Ethan was very brave. He valiantly defended his home and family against any bad guys that threatened it. But sometimes Ethan got tired. It seemed like every day there were new bad guys to fight. Yesterday there had been a ferocious dinosaur, the day before there were growling pirates, and today he faced man-eating sharks. Ethan could imagine the sharks swimming across the carpet in his bedroom.
“Come on, Kate, grab my hand,” Ethan called out to his little sister. “I will save you.”
Kate giggled and put her small hand into his.
“Sharks have long, sharp teeth,” Ethan said as he led her in a zigzag path across the room. “And they can bite. Look out!” He pulled Kate away from the bed, where he pretended a very large shark was hiding.
When they reached the bedroom door, Ethan peeked out and saw his mother sitting at the kitchen table folding laundry. She was listening to Primary music and softly singing along.
“Run to Mom, Kate,” Ethan urged. “She’ll protect you.”
Laughing, Kate ran to their mother, who scooped her up in a hug.
Later that day Ethan discovered some army men lurking behind the family room couch.
“Bang!” Ethan said, pointing his finger. “Bang! I got you.”
Mother frowned. “No shooting people, Ethan,” she said.
“But Mom,” Ethan protested, “he was a bad guy. I’m only shooting bad army men, not the good ones.”
“I don’t want any killing in our house,” Mom said.
Ethan was puzzled. How could he protect his family without killing all the bad guys?
After dinner, Ethan’s family had scripture study. Ethan liked to read the scriptures. Right now they were reading the Book of Mormon, and there were lots of bad guys and lots of good guys in it. There were good kings, good soldiers, and good missionaries.
They had finished the part in the Book of Mormon where Nephi’s family had crossed the ocean in their ship. The ship went through a big storm before arriving safely in the promised land. Now they were reading the part where Lehi was talking to his family about how the Lord had watched over them on their journey.
Ethan was listening very carefully as his dad read. He knew that soon Dad would stop reading and ask, “What is happening now? What does it mean?”
Ethan’s dad read, “‘And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever’” (2 Ne. 1:9).
“Does that mean,” Ethan blurted out, not waiting for Dad to ask, “that if we keep the commandments we will be safe, too?”
“Yes.” Dad smiled. “It certainly does.”
“How?” Ethan asked. He wondered how keeping Heavenly Father’s commandments would keep away ferocious dinosaurs, growling pirates, and other bad guys.
“Well,” Dad said, “I think you were too young to remember, but when we first moved into this house, we had a special prayer and dedicated our home to Heavenly Father. We prayed that it would be a safe place where the Spirit can dwell. So now we try to do all the things the prophets tell us to keep a good spirit in our home.”
“Like having family home evening,” Mom said.
“And watching only good things on TV and on the computer,” Dad said.
“And reading good books and listening to good music,” Mom added.
“And being kind to each other,” Dad said. “All these things keep our home safe from evil.”
“Scripture study, too?” Ethan asked.
Mom nodded. “Especially scripture study.”
Ethan felt relieved. He was happy to know he wasn’t the only one working hard to keep his home safe.
The next week, Ethan was still very brave. He had to scare off a T. rex hiding behind the trees in the backyard. He pulled the plug on a giant octopus in the bathtub. He even discovered a monster troll hiding in the coat closet and had to tell it, in a very loud voice, to “leave now, and never come back.”
But now Ethan knew he wasn’t working alone. He knew that whenever Mom listened to his prayers, or Dad gave a priesthood blessing, or Kate shared her toys with him, they were all bravely working together to keep their home a safe and loving place to live.
“Our safety … and our peace … lie in striving to live as the Savior would want us to live and in knowing … that we are doing the best we can to try to keep His commandments.”
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “When Shall These Things Be?” Ensign, Dec. 1996, 61.