The Cleansing

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“The Cleansing,” Friend, Jan. 1985, 8

The Cleansing

Come on, Son. It’s time to go to the bishop’s office for your interview,” Dad called.

Randy didn’t move. He just lay on his bed, staring at the ceiling and wishing he knew how to tell his parents that he didn’t want to be baptized.

A few minutes later Dad knocked on the door, then stepped inside the room. Randy rolled onto his stomach and hid his face in his pillow.

“Aren’t you ready?” Dad asked.

Randy shook his head.

“Why not?”

“I don’t want to go,” Randy mumbled into his pillow.

“If you don’t have your interview, you can’t be baptized. Don’t you want to be baptized?”

“No,” said Randy.

Randy felt his mattress sink as Dad sat beside him. “You’re not afraid I’ll hold you under too long, are you?”

Randy shook his head. “I’m not worried about that.”

“Then what are you worried about?” Dad put his hand on Randy’s head and smoothed his hair.

His father’s touch helped Randy feel a little bit better. Maybe Dad would understand, he thought, then said, “You’ll think it’s dumb.”

Dad pulled Randy up to sit by him. “I’ll never think anything that’s worrying you so much is dumb.”

Randy leaned against his father. “Cory and Matt from our ward and some of the other kids in the stake are getting baptized the same day I am. I don’t want to be baptized in the same water after them.”

Dad looked puzzled. “I guess we could arrange to have you baptized first, but why would that make any difference?”

“Well, when you get baptized, your sins are washed away. I don’t want the sins that get washed off the other kids to get washed onto me.” Randy looked to see if Dad was laughing at him, but he was only smiling.

“I understand now, Randy,” Dad said. “But I think I can show you something in the kitchen that will get rid of those worries. I’ll be there in a minute, but I have to make a phone call first, OK?”

“OK.” Randy hurried to the kitchen.

When Dad came in, he set some food colorings and a large fruit bottle half-filled with a clear liquid on the table. Then he took three small glasses out of the cupboard, filled them with water, and set them on the table in front of the bottle.

Randy sat next to him. “What are you going to do?”

“Watch. Let’s say that this large bottle has the power in it that Jesus had in the Garden of Gethsemane when He suffered for our sins. Do you know what happened when He did that?” asked Dad.

“Didn’t Jesus make it so that we wouldn’t have to be punished when we do something wrong?” Randy said.

“Something like that. He paid the price for our sins if we repent of them. To repent means to feel sorry for what we do that’s wrong, to ask the person we’ve hurt and Heavenly Father to forgive us, and to never do that wrong thing again,” said Dad.

“You mean Jesus suffered for everybody in the whole world?” asked Randy.


“He must have suffered a lot!” Randy said.

“He did. He felt so much pain that blood came out of every pore in His skin. Jesus Christ did that because we are His brothers and sisters and He loves us,” Dad explained.

Dad pointed to the three glasses. “Now, let’s say these glasses are you, Matt, and Cory. What color is the water?”

“It’s clear.”

“Right. It’s as clean and spotless as you were when you were born. But neither you nor anyone else who has been born except Jesus Christ has stayed absolutely clean. Let’s say that these food colorings are different kinds of sins. The red might stand for hitting someone. The green could stand for telling a lie. The yellow might stand for selfishness, and the blue for stealing. Now, watch what happens when those sins are committed by a clean person.”

Dad let drops from each of the bottles fall into each glass of water. Randy watched the red coloring spread through the water. Then the green turned the red water into a funny brown color. The other colors made the water darker and uglier.

“What’s happened to the clear water?” Dad asked.

“It’s all dirty looking,” Randy said.

“And that’s exactly what happens every time we do something wrong. We aren’t clean any more. Do you think Heavenly Father would let us live with Him while we’re dirty?”

“No way!” exclaimed Randy. “And if I look like that, I don’t want to live with me, either!”

“There’s a way to get clean again.”

“I know—repentance,” Randy said.

“Right,” Dad said. “Now, remember we’re pretending that the big bottle holds the power to get rid of sin. Suppose Matt is baptized first, then Cory, and then you.” Dad poured the dirty-colored water from each glass into the large bottle, emptying the glass representing Randy last.

Randy watched in amazement as the color disappeared. In a couple of minutes the liquid in the bottle was as clear as it had been before!

Then Dad refilled the three glasses from the bottle. “See? You and Matt and Cory are spotless again.”

“That must be strong stuff in the bottle to get rid of all that food coloring,” Randy said.

“It is. It’s chlorine bleach. But it isn’t nearly as strong as the power Jesus has to cleanse us of our sins when we repent and are baptized—and afterward, every time we repent.”

Randy smiled up at his father. “Do you think the bishop is still in his office? I’d like to have my interview now.”

“When I called him, he said he’d wait for us.”

“Then let’s go!” Randy exclaimed.

Illustrated by Dick Brown