“Different Walls, Same Foundation,” Friend, Oct. 2002, 10
“This will be the last time we meet here until next spring,” Betsy’s father said as they entered the meetinghouse. “For the next six months, until our building is finished, we’ll meet across town.”
Betsy knew all this. Work had already started on getting the meetinghouse in better condition. The grassy area out back where Betsy’s Achievement Days class used to go for activities had become a parking lot. Trailers and big trucks were parked there now.
The whole ward had been getting ready for this change. On Saturday, Betsy and other Primary children helped pack up everything in the Primary closets. Her father was moving desks and chairs from the family history center into storage units in the parking lot, and her mother was packing books and videos from the meetinghouse library.
Everyone else seemed to be happy as they worked, but Betsy felt sad. The building looked so empty! She missed looking at the picture on the wall in the Primary room of Jesus and the children, and she missed the hallway bulletin board with its photographs of the full-time missionaries. She even missed the cheery flower arrangement that was always on the table in the lobby.
Now the building no longer looked like the church Betsy remembered. It was plain and bare. Starting the next day, the ward members would not be allowed in the building until the work was done. After today everything will be different, Betsy thought.
“Will I still have Achievement Days?” she asked on the way home from church. She didn’t think she could stand going for six months without that. “And what about Primary activity days? Where will we have them?”
“These things have all been figured out,” her mother assured her. “Don’t worry. You won’t have to give up anything important. Things won’t be that different. You’ll see.”
Betsy wasn’t sure about that. Things looked very different when she walked into the rented building the next week. For one thing, the “chapel” was huge. It even had a balcony. And there was no organ and no choir seats. But still, there was her bishop sitting up on the stand, smiling at her. She felt good when she saw him.
She felt even better when he announced that it was time to bless and pass the sacrament. She had been afraid that they wouldn’t be able to have the sacrament there. The priests had to sit behind a folding table, and the deacons had to go single file up some stairs to get the trays, but it didn’t matter. The prayer had been exactly the same. She knew that the same priesthood was here, just as it had been in the other building, even though the walls were different.
After sacrament meeting, Betsy followed her friend Chelsea down two flights of stairs, through a long narrow hallway, and down three more stairs to get to the temporary Primary classroom. There was no carpet in the room, and sounds echoed. Sister Roberts, her teacher, asked them to be as quiet as possible as they sat in their chairs.
Through the thin walls, Betsy could hear the younger Primary children singing one of her favorite songs, “The Wise Man and the Foolish Man.”* The music made Betsy feel more comfortable in the tiny room. Primary hadn’t changed, either, even if the walls were different. They still sang the same songs.
Betsy looked around the room. There was a picture of the prophet and the Apostles on the chalkboard, and a picture of Jesus Christ. It reminded Betsy of the picture that had hung in the Primary room of their meetinghouse.
When the music stopped, Sister Roberts asked someone to give the opening prayer. Then she said, “Open your New Testament to Ephesians 2:19–20. Here Paul describes how the gospel is like a building.”
Betsy listened carefully. She wanted to hear if anything was said about their building.
But Sister Roberts didn’t mention walls. “Do you know what we call the thing that holds the whole building up?”
Brian raised his hand high. “I know,” he said with a smile. “My dad’s a builder. It’s called the foundation.”
“That’s right,” Sister Roberts said. “And what does this scripture say the foundation is?”
“Apostles and prophets,” Chelsea said.
Betsy looked at the picture of the Apostles and prophet on the chalkboard.
“And do you know what a cornerstone is, Brian?”
Brian shook his head.
“A cornerstone is a stone that connects the foundation with the rest of the building. They are the most important stones in the building. Who does the scripture say is the chief cornerstone?”
“It’s Jesus!” Betsy burst out, excited. She had just realized something important. “Sister Roberts, now I know why this building feels almost like our meetinghouse. Even though these walls are different, it doesn’t matter as long as the Church still has the same foundation and the same cornerstone.”
Sister Roberts smiled at Betsy. “You’re absolutely right!”
“The Church today is built on a foundation of prophets and Apostles, with Jesus Christ as its chief cornerstone. … It is the Church of Jesus Christ restored in these latter days.”
Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
(Ensign, May 1996, page 7.)