David McClellan of Rock Island, Illinois


David McClellan of Rock Island, Illinois

David McClellan hardly ever loses his marbles. At the age of nine, he’s a marble-playing champion. Last year he placed second out of 350 boys in a marble-playing competition sponsored by the Cub Scouts. He practices a lot and even teaches his skills to the other boys in his pack.

At his Blue and Gold Banquet for Cub Scouts, David, a Bear Scout, learned a valuable lesson. He was happy when he won a table centerpiece from the banquet, complete with a gold star that had a number one written on it. But another boy at the banquet took David’s star when he lost his own. The other boy’s father made him give it back. “I was really mad at first,” David says. But then he realized, “It wasn’t worth fighting over.” David set an example by giving the other Cub Scout the star since he wanted it so badly.

David also set an example for another friend at school. “I helped him to stop swearing. I told him it was a bad thing,” he says. Now he brings his friend to church sometimes. David tries to be a good example because he wants to be worthy to go to the temple someday.

Living in the Davenport Iowa Stake means that David is in the Nauvoo Illinois Temple district. He went to the temple when it was dedicated in June 2002. He says, “When I went inside, I felt the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost makes me feel safe. I listened carefully to President Hinckley when he spoke.”

David has also been to the temple on other important days, such as when he was sealed to his parents at age seven months, and when his younger brother and sister were sealed to his family when he was four. David, his sister Rachel, 7, and his brother Sasha, 6, are adopted.

David tries to keep the Spirit with him and be worthy to go to the temple again someday by going to church, praying every day, and reading the scriptures. He reads by himself and with his family. His favorite story is about David and Goliath. “My name’s in it, and David’s a hero. I want to be brave and honest as David in the Bible was when he did the things the Lord asked him to do,” he says.

Sasha and Rachel also enjoy reading the scriptures with their family. Rachel likes the stories about Jesus, and Sasha is excited whenever David reads to him. All three like to spend time together, especially if it’s with their dog, Happy. David loves to play with his brother and sister and with his friends. His mom says that he’s really social and he plays and talks with anyone he knows.

Besides playing, David likes to garden and be outside. He also enjoys learning tae kwon do and has earned a yellow belt. He especially enjoys singing. He recently sang a duet at a friend’s baptism.

Even though David says he wants to be like David in the Bible, he’s like Goliath in one way—he’s really tall! His mom calls him “the gentle giant,” because he’s always nice to everyone. And with all the work he’s doing to be temple worthy, he’s on his way to becoming a spiritual giant, too.

[photos] Photography by Shanna Butler

[photo] Rachel, David, and Sasha on the porch

[photo] David likes to garden and is good at it.

[photo] David playing marbles

[photo] The McClellan family