The Best at Something

The Best at Something

I was shy and lacked confidence as a sophomore in high school in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Then my life began to change dramatically one Friday afternoon. I attended a football pep rally. It was the typical high school rally: a jam-packed auditorium, a speech or two, lots of yelling and shouting.

As I sat near the back of the auditorium watching the players and cheerleaders, I realized more than ever before that I wasn’t part of their social group and probably never would be. The only thing that kept me from feeling totally dejected was the feeling that my current position didn’t mean that I couldn’t excel at something.

Somewhere during my walk from the pep rally to home I realized that I needed to do something better than anyone else at East High School. My self-image needed this shot of excellence. It was just a simple decision involving no drum rolls, no trumpets, no crowds, and no big buildup.

At this pivotal point in my life, the Holy Ghost touched me and directed me to the Book of Mormon. Being “directed” was a new experience in my life, but it felt so easy and so right. I went straight to our bookshelf when I got home and dusted off Mom’s old hardback edition of the Book of Mormon. As I sat down, I decided that I would learn more about the Book of Mormon than any other person in my high school. I read all of 1 Nephi during that first sitting.

Some of the words on those pages were difficult for me, and I didn’t learn much from that first reading. But I had started toward my goal, and that was immense progress. I felt good inside as I closed the cover. I knew I was doing the right thing. My goal and those feelings launched me on a never-ending path of gospel study and represented the beginnings of a testimony. As time passed, I read more and more from the Book of Mormon, and I began to understand more of what I read. I don’t know if I achieved my goal to learn more about it than any other person at my high school, but I do know what reading it did for me and for my feelings of self-worth.

The spiritual security I found in the Book of Mormon was a haven. I had increased my understanding of eternal truths. And if I couldn’t excel academically, athletically, or socially, it was all brought into realistic perspective by those eternal truths.

[photo] Photography by Philip S. Shurtleff