04289_000_011Our friends can influence us. But when we live the gospel, we can also influence them.
I always admired the changes my brother’s example brought about in some of his classmates. Through their friendship with him, they had become better people. Because of his example, I knew that the saying “Be careful whom you choose as friends because you will have the tendency to become like them” can sometimes also mean “Be careful whom you choose as friends because they will have a tendency to become like you.”
All through school, I had had the same group of friends. But one year, a new student started at our school, and unlike me, he was popular. But I still somehow became his friend. In the months following, we became closer until we were best friends.
I was in the habit of going to seminary immediately after school. One day he asked me where I went every day. I decided to explain all about the Church, but from the look on his face, I realized this wasn’t the best way to talk to him. So I stopped talking so insistently.
A few months later the elders were coming over to my house at the same time some friends and I were meeting there to do homework. This friend was one of them, so I asked the elders to talk a little about the Church. He was interested in what they were saying. He realized that some things in my life were different from what he and other friends were doing, and he wanted to find out why. He started coming to church, Mutual, and seminary, and he saw that all my Church friends were like me, with the same principles. Soon he decided to be baptized.
At his baptism, the bishop asked him to bear his testimony. He stood and said: “I am here today thanks to a friend and how different he was from other people. I hope that everyone will see the differences in all of you too.”
I hope we can all try to be friends with others, whether they are like us or not. We never know who is going to have the tendency to become, like us, a member of the Lord’s true Church.
Illustration by John Zamudio