Primary Purpose

The year before my mission, the bishop called me into his office and extended a call for me to teach the seven-year-old Primary children. I accepted the call, excited to teach. At the same time, I also had a good job at a local supermarket.

Not long after I was hired, the manager and assistant manager of the supermarket informed me that I would have to work on Sundays. The manager said, “I am not going to schedule around the Mormons or anyone else.” To keep my job, I would have to give up my calling and break the Lord’s commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy. My manager wouldn’t discuss it any further.

I explained the situation to my bishop. I wasn’t sure I would go on a mission. But if I did go, I would need a job to earn the money to pay for it. However, I also wanted to keep the Sabbath day holy, attend church, and teach Primary. After a long discussion with the bishop, I decided to quit my job. Not long after that, I found a job that gave me Sundays off. I kept my calling, and for the next several months I helped the children prepare for baptism.

One day I was looking at the missionary discussions, and it suddenly became clear to me why it had been so important for me to teach Primary. The discussions taught about Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, the First Vision, faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost—the same principles I had been teaching my Primary class. I decided to pray about a mission. I was soon called as a full-time missionary.

Some people might wonder why I quit my job, especially when someone else could have easily taught that Primary class. But giving up my job in order to keep the Sabbath day holy and teach Primary helped me prepare for my mission and resulted in great blessings for me.

[photos] Photography by Steve Bunderson; posed by models