“Leaving Bad Behind,” Friend, Aug. 2012, 6–7
Jenny buried her face in her hands. All she wanted was to go home, but Amy and Mandy were so interested in the movie that Jenny didn’t know what to say. This was the worst night she could remember.
Jenny had been looking forward to a fun evening when she arrived at Amy’s birthday party. When she walked in, she found Amy and Mandy looking at a magazine.
“Hi, Jenny!” Amy said. “Come read with us!”
Jenny sat down and looked over Mandy’s shoulder. Immediately she saw a picture she knew she shouldn’t look at. Amy and Mandy giggled. Jenny stared at the floor. She didn’t know what to say. Amy and Mandy were two of the most popular girls in school, and Jenny wanted them to like her.
Finally Amy put down the magazine. “Let’s play a game!” she said.
Jenny was relieved. Now she could have some fun.
Amy pulled out a word game. Jenny was excited. “I play this game with my family all the time,” she said. “It’s one of my favorites.”
Jenny put together her word: “listen.” She smiled at her friends. “Look! It has six letters! I’ve never been able to make such a long word in this game before!”
Then Mandy put down her word. It was a naughty word Jenny’s family didn’t use. Mandy and Amy giggled. Jenny couldn’t decide if she should ask them to stop. She kept making regular words, but Mandy and Amy kept making bad words. The more they giggled, the worse Jenny felt.
Jenny was relieved when Amy’s parents came in to check on them. With grown-ups around, Jenny was sure no one would say bad words or look at bad pictures.
“Are you ready for the movie?” Amy’s parents asked.
Jenny sat on the couch with Amy and Mandy to watch the movie, but this wasn’t like movies Jenny watched at home. The movie bothered her. Should she say something? Should she leave? Jenny didn’t know what to say. So she just sat there feeling worse and worse.
When Jenny’s mom came to pick her up, Jenny almost ran to the car.
“What’s wrong?” Mom asked as Jenny buckled her seatbelt and started crying.
“I feel so yucky!” Jenny said. She told Mom all about the party.
Mom’s face was serious. “Jenny, I’m so sorry that happened. If you are ever in a bad situation, remember that you can always call Dad or me to come get you.”
Jenny nodded. “I know,” she said. “I should have called.”
When they got home, Jenny went to her room and tried to act like everything was fine, but all she could think about was the bad things she’d seen. How could she forget them?
A while later she heard a knock on her door. It was Mom and Dad.
“I hear you had a bad night,” Dad said.
“I feel so yucky inside,” Jenny said.
“How do you think you can feel clean again?” Dad asked.
Jenny thought about it. “Will you pray with me?” she asked.
“Of course,” Dad said.
Mom and Dad knelt by Jenny. Jenny prayed that she wouldn’t feel yucky anymore and asked to be forgiven for staying around things she knew she shouldn’t.
Jenny finished her prayer. She felt better. The yucky feeling was gone. She felt different from how she had been feeling all night. The Holy Ghost was helping her feel happy again. Jenny decided this was the way she wanted to feel all the time—no matter what.