The Basics Have Not Changed

By Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

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(Adapted from an April 1997 conference address. See Ensign, May 1997, pages 37–39.)I will go; I will do the thing the Lord commands (Children’s Songbook, pages 120–121).

While I was in high school in Oakley, Idaho, the school board was finally able to raise enough money to buy us football uniforms. Our coach was the chemistry teacher. He had seen a game one time, and so he taught us how to tackle and run a few simple plays. The rest of us had never seen an actual team play.

Our first game was against Twin Falls, Idaho, the previous year’s state high school champs. Well, as you can imagine, the game was interesting. We tried a couple of plays and didn’t go anywhere, so we kicked the ball to get rid of it. Each time we got the ball, we kicked, and each time they got the ball, they scored.

Near the end of the game, when we were battered and beaten, Twin Falls started to get a little reckless. Clifford Lee, who was playing halfback with me, had one of their wild passes land right in his arms. He wondered what to do with it. He saw them coming after him, so he started to run for his life. He scored a touchdown.

We didn’t try an extra point because we didn’t have anyone who could kick one. The final score was 106 to 6. Our team lost so badly because we had not mastered the basics of football.

In life when there is something to be done, we have to learn the basics. They are taught in the scriptures. None of them has changed. We have to learn to obey the simple, basic rules of the gospel that are necessary for us to advance.

Illustrated by Mark Robison