My name’s Cindy. I laugh a lot. I like flowers and dogs and cats, even though Daddy says I love them too hard. And I like to blow out candles on birthday cakes. I’m twenty years old now. I watch Mickey Mouse on TV and other cartoons too. I can tie my shoelaces all by myself. It makes me happy when I hear other people laugh. Then I laugh.
You know what makes me smile most? When Mama says she called me her little china doll—I was a baby then. I don’t remember much about that but I remember some kids saying, “Cindy, Cindy, Cindy, yeah, yeah, yeah,” and making funny faces, and Mama shooing them away and then holding me against her and crying. I don’t understand it yet.
I can go real high in the swing, and I like to have a shower bath and let the water run over my head.
I remember when Daddy worked on the new chapel in the evenings and he took me with him. He was a bishop then. He gave me a little bucket and I’d pick up things. Daddy would put me on his shoulders when we’d go home. That would make me laugh too.
“Cindy’s helping build the chapel,” he’d tell Mama and swing me down. “It’s Cindy’s chapel too.”
That made me feel funny inside, and sometimes I’d feel like I was bursting; but try as hard as I could, my words wouldn’t come out right, and Mama would look sad and turn away. I would be sad too because they couldn’t understand what I was saying.
I’ve been riding on a horse, and I’ve seen a circus. I was afraid of the big elephant. But I wasn’t afraid of the clowns. They fell down and I laughed.
I remember when a strange man came to our house when the chapel was finished. He was from Salt Lake.
“He’s an apostle of God,” Daddy told me. I stood and stared at him and pinched his arm until Mama pulled me away.
“Don’t bother Brother Kirkham, Cindy,” she said.
“It’s all right, Sister Abbott,” he said. His eyes twinkled and he lifted me onto his lap. He put one hand on my hand.
“Cindy’s no bother.” He smiled, and I felt something warm inside of me. “Brother and Sister Abbott, this spirit is so special in God’s eyes,” he went on, “that she was sent to earth for her mortal body in such a way that she cannot be tempted by this world. She will return to God as pure as she came. You have been chosen to take care of this special spirit. Try to understand her for she certainly holds hands with God.”
Mama didn’t cry as much after the apostle went away, and Daddy began to whistle. The children didn’t say, “Cindy, Cindy, Cindy, yeah, yeah, yeah” anymore. They took my hand and said, “Come and play with us, Cindy.”
Once I followed the children to school, but they wouldn’t let me stay in school, so Mama bought me a book with pictures in it. There were pictures of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and Brigham Young, and I looked and looked at them while Mama told me stories, and sometimes at night I’d think about the book and try to remember what Mama said.
In church I’d hear a name and I’d find the picture in my book and pull on Mama’s sleeve.
“That’s very good, Cindy.” She would smile.
I wanted to stand up in testimony meeting and tell everyone I knew the Church was true too, but when I tried to stand up, Mama and Daddy held me down.
“The children will laugh at you, Cindy,” they said. I would cry until Mama had to take me out.
I can ride a bike and go to a school now. I’ve learned to stuff envelopes, and I have some money in a bank.
Every testimony day I tried to stand up, and Mama kept taking me out. One Sunday night after fast meeting, after I had cried all afternoon, Mama said she didn’t know what to do about me; maybe they shouldn’t take me to fast meeting anymore. No one seemed to understand. The turmoil inside me was more than I could stand, and I didn’t know what to do about it, but I knew I had to stand up and bear my testimony. Then all of a sudden there was a light in my room, but I knew Mama had turned out the lights. I got up to see if the moon was shining. I felt so strange; the light around me was warm and I got on my knees and prayed. Then I felt a hand touch mine, soft and warm like the light in my room.
“Cindy, Cindy, what is it?” I heard Mama’s voice. She helped me up, and Daddy put his arms around me because I was crying. For a long time Daddy and Mama sat on the bed talking about how they could help me; I wanted to tell them about the light and the hand that touched mine.
“If Cindy feels that deeply about bearing her testimony,” Daddy said, “then next month she must stand up. We surely can’t deny her the right or privilege to share her testimony with others.”
I felt calm inside and went to sleep.
I go on picnics with the school, and we go on big yellow busses. I have friends and we laugh at each other.
It seemed like a long long time before testimony meeting came around again, and I sat there calm and listened. Then Mama handed me the microphone and smiled. I stood up.
“I love my Daddy. I love my Mother and I love my brothers and sisters. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”
I said it just like I’d heard the other children say it. No one laughed. It was quiet for a long time. Mama was crying. Daddy too. Then a man stood up in front.
“These spirits are special in God’s eyes,” he said. “They are sent to earth for their mortal bodies in such a way they can’t be tempted by this world. Cindy will return to God as pure as she came. We don’t know how deep their emotions run, but we do know these special children hold hands with God.”
I felt a warm soft hand close over mine. This time is was my daddy’s hand.