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

One day I was in the library of our high school viewing a filmstrip on a small projector. I was sitting in a booth, and nearby I observed a girl I knew slightly taking a makeup test for her French class. When I walked past her to take a filmstrip back to the audio-visual desk, I saw that she was looking up test words in a French dictionary. Shortly after, a student audio-visual assistant came by. When he saw that the girl was cheating, he questioned her and they talked for several minutes. The A-V assistant said he would not tell on her it she stopped cheating right then. After he had gone she continued using the French dictionary. What should I have done? What should I do now?

Many times during our youthful years we see the friends that we grow up with do wrong things, all the way from cheating on tests to immorality. And we seem to think it is none of our business. But in Ezekial 3:17–19 [Ezek. 3:17–19] it says that we have been made “watchmen unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.

“When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

“Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”

So it really is our business. Now, if we tell them that what they are doing is wrong, we will probably have to put up with a lot of persecution. But we will also save some souls if we tell them that they are wrong and share the gospel with them. After all the persecution that Jesus Christ had to take to save us, shouldn’t we sacrifice a little pride or whatever in trying to save the souls of our fellowmen?

Stephen R. Schroeder Payette, Idaho

I once witnessed two girls shoplifting in a store, and I wondered then what I should do. I finally found an answer to my question, and I feel it would also apply to this particular problem.

First, Stealing and Cheating are two things that we have been told not to do by both our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. In both cases someone is taking something he shouldn’t. Certainly the girl taking the test knows that she should not be cheating, and perhaps a little persuasion might help, the kind of persuasion that is friendly yet firm. You could say, “Hey, you’re too good a person to cheat. Is one grade really so important that you have to cheat?” Or maybe you could say, “What are you going to gain by this—a grade you really didn’t earn yourself?” You have to keep in mind that you are, in a sense, your brother’s keeper, but whatever you do must be done in an attitude of love. The person being tempted just needs the help of someone stronger than himself at that particular time.

Lorie Van Sickle Camarillo, California

I’ve taken French for three years now, and I know what a drag it is when you can’t remember the exact word or verb form. But I also know that cheating doesn’t help at all. If I were you, I wouldn’t tell the teacher; I’d talk to the girl. If you want to know her better, show her that you care what she does. Be sincere. People admire honest, sincere people, and they also like to know that others care what they do. Who knows, you might impress her so much that you do her a lot of good—and it can only do you good no matter what happens. Don’t let the opportunity to help a fellow human pass you by.

Amy L. Hanson Auburn, California

If I caught anyone cheating I know what I would do. I would tell my superiors. My reasoning? Cheating doesn’t do anyone any good. It doesn’t help the student who does it because he is learning nothing by cheating. Also, you have to realize that one person cheating is very unfair to the honest person who studied and prepared for the test. It makes the grading scale, in most cases, higher, besides the fact that it might make the honest person wonder if it’s all that good to be honest, especially if the student who cheats does not get punished for what he does.

Mari McGirr Le Mars, Iowa

Free agency is the key. I would approach the girl, tell her that I know she is cheating, and ask if she realizes the consequence of what she is doing. I might say, “How would you feel and what would you do if you knew that the doctor who was going to operate on you had cheated on the final exam in medical school?” Or “How would you feel if someone received an A- for cheating on a test while you were honest and received a D, and he passed but you did not? I will not report you because it is not my place to be a judge, but I do believe that you will do what is right.”

Thomas Platt Salt Lake City, Utah

It is difficult to know how to handle the problem of cheating. Because the girl who is cheating has been given an earlier warning, the problem becomes somewhat easier to solve. If those people within hearing distance of the first warning do nothing as the girl continues to cheat, they will be condoning the cheating action.

As members of the Church we believe in being honest. We also believe in sustaining and upholding the law. Good citizenship not only involves obeying rules and laws, but also upholding rules and laws. As an observer who heard the first warning given to the girl, I would be condoning the action if I didn’t say something. I would probably approach the girl with two alternatives. I would tell the girl that I know she is cheating and give her a chance to freely admit her dishonesty to bier instructor. If the girl will not voluntarily admit her guilt to her instructor, I would feel an obligation to say something to her instructor.

Karen Christensen Mesa, Arizona

[illustrations] Illustrated by Ted Henninger