Friend to Friend:

Strength from Others

by Elder William H. Bennett

Assistant to the Council of the Twelve

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    Elder William H. Bennett

    One day when I was about fifteen years of age, I was taking part in the high jump at a tri-stake MIA track meet. We had reached the height where most of the jumpers were eliminated, and there were just two of us left. I had knocked the bar off twice and had one jump remaining.

    Elder Hugh B. Brown, who was then president of the Lethbridge Stake, was watching the event and came over to me. He put his arm on my shoulder and said, “Young man, you can clear that bar. I know you can. I have been watching you. You are not over the bar when you are at the highest point. If you adjust your takeoff just a bit, you will clear that bar, young man. I know you will!”

    Suddenly something happened inside of me. It seemed as though new strength had come into my body. I went up to that bar with complete assurance that I could clear it, and I did. I shall never forget that experience.

    In the days of my youth, the Lord saw fit to bless me with an inferiority complex. I say bless because in wrestling with this problem as a young boy, I learned the meaning of humility. I learned what it meant to get close to my Father in heaven through prayer on an almost continuous basis. I learned that in problems we find our challenges, and in those challenges lie opportunities. I learned that strength comes from facing up to problems squarely and realistically, not from disregarding them or avoiding them.

    Several of my teachers and leaders in the Church had the ability to reach me when I lacked confidence in myself as a boy. They helped me set worthwhile goals and objectives and gain a vision of the importance of the gospel in my life and in the scheme of things. I will be eternally grateful to them for what they did for me and are still doing.

    Illustrated by Ted Nagata