“Special Friends,” Friend, May 1989, 3
“Mom,” Nancy asked, as she carefully put her toothbrush back into the holder and started for her bedroom, “who can I invite to my baptism Saturday?”
“Well, your dad and I will be there and the rest of your Primary class, so just about anybody else, I suppose.”
“But my teacher said that I should invite a ‘special friend,’ and all my special friends are already going to be there.”
“Why don’t we ask Heavenly Father for some help?” her mother suggested, and they knelt beside the bed.
The next day was Friday, and it was a busy one for Nancy. She came in from school and immediately started her weekend homework. She would be too busy to do it Saturday, and tonight Sister Johnson, her Primary teacher, had invited her to dinner. Nancy had never been to Sister Johnson’s home before, so she was quite excited about the evening, and it was hard to keep her mind on her homework.
At last she was through, and it was time to go. “Have you thought of a special friend to ask to your baptism tomorrow?” Nancy’s mother asked as they drove to her teacher’s house.
“No, I haven’t,” Nancy slowly replied, “but I know that Heavenly Father will help me think of someone before it’s too late.”
The Johnsons lived in a small home with a pretty yard. Their children were grown, but the house had the warmth and friendliness that people who love children bring to any place they live.
When Sister Johnson introduced her husband to Nancy, Nancy asked, “Are you coming to my baptism tomorrow?”
Mr. Johnson’s reply was short but not angry, so Nancy then asked, “Why don’t you come to church with your wife?”
Mr. Johnson looked a bit uncomfortable as he explained to his young guest that since he wasn’t a member, he didn’t go to church.
Nancy thought for a minute. Then she asked, “Mr. Johnson, do you believe that Jesus is Heavenly Father’s Son?”
He looked startled as he answered, “Certainly.”
“Well, do you have something that you have to repent of—” Suddenly realizing that what she’d asked was none of her business, Nancy turned very red and started to apologize.
But Mr. Johnson was really nice about it. “Nancy,” he said thoughtfully, “I suppose everybody has some sin or wrongdoing that they should get squared away on, but I doubt that I have anything terrible to repent of.”
“Then why don’t you get baptized too?”
Mr. Johnson smiled patiently at her. “It’s just not that simple, young lady,” he said. “Your church asks you to believe a lot more than the fact that Jesus is the Son of God.”
“Oh,” Nancy said. “But the things that we learn in Primary are all things that Jesus wants us to know, aren’t they?”
“From what I know about what my wife teaches in Primary, they are,” Mr. Johnson acknowledged cautiously.
“Then all you have to do is pray about it, and the Holy Ghost will tell you that it’s right. Then you can be baptized!”
“Nancy, I’ve had the missionary discussions, and I simply don’t know for sure.”
The call to supper came just then, and the subject was dropped. Sister Johnson had fixed Nancy’s favorite foods, and Mr. Johnson told many interesting stories about his childhood while they ate.
Soon it was time for the Johnsons to drive Nancy home. As they pulled into her driveway, Nancy remembered her prayer. She turned to Mr. Johnson and said, “Your wife said that I should invite a special friend to my baptism tomorrow. Will you be my special friend and come?”
As Nancy waited anxiously for his answer, he was quiet for a moment. Then he smiled at her and said, “I’d be honored to.”
That evening as she prepared for bed, Nancy knelt and thanked Heavenly Father for helping her find a special friend to invite to her baptism.
Saturday afternoon Nancy and her family went to the meetinghouse. She and her father sat in their white clothes in the front row by the baptismal font, ready for the big event. As Nancy looked for the Johnsons, she saw the bishop come in and, to her surprise, he was dressed in white also. As he shook her hand, she asked, “Bishop, why are you dressed that way? Isn’t Dad going to baptize me?”
“Oh yes,” smiled Bishop Guthridge. “I’m going to baptize someone else.”
“Who?” Nancy asked. “I thought that I was the only one getting baptized today.”
“A special friend,” responded the bishop, with a twinkle in his eye. He nodded toward the doorway, where the Johnsons were coming in. Mr. Johnson was wearing white pants and a white shirt!
As they sat down next to Nancy, the bishop went to the front of the room to start the services. “We’d like to welcome you to our baptisms today,” he said. “You all know that this is Nancy’s big day, but you probably didn’t know that I got a call early this morning from Brother Johnson. It seems that he is a ‘special friend’ to someone who taught him last night how to know that the gospel is true, and he wants to be baptized too. So today will be extra special for two people, their families, and for all of us.”