My Second Big Interview with the Bishop

By Robert McDonald

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    I can’t wait to be a deacon. Ever since I was little, I’ve watched with envy as the older boys passed the sacrament. It’s an important job, and they always seem to know just where to go when they pass the sacrament. Now it’s my turn. My twelfth birthday is this week, and I’ve been learning about the priesthood in Blazer class. I’ve been dreaming about passing the sacrament myself. I wonder if I’ll get to pass it to the bishop.

    My Blazer teacher told us that we would be interviewed by the bishop before we could be ordained. This would be my second interview—he had already interviewed me when I was going to get baptized. But I’ve lived half my life again since then!

    I like my bishop. I see him every Sunday, and he knows my name. Sometimes he says hello. But I still worried about that interview. Did I know enough to be a deacon? Would he ask me about things I keep secret? Could I share my secrets with him? If I did, would he keep them secret?

    Friday after dinner the bishop’s secretary called and said the bishop wanted to see me after my Blazer class on Sunday. I said OK, but I was nervous. In my mind I went over everything I thought that he might ask me. I began to remember all the things that happened this year. Some of them I wished hadn’t happened.

    Sunday after class I headed for the bishop’s office. What a busy place! I thought. Everybody wants to see him. I think I’ll go home and come another day.

    But he saw me. “Hello there, Bobby,” he called. “Come in and sit down, please. Excuse me just one moment.” He stepped out into the hall to talk to someone about something. I wondered what they were talking about. I looked around his office. He had a big chair and a desk, a picture of the Savior, and a picture of President Benson. I saw the scriptures on his desk. They sure were well worn. I wondered what it would be like to be a bishop.

    The door opened, and the bishop came back in and sat next to me. He shook my hand. “Thank you for coming to see me,” he said. “You’re almost twelve, the age when we normally confer the Aaronic Priesthood and ordain boys as deacons. I’ve talked with your father, and he also felt that you and I should have this interview. Tell me what you know and how you feel about the priesthood.”

    Oh no, I thought. What shall I tell him? He probably knows everything about the priesthood. I started by telling him some things from Blazer class and some things my mother had taught me. He didn’t interrupt, and once I got started, my nervousness went away.

    When I finished, he said, “Very good. I can see that you’ve been paying attention and that you understand some important principles. There are some scriptures about the priesthood that I’d like to share with you. They’re some of my favorites.”

    He turned first to section 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants [D&C 20]. We read from it and talked about the duties of a deacon. Then we read from section 84 [D&C 84] and talked about the covenant of the Aaronic Priesthood. After that, he turned to what he said was his favorite scripture—section 121. We read from verse 34 to the end of the section [D&C 121:34–46]. He helped me understand what the promise in verses 45 and 46 meant. [D&C 121:45–46]

    Then he looked me right in the eyes and asked if I was paying tithing. I thought about how hard it had been to start. I was sure happy that I could say I was a full-tithe payer. I told him how good I felt when I paid my tithing.

    Next he asked me if I ever smoked or drank alcoholic beverages or took drugs. I remembered the time my friends and I had tried a cigarette, and I didn’t want to say anything. I hadn’t even told my parents. I knew it was wrong when I’d done it, and I still felt bad about it. Something inside me said, “Speak up,” but I just couldn’t. My silence must have told the bishop I was wrestling with something, because he talked to me about keeping secrets. He called it “confidentiality.” He said that he would keep anything I told him a secret unless I gave him permission to share it with my parents. Then he waited.

    It seemed like a long time while I figured out what words to use. I told him about smoking and how ashamed it made me feel. We talked about how it had happened and what I should do to repent. I didn’t tell him who I’d done it with, and he didn’t ask me to. He said that his knowing their names had nothing to do with my worthiness to receive the priesthood. We discussed the help my parents could give me, and I decided to tell them. A calm feeling came over me. I guess that’s what happens when you do something that you know is right.

    When the bishop asked me if I was morally clean, I didn’t know what he meant, so I asked him. He explained about keeping my mind and body clean. We talked about how to do that. He explained that if I lived righteously, the power of the priesthood would always be with me.

    He asked me to kneel with him and say a prayer, so I did. It was a short one. Then he prayed. He asked Heavenly Father to bless me, and that made me feel good. I knew that my bishop liked me.

    I can hardly wait to tell Mom and Dad about my interview. They’ll be happy for me and will help me be a good, worthy bearer of the priesthood. Just think—next Sunday I’ll be presented in sacrament meeting by the bishop to be sustained to receive the Aaronic Priesthood and to be ordained a deacon. And the week after that, I’ll pass the sacrament. I’m going to be reverent when I do and try to set a good example. Maybe some younger boys will be looking up to me.

    Illustrated by John Johnson