.
“I made you something special for your birthday. I’m sorry I can’t come to your birthday party. It’s because it’s on a Sunday.”
Michelle tore open the paper and held up a birdhouse. “This is great! You made this all by yourself?”
Jenelle nodded. “At Primary activity day.” She told Michelle about Primary and the activity days for girls her age.
Michelle showed Jenelle the bathing suit she had bought for the party.
Jenelle looked at the pretty aqua suit and smiled. She had looked at the same one last week while shopping with her mother.
“So what’s the big deal about your going swimming on Sunday?” Michelle asked after putting the suit away. “We’ll be going in the afternoon, after your church lets out.”
“The prophet said that we need to keep the Sabbath Day holy.”
“What does that mean?” Michelle asked.
“It means we don’t shop on Sunday or go swimming or to ball games—stuff like that.”
“What do you do?”
“We go to church, spend time with our families, listen to music. Read the scriptures.” She smiled, remembering last Sunday. “Sometimes my mom and dad take a nap.”
Michelle frowned. “Who is this prophet? Why do you have to do what he says?”
“He’s the President of the Church.”
“So he’s like the boss?”
Jenelle smiled again. She’d never heard the prophet described as a boss, but she supposed it made sense to people who weren’t members of the Church.
“What makes the prophet so special?” Michelle asked.
“He teaches us things Heavenly Father wants us to know.”
“You mean he talks with God?”
“Yes,” Jenelle answered firmly. She knew that a lot of people had a hard time understanding that.
“Does he have a name?”
“Right now the prophet is Gordon B. Hinckley.”
“Do you have to do everything he says?”
“We don’t have to. We choose to,” Jenelle said, hoping Michelle understood.
“Could you come to my birthday party next year if it was on Saturday?”
Jenelle hugged her friend. “I’m already counting the days till then!”