03270_000_012The following situations and responses from New Era readers are to provide perspective and insight. These suggestions are from youth and should not be considered counsel from the General Authorities or pronouncements of the Church.
Our school baseball team has had a wonderful season. I am pitching for the team, and we are undefeated. I am the only Mormon on the team, and I have several of the boys plus the coach interested in the Church. They often ask me questions about the Church, and I do my best to answer them. Because of the number of playoffs, the final game determining the league championship will be held this Sunday. The winner of the game is sent to the state championship. We have been working all season for this next meet, and I found out too late that this one game is to be played on the Sabbath, so there is no replacement for me in the pitching position. I don’t know what to do because if I don’t play the team will not only lose the game and hence the state championship, but they will also lose all interest in the Church!
“A few years ago, BYU was playing in a basketball tournament on the east coast. Because of bad weather, games had to be cancelled and rescheduled on a Sunday. The team wired Salt Lake City to ask for counsel on whether or not they should play on Sunday. The counsel from the General Authorities was no.
“The boy in the situation said that many members of the baseball team were interested in the Church. It would be best for them to see someone who puts the Lord first. We must remember that the Lord cannot bless us if we don’t keep the commandments. What the Lord thinks should guide our decisions, not what others think. Keep the commandments and don’t play.”
Elder Ric Wilcox Georgia-South Carolina Mission
“What this young man should ask himself is how interested his teammates would be in the Church if he did play on Sunday and thus proved that the principles in which he claims to believe are not important to him. Would his friends be interested in a church that could not, in a real test, hold up as this young man’s guiding standard?”
Teresa D. Bickley Tacoma, Washington
“In this situation I would feel a need to kneel and discuss with my Heavenly Father his solution to my problem.
“First Nephi 3:7 states: ‘I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.’ (1 Ne. 3:7) The Lord has given us the commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy by partaking of the sacrament and thus renewing our covenants with him.
“I’ve discovered that nonmember friends are influenced most by example. If you allow yourself to break one of your Heavenly Father’s commandments, just this once, you may never be able to convince those interested in the Church that the gospel is true.
“Be a ruler of circumstances; don’t let circumstances rule you.”
Joanne Stephenson Riverside, California
“We’ve been put on this earth to be tested and prove ourselves worthy to return to our Heavenly Father. Many times it is difficult to know exactly which way to turn, and which way will be best for others as well as ourselves. However, we’ve been told many times never to compromise and never to give in to the things of the world. So I think the boy should stand up for what our church believes and not play that game on Sunday. And when his teammates see him do that, they will admire him and our church. They’ll get the idea that our church really has something to it, and most likely they’ll investigate it.
“At the time the boy tells the team, they may hate him and make fun of him, but he should take it well, and in time his reward will come. Remember what the Lord promised Joseph Smith in his difficult times: ‘And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
“‘The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
“‘Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.’ (D&C 122: 7–9.)
“And that is quite a promise, so the boy should make his stand and do what’s best for the Church, his teammates, and especially for himself.”
Darrell Back Salt Lake City, Utah
“If he does play the Sunday game, his teammates may not lose interest in the Church, but is he going to explain to them that the principles of the Church are the most important things in members’ lives except for the commandment about keeping the Sabbath?
“If this boy could get together with his teammates and explain his principles to them and get the whole team on his side, then they could probably get the game rescheduled. This way the team’s interest in the Church might be increased, and they would have greater respect for the principles of the gospel.”
Corey Christensen, Kay Adamson, Tonya Allen, Lisa Poulsen, Marva Ashton, Dennis Huggard, Lisa Hartshorn, LoRee Johnson, Steve Broadbent, Dave Dorton Lehi, Utah