What you say or do isn’t so important? Nobody pays attention? Don’t kid yourself. Somebody is watching. It might even be Julie.
My best friend, Julie, is not a member of the Church. She is very religious, however, and has the ability to draw people to her. Almost all the LDS students in my school care for her very much and would love to see her come into the Church. Because they care for her, people often get into discussions with her and try to teach her what we believe.
There are some boys my age who talk to Julie a great deal about the Church. They know how wonderful she is and what a great asset the gospel would be for her in her life. One day when we were in junior high, Julie and I met after a class to go to lunch. She told me she had had another Church discussion and that she had been watching these boys and noticing how they behaved and treated other people. She saw how particularly mean they were to another boy in our grade who was less fortunate than the rest of us. And then she said something that I have never forgotten: “They tell me wonderful things about what Mormons believe, but they sure don’t act that way.”
Every time I think about this I cry inside. That day I learned better than ever what it means to be an example. I better understand what Alma meant when he was talking to his son Corianton and said, “When they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words” (Alma 39:11). People are watching us. It is so important to live the way we know we should.
Many people look to Latter-day Saints to be examples, and there are others who are just waiting for us to fall. We need to be missionaries and tell our friends what we believe in, but one of the best ways to teach is through example. In junior high and high school it is especially easy to bow to social pressure, but the Lord will strengthen us and bless us for standing uprightly before him. When our actions are in accordance with our words and beliefs, we will not only strengthen ourselves but also help others.