Shape Up


My Grandfather Rose was very ill with heart problems. To help my grandmother with his care, our family decided that we would take turns sleeping at my grandparents’ house to help out. My mother and my aunts went over most often, but one weekend I asked if I could spend the night.

I was reclining in a chair next to my grandfather’s bed. He was sleeping well that night, which was unusual. I was just falling asleep myself when my granddad rolled over and said, “Carl, shape up.” Then he rolled back over and went back to sleep.

I didn’t know what he meant. I wasn’t a bad kid. But I wasn’t able to fall asleep the rest of the night. I stayed up thinking about what my granddad meant by telling me to “shape up.”

I thought about his words for the next few days, trying to figure out what I needed to shape up in my life. A few days later, I went again to my grandparents’ home to rub my grandfather’s back. I finished that and sat down to talk to my grandma. She said, “Carl, Granddad prays that you will gain the desire to serve a mission for the Lord.”

Later that night I was working at my gymnastics exercises. I heard my coach yelling at me to concentrate. I was so caught up thinking about the conversation that I had with my grandma and the decision I had to make that it was hard for me to work out. I was torn between a college scholarship for gymnastics and a mission.

As I was lying in bed later that night, I thought back to my granddad saying, “Carl, shape up.” I thought about whether my priorities were where they should be. They weren’t. I realized that my number-one priority was gymnastics, not the Lord and his work. I finally figured out what my granddad meant. He meant that I needed to shape up my soul and my mind. The only way to do that was to start going to seminary and church.

Not long after I began to “shape up,” I read the Book of Mormon for the first time in my life. As I did, I took the prophet Moroni’s advice and prayed about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Through these exercises, I not only gained the desire to serve a mission, but I also found the light and life of the world, Jesus Christ.