Stewart tapped his mom on the wrist. “When will Daddy be done? I’m hungry.”
“In just a few minutes, Stew.”
“What’s he doing in there, anyway? I want to go home.”
“Daddy’s talking to the bishop.”
“He’s answering questions like, ‘Do you tell the truth?’ ‘Are you kind to your family members?’ ‘Do you follow the prophet?’ Questions like that.”
“When Daddy answers questions like those, the bishop knows whether or not he is a commandment-keeper. If he is a commandment-keeper, he’ll get a special piece of paper, called a temple recommend. Only Church members with temple recommends can go inside the temple.”
The bishop’s door opened, and Stewart’s daddy stepped out. He shook the bishop’s hand and smiled. “Your turn,” he said, looking at Mommy.
“I’ll be right back, Stew.”
Stewart sat quietly in his seat, thinking.
“So tonight’s the night for chocolate chip cookies, right Stew?” Daddy asked.
Stewart looked up. “Yes.”
“Are you going to help me bake them?”
There was silence.
“Dad, are you a commandment-keeper?”
“I try to keep the commandments, Son. Sometimes I make mistakes, but I repent and try harder. It’s hard to be a commandment-keeper, but I do my best.”
“Did you get a temple rec– … rec– What’s that word?”
“Temple recommend. Here. Do you want to see it?” Daddy handed Stewart a small piece of paper.
Stewart looked at it carefully. “What does it say?”
“Well, I still have to talk to the stake president. But right now, it has the bishop’s name, and my name. And at the bottom, it says that I’m worthy to enter the temple.”
“Because you’re a commandment-keeper?”
Before long, Stewart’s mom opened the bishop’s door.
“Come on,” said Daddy. “Let’s go home and get those cookies ready to bake and eat!”
Riding home in the car, Stewart was quiet. Mom looked into the rearview mirror and saw that he looked sad. “What’s wrong?” she asked.
At a stoplight, Daddy turned to the backseat. “Stew, what’s the matter? Aren’t you excited about making our treats?”
“I wanted to tell the bishop I keep the commandments. I wanted my own special paper.”
Mommy and Daddy looked at each other.
“You wanted a temple recommend?” Daddy asked.
“Aren’t I good at keeping the commandments?”
“You’re very good at keeping the commandments. But you have to be twelve to go inside a temple. When you’re twelve, you’re old enough to get your own recommend and do baptisms for the dead,” Dad explained.
“So I don’t get a paper like yours till I’m twelve?”
Stew looked out the window. Daddy and Mommy quietly looked ahead. Then Daddy had an idea. “Hey! You can still have a piece of paper that says you keep the commandments! After we get the cookies started, you come into my office!”
Stew gave his dad a cautious smile. “OK.”
Once at home, the family set to work on the cookies right away. When the first batch went into the oven, Stewart went to his dad’s office.
“Have a seat, Son. I’ll sit here, across from you.”
Stew climbed into a chair and got comfortable.
“Now let’s start with a prayer.” Daddy folded his arms and Stew followed. Daddy asked Heavenly Father that His Spirit would be with them as they talked. He told the Lord that he loved his little boy. Stew felt happy inside.
When the prayer was finished, the questions began. Daddy looked Stewart in the eyes. “First, do you believe in Jesus Christ?”
“Yes I do.”
“I do, too, Stew. He’s my very best friend. Now, do you believe that the scriptures are true, and do you read them every day?”
“Well, Mommy reads them to me, but yesterday we both forgot.”
“Do you read them most days?”
“That’s great. Reading the scriptures is one of the best ways to learn about Jesus Christ. Do you say your prayers?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Wonderful. How do you feel when you pray?”
“I feel glad because Heavenly Father can hear me and answer me.”
“Yes, He likes it when we pray to Him. The more we pray, the more He can help us. And you and I need lots of help, don’t we?”
“Do you believe that Gordon B. Hinckley is a true prophet?”
“I know he is a prophet.”
“How do you know?”
“Because that’s what you told me.”
“Heavenly Father will tell you, too, if you ask Him. I’ve asked Heavenly Father, and He’s told me,” Daddy said. “Now, do you tell the truth?”
Stew frowned. “Well, I lied about that mess in the kitchen. But you already knew that.”
“I remember. You blamed a friend for the mess, and it was really you who did it.”
Stewart’s shoulders drooped. “So I guess I’m not a commandment-keeper?”
“Well, did you repent of telling that lie?”
“I told you and Nathan I was sorry.”
“Did you really feel sorry? Sorry enough to want to tell the truth from now on?”
“If we repent when we make mistakes,
Heavenly Father forgives us and forgets about the mistake. We’re still commandment-keepers, as long as we keep trying and keep repenting.”
Stewart sat tall again. He felt thankful for repentance.
Daddy asked more questions about the commandments: “Are you good to your parents?” “Do you keep Sunday special for remembering Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?” “Do you pay tithing?” “Do you stay away from dangerous foods and drinks?”
Soon Stewart had answered every question. Daddy held out his hand. “Congratulations! You are a commandment-keeper.”
Shaking hands with his dad, Stewart beamed.
Daddy wrote some words on a small note card and handed it to Stew. “This piece of paper says that you’re a commandment-keeper. Right now, you’re not old enough to go into the temple, but you are worthy enough. That’s terrific!”
Stewart smiled, put the note card in his pocket, and said, “When I’m twelve, I’m going straight to the temple.”
“But right now”—Stewart grinned—“I’m only five, and I’m going straight to the kitchen. I can smell those yummy cookies and I’m starving.”
“Me too! Let’s go.”