While traveling to a youth conference in Stuttgart, Germany, I had the opportunity to speak with an elderly woman about the temple and about my faith in the restored gospel. She was acquainted with the Church and had a fairly good idea of some gospel doctrines.
During our conversation, however, the woman said something that made me sad. When she was introduced to the Church approximately 40 years before by a Latter-day Saint friend, something her friend had said still stood out to her. “I’m not allowed to drink,” her friend had said. The woman then added that she knew of a few Latter-day Saints who did drink “now and then.”
Contrary to what this woman thought, the gospel is not forced upon anyone. We all have the right to make our own decisions. Heavenly Father gave us the Word of Wisdom to help us keep our bodies holy, but each of us must choose whether to live His law of health because He also gave us our moral agency.
I decided several years ago when I was baptized that I would follow Jesus Christ. For that reason, I don’t drink alcohol. God’s commandments are gifts to us, and if we keep them, they will lead us back to Him.
From this simple encounter, I was reminded that as members of the Lord’s Church, we are always examples to others. We choose, however, what that example will be.