If This Happened Tomorrow—What Would You Do?


The 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.

Situation #4

A famous lecturer, who happens to be a member of our fraternity, is coming to our campus, and our chapter is eager to prepare an informal reception for him. The frat house is undergoing remodeling, and because I am an officer, the guys asked if they could hold the reception at our home. I asked my folks and they agreed.

Since that time, the social chairman called to tell me that he has, at great difficulty and expense, acquired the two things that our famous guest is known to have a special taste for—a very rare kind of brandy and an equally unusual brand of imported cigar.

Invitations have already been sent to a host of distinguished faculty members and civic leaders. I do not want to hurt any feelings or cause any embarrassment, but our home is hallowed to us—a sanctuary from the world and its unspiritual practices—and we have never had liquor or tobacco on the premises before. What should I do?

“A lot of famous people admire the high standards of the Mormons. At your informal reception serve good, wholesome, enjoyable food, and without acting embarrassed explain to your guests how special your home is to you. This will not only make your civic leaders and faculty members respect you highly for your standards, but also give you a chance to speak to them about the gospel.”

Tracy Wood Salt Lake City, Utah

“All this individual has to do is explain to the members of the fraternity just what the problem is. They could very easily find another home for the reception and send out new invitations. In the long run the boy will be respected for upholding his standards and doing what he feels is right.

“It is a fact that even nonmembers who are not interested in the Church look up to the Mormons. They respect LDS people for their clean living and their strong family ties. This respect would be ruined if drinking and the use of tobacco were allowed in the home.”

Frank Dolezol Sun Valley, California

“I am a new member in the Church and because of my family’s opposition, there is much contention in my home. I have often dreamed of a home that would be a ‘sanctuary from the world and its unspiritual practices.’ I know that if I lived in the home described here, I would keep my home a sanctuary. I know that a home such as this is indeed a great blessing.”

Robynann McFarland Keene, New Hampshire

“I would explain to the social chairman the standards that are observed in my home, and then I would give some alternatives: (1) He could present the lecturer with his gifts after the reception when everyone had returned to the fraternity house. (2) He could present the gifts at my home either during or at the end of the reception, explaining that they were for the lecturer’s private consumption whenever he felt he would enjoy them most.”

Gene Petty Honolulu, Hawaii

“I think that the individual should continue to maintain his home as a ‘sanctuary from the world and its unspiritual practices.’ He should tell the social chairman about the Word of Wisdom and how it is observed in his home and explain that he would rather not have the liquor and tobacco present at the reception. He should still offer to hold the reception, because I know from experience that a party without those things present is much more fun.”

JoAnn Fawcett Rowayton, Connecticut

“If he explains properly that his family and he believe in living their religion seven days a week, that they consider their home a hallowed, sacred place where the Spirit of the Lord is always invited and encouraged to dwell, and that therefore they would appreciate it if those who are attending would abide by the guidelines that have been set up (i.e., no liquor or tobacco), rather than embarrassing or hurting anyone, respect for him, his parents, and their convictions would be gained. Also, the famous lecturer, the host of distinguished faculty members and civic leaders, and most of all, his fraternity brothers who know his standards will be able to experience the atmosphere of a true Latter-day Saint home.

“Last May I heard Sister Ezra Taft Benson mention that, contrary to the practices of others, while they were living in Washington, D.C., they never served liquor at social gatherings where they were host, and they tried to always live the gospel in their home. She mentioned the many compliments she received, including one from the First Lady, on the spirit within their home.”

E. Jay Bell Provo, Utah

“It is obvious that you and your family hold your home as sacred as any church meetinghouse. Nonmembers respect us when we ask them not to smoke or drink in our chapels. The Tabernacle on Temple Square has been the site of many civic functions where even presidents of the United States have spoken. If you make clear that yours is a Mormon household, and do your best to make the reception an enjoyable one, you will not offend anyone of good character.”

Raymond Swenson Kearns, Utah