What Is the Most Important Word?


We went through what seemed like a thousand words. I began to wonder if there was an answer.

The tardy bell rang just as I ran through the front door of the seminary building. Quickly, I slid into my seat, the third desk back on the first row, expecting another ordinary day in fifth period and not the memorable experience I was about to have.

“I’d like to welcome you all here today,” our teacher began. He said that every day, but we all knew he meant what he said. He was affectionately known as Brother C., and it was his genuine concern for each of his students that made this class of impatient ninth graders put aside their important conversations and daydreams to listen to him.

“Today we’re going to do something a little different,” he said. “I’ve prepared a special lesson centered around a concept President Kimball taught, and it starts with a very important question.

This should be a good change, I thought. I wonder what this important question is.

“Okay. Here is the question. What is the most important word?”

I sat up with a start. I knew someone was going to say boys, girls or something else ninth graders think about. I heard Brother C. call on someone.

“Kathy, what do you think is the most important word?” he asked.

“Um … um … boys!” she said, as the entire class became swallowed in laughter. Someone had to say that.

“All right, quiet down,” Brother C. said. “Let’s be serious.” Slowly, Tony raised his hand and said he thought families was an important word.

“That’s a good answer. Any other ideas?” questioned Brother C., as he sat down on the corner of his desk. “Let’s hear some response.”

David said, “I think love is the most important word because if we all love each other, then we’re happy.”

I liked his answer, and I was fascinated by the question. The class hour sped by as people were called on to tell what they thought the most important word was. Each time an answer was given, Brother C.’s kind voice said, “That’s a good answer, but it’s not the word I’m looking for.”

We went through what seemed like a thousand words: love, family, scriptures, prayer, faith, Christ, priesthood, prophet, resurrection, temple, and eternity. I began to wonder if there was really an answer. Finally, Brother C. looked at the clock.

“You’ve all given wonderful answers,” he said. “But the word I was looking for encompasses all of the beautiful words you’ve mentioned. The most important word is remember.

“If you remember,” he said, “you won’t forget to pray. You won’t forget to serve or love. You will remember to read the scriptures. You will not forget your family and friends. You will remember to obey the prophet. You’ll keep in your heart the knowledge that Jesus Christ sacrificed his life for us, and you will love him as he loves you. You will remember why you came to this earth. And you will remember you are sons and daughters of God. You can return home to him if you remember to keep his commandments and live your lives the way he has asked.”

Then he bore his testimony and told us how much he loved us. We knew he did. I felt his love for me when I saw the twinkling smile in his eyes as he came over and shook my hand. I knew he loved me when he asked, “Will you remember?”

I almost told him yes, but just then the bell rang—but I remembered.

Most of the things I learned in seminary haven’t remained as vivid in my mind and heart as that lesson. But that lesson, and that day, I did not forget.

When temptations came, I remembered to get on my knees and pray. When I was discouraged and felt alone, I remembered that families can be forever. And no matter what crisis came, I remembered. I knew my Father in Heaven was near, and I knew he loved me.

But more important than anything else, I remembered who I was and why I was on earth. It kept me trying when I wanted to give up, and it helped me remember things like giving, learning, scriptures, and love.

Now, when I think of those important gospel truths which have become so precious to me, I also remember that day I ran in late to seminary. I am grateful for a caring, loving seminary teacher, and in my mind I see the twinkling smile in his eye as he shakes my hand. I hear him ask me if I remember, and I do. Will you?

[photos] Photography by Steve Bunderson