What If Everyone Played in the Chapel?

All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them (3 Ne. 14:12).

Bettyanne Gillette, “What If Everyone Played in the Chapel?,” Friend, Sept. 1996, 18–19

Danny’s sister poked him in the side. “Mom wants you,” she whispered. Danny looked down the row past his brothers, sisters, and father to his mother. She was leaning forward in her seat and staring at him. She pointed to the empty seat next to her. Danny knew what that meant. He stepped slowly past the whole family and sat beside her.

“You need to be quiet,” she whispered in his ear, then looked back up at the speaker.

“But I want to play,” Danny whispered back. He put his head down and closed his eyes. His chin started to tremble.

His mother pulled him close and whispered, “Danny, you’re a good boy, and I love you. But what would it be like in here if everybody started playing?”

“That would be great!” he whispered back.

“Are you sure?” she asked, more softly still. “Think about it.”

Danny turned to look around the chapel. He saw Brother and Sister Lund and their two children sitting quietly in their seats. Danny imagined Brother Lund turning to his family and holding up a chalkboard with a word game on it. Sister Lund and the children held their hands high in the air, waving them as they yelled, “Pick me! Pick me!” Danny giggled. That would be fun! he thought.

Danny looked the other way and saw the Clark family sitting on the front row. He wondered what it would be like if all the Clark children were playing “Guess What Animal I Am?” He pictured Adam, who had just returned from his mission, hopping up and down as his family yelled, “A rabbit! A rabbit!” That would be fun too. Then he wondered, But would it be fun for the speaker and the people who were trying to listen?

Danny saw his friends Sam and Billy. What if they brought their small video games to sacrament meeting? He could almost hear the music and beeping noises. He imagined Sam and Billy jumping out of their seats, yelling each time they won or lost. Danny frowned. What if Sam and Billy and the Clarks and the Lunds were all playing at once? They would hardly be able to hear themselves, and no one else could hear anything.

What if everyone in the chapel started playing? Danny asked himself. He pictured balls being tossed back and forth, children skating down the aisles, fathers watching television, and mothers talking loudly to their friends. It would be so loud that my ears would hurtand could anyone think about Heavenly Father?

Danny looked up at the pulpit. He was sure he wouldn’t be able to understand anything the speaker was saying, but he tried. To his surprise, she was talking about how much Jesus Christ loved little children. Danny felt a warm glow spread through him. If everyone was playing,I wouldn’t have this good feeling.

Danny snuggled up closer to his mother and kept listening. There would be plenty of times to play, but this wasn’t one of them.