If This Happened Tomorrow—What Would You Do?

We all know that life is complex—filled with daily problems and situations that try our wisdom. For this reason, the prophets have long asked us to build a personal philosophy of life now that will help us solve our problems in the moment or hour they come up.

Featured below are two real-life situations. By thinking through each situation and analyzing its possible solutions and consequences, you will have gone a long way toward arriving at your own decision when related problems arise in your own life.

To make it even more interesting, write down your counsel for one of the situations, perhaps giving reasons or gospel principles that apply, and send your counsel to us. Responses should generally be no more than 150 words in length. In an upcoming issue (it takes time to get overseas mail and letters into print) we’ll print the most thoughtful and interesting suggestions and solutions. Now—what would you do in each of the following situations?

Situation # 1

A very close friend has told me in strict confidence that he has been violating the law of chastity. He has good feelings toward the Church but is unwilling to speak to the bishop about his problem. He has been filling his priesthood assignments (blessing the sacrament, home teaching, and so forth) as if nothing is wrong. Yesterday he broke up with his girl, and now he’s talking of dating other girls in the stake, including one I’m interested in. He came, needing to talk to someone, and trusted me to keep his secret. He feels bad, but he isn’t sure he can change and feels that he cannot take my advice to see the bishop—at least not now. I keep wondering if I have any responsibility to him, to others in the stake, or to the Lord. If I violate his trust and tell the bishop, it will almost certainly destroy our friendship and might even result in his leaving the Church, because I am really his only close friend in the ward. He seems to be trying to straighten himself out. Still, he may get another girl involved. What should I do?

Situation #2

Some of my friends have begun smoking marijuana. They know and respect my attitudes on the subject and do not pressure me to conform. I enjoy their company in most other situations and have much in common with them. Also, several in the group have been asking questions about the gospel, wondering if it could fill the vacuum they feel in their lives. One or two seem quite interested in knowing more about why I refuse to smoke with them. On almost any occasion when we all get together, it is probably a fifty-fifty chance that someone will have marijuana on them and will start smoking. When no one starts smoking a “joint,” we sit around and talk. It is at these times that the gospel may come up. But it is impossible to know if anyone will bring marijuana when we get together. This is even more confusing because I know that I’m subject to arrest for being on the premises where marijuana smoking is occurring or for being in the presence of others who possess marijuana, even though I do not smoke. What should I do about this risk and about associating with my longtime friends, who might come to an understanding of the gospel through me.

[illustration] Illustrated by Jeanne Lindorff