woman on a bus

Illustration by Bradley Clark

I had just sat down on the bus when a man across the aisle leaned over to me and said, “You have a beautiful soul.”

Needless to say, I was surprised. I had never been complimented on my soul before. Unsure how to respond, I just said, “Thank you.”

The man told me he could tell because of his work with his religious group. I listened to him as he gave me advice on how to keep my soul beautiful.

When the bus rolled to a stop, we both stood to exit and he imparted a final thought to me: “Be sure you don’t listen to those Mormons.”

Time seemed to stand still for a moment. This man had seen something special in my countenance, but he had no idea that it was because of my religion.

How was I going to respond? To be honest, my first thought was to say nothing and pretend I hadn’t heard him. I was worried that if I told him I was a member of the Church, he might respond negatively or even harshly.

But then a scripture came to mind: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16). I realized that I was not ashamed of the gospel, and I knew that my soul could not shine for others if I did not stand as a witness. With my new resolve, I looked at the man and said, “Actually, I am one.”

The man stared at me and I stared back. To my surprise, he laughed and said he could not join the Church because he was too fond of coffee. I laughed too, and we went our separate ways.

To this day I am glad about the choice I made. I know that it can be difficult to stand as a member of the Church. Sometimes it can be terrifying! But when we stand for God, our souls can shine as lights to the world.