Friend to Friend

From an interview with President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; by Rebecca M. Taylor

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Be still, and know that I am God (Ps. 46:10).

My grandparents used to have a ranch in the little town of Oak City, Utah, and when I was growing up, I would spend my summers and some of the holidays there. We were related to most of the people in the town, and it was wonderful to spend time with loving aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Often I would play sports with my cousins. I was also interested in reading books. Sometimes my aunts would get after me when I was reading and tell me to go outside and have fun with the boys. But as a result of that reading habit, I learned about some of the wonderful works of literature at an early age, for which I am grateful now.

One day when I was young, my father happened upon a little lost lamb in the desert. The lamb’s flock had moved on, and if we had left him, the coyotes might have found him. If he didn’t die because of the coyotes, he would have starved. So my father brought him home and gave him to me to care for.

I named the little lamb Nigh; I’m not sure why. I fed him with a bottle, and soon he grew strong and healthy. He and I became great friends, and I could just call him and he would come running. We liked to play on the grass together. Sometimes I would lie down with my head on his fleece and gaze up at the clouds floating by in the blue sky overhead.

One night there came a terrible storm. I usually locked up Nigh in the barn each night, but that night I forgot to do it until after I had gone to bed. As I lay there, I could hear the fierce wind howling and I could hear my little lamb bleating, frightened and fearful. But I just didn’t want to leave that warm, comfortable bed to take care of him.

The next morning I awoke to find that I was not the only one who had heard my lamb bleating. Some dogs had heard him and had killed him. My heart was broken. My father looked at me with disappointment written on his face. “Son,” he said, “couldn’t I trust you to take care of just one lamb?”

The lesson I learned that day was one I will never forget. I resolved that when a lamb needed to be cared for or when anyone needed my help, I would respond right away rather than wait for a more “convenient” time.

When I was older, I was on my high school’s football team. Before we played, I didn’t always button the chin strap on my helmet, and sometimes my helmet didn’t stay on. One time when my helmet came off, I got hit so hard that I was knocked unconscious. I was terribly embarrassed when I came to and saw my teammates looking down at me. From that I learned that we always need to keep our physical and spiritual protectors in place. Our spiritual protectors include our obedience to the commandments of God and to the counsel and direction of our parents.

I have always had a testimony of the gospel. I didn’t always understand everything, but in the early years of my life, my testimony was strengthened as I prayed and my prayers were answered. In this way I came to learn the importance of prayer and of listening to the Spirit.

The Primary theme this year is “I know the scriptures are true.” As we read the scriptures, we can come to feel as though we know great characters such as David, who slew Goliath; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who were cast into the fiery furnace and unharmed; and Daniel, who was put into the lions’ den and who was protected by an angel of God. We each can find our own way of relating to these people. For example, we can strengthen our faith and feelings of self-worth when we read of David and Goliath. David was just a little shepherd boy, the youngest of his father’s family, when he conquered Goliath. From his story we can learn that no matter who we are, we can achieve good things with the help of the Lord.

One scripture that brings me great comfort is Psalm 46:10 [Ps. 46:10]: “Be still, and know that I am God.” It is very important for all of us to realize that we’re sons and daughters of God and that He is mindful of us, loves us, is watching over us, and will help us if we let Him.

1. President Faust and his wife, Ruth Wright Faust

2. Serving as a missionary in Brazil in 1940

3. At age 8

4. At age 3 (far right) with older brother, Gus (far left), and younger brother, Rex