“Isaac’s Talk,” Friend, June 2003, 28
Isaac could tell that his Primary class was almost over, because he could hear people moving around outside the door. Sure enough, his teacher asked someone to say the prayer.
As soon as he said, “Amen,” Isaac stood up and hurried to the door. He liked his Primary class, but he was always eager to see his mom and dad and little brother, Luke. Before he could open the door, however, his teacher said, “Isaac, would you come here for a minute, please?”
“Sure,” Isaac answered as Sister Nelson called a few more children over to her chair. Sister Nelson held out some little pieces of paper to him and the others. “Will you please give a talk in opening exercises next week?” she asked him.
“Oh, OK.” Isaac was five now, so he could see that his name was written on the paper with a lot of other words. He didn’t try to read them—he was sure they just said stuff about his talk. He had said yes because he always tried to do what his teacher wanted him to do, but he was scared to talk to the whole Primary. He knew that even the youngest children took turns giving talks, scriptures, and prayers, but he couldn’t remember doing any of those before.
He thought about the talks other children had given. Sometimes children read stories for talks, but Isaac couldn’t read that well yet. Some of the other talks were so hard to understand that he forgot to even listen. He couldn’t imagine what kind of a talk he could give when he was only five!
“Oh well,” he said to himself, “maybe she’ll forget she asked me.” He stood in the doorway and soon saw his mom and Luke coming toward him from the nursery room. “Hi, Mom!” he said, giving her a big hug.
“What’s this?” Mom asked, taking the paper out of his hand. “Wow! You get to give a talk next week.”
Isaac tried to smile, and he nodded his head a little. Maybe Mom would forget too, he hoped.
On the way home, Mom told Dad about Isaac’s talk. “How exciting!” Dad said. “We’ll be sure to come hear you, Isaac. Do you want Mom or me to help you give your talk?”
Somebody could help him with his talk? He suddenly felt a lot better about it. “Mom, I guess,” he said.
“OK,” Mom answered. “We’ll start working on it soon.”
Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday went by, and Isaac forgot all about the talk. But on Wednesday, Mom said, “Isaac, let’s get your Primary talk ready!”
“Oh, no!” he said to himself. “She remembered.” He walked slowly over to where Mom sat holding a pen and notebook. His stomach felt funny. “I don’t really want to give a talk, Mom. I don’t know how, and I’m scared.”
“It will be all right. Let’s just talk about it for a minute.” Mom put her arm around his shoulders. “Your talk is supposed to be about faith in Jesus Christ. What do you think faith is?”
Isaac remembered his Primary teacher talking about faith, and Mom and Dad talking about it in family home evening. But he was pretty sure he didn’t know enough about it to give a whole talk. “Is it like praying and keeping the commandments?” he asked, his forehead wrinkled with worry.
Mom wrote something in the notebook. “Sure,” she said. “Why do we pray and keep the commandments?”
“Because Jesus and Heavenly Father want us to.” That was an easy question.
Mom wrote something else down in the notebook. “What happens to your faith when you pray and keep the commandments?”
“It grows.” He remembered his teacher saying that choosing the right helps your faith grow.
“How do you feel when it grows, Isaac? How do you feel when you pray and keep the commandments?”
“Happy!” Isaac wished it was as easy to give a talk about faith as it was to talk with his mom about it.
“Just a few more questions,” Mom said. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” When he nodded, Mom asked, “Why?”
“Because the scriptures say He lives.” Isaac had a nice feeling inside when he talked about Jesus. He could feel Jesus loving him. He smiled and leaned against his mom while she wrote.
Suddenly Mom surprised him by saying, “OK! You’ve finished writing your talk! Now let’s practice giving it.”
On Sunday morning, Isaac stepped carefully to the front of the Primary room. He unfolded the paper his mom had written on when she asked him questions. His answers were his talk! He had practiced giving it to Dad a few times. Now Mom moved to his side and began whispering the questions he had answered before. Isaac gave his talk in his very own words:
“Faith in Jesus Christ means praying and keeping the commandments. We pray and keep the commandments because Heavenly Father and Jesus want us to. When we do, our faith grows. I feel happy when I pray and keep the commandments, and my faith grows. I believe in Jesus Christ because the scriptures say He lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
He saw Dad smile at him from the back of the room, and everyone was quiet—they had been listening! When he walked past his teacher, he saw that she was happy. He felt really good inside. He had given a talk that was really his, and he was sure that Jesus was happy about it too!
“Most people … come to church … seeking a spiritual experience. … Those of us who are called upon to speak … have an obligation to help provide that, as best we possibly can. We can only do that if we ourselves are striving to know God, if we ourselves are continually seeking the light of His Only Begotten Son. Then, if our hearts are right, … if we have prayed … and prepared and worried until we don’t know what more we can do, God can say to us as He did to Alma and the sons of Mosiah: ‘Lift up thy head and rejoice. … I will give unto you success’ [Alma 8:15; 26:27].”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
From an April 1998 general conference address.