Cliff Hanger


My friends didn’t live the Word of Wisdom, but it saved their lives.

Cliff Hanger

Port Erin, Isle of Man—

I work out a little bit, but I don’t believe the strength I had that night on the cliff was my own. I feel the promise that has been made to everyone who keeps the Word of Wisdom was kept to me.

I was coming aback from a local disco (club) in Bradda Glen, where they play oldies like ’60s and ’70s music, when I saw some friends. Some of them had been drinking, and they weren’t their normal selves. Two of them decided to take a different way home.

There are two ways back. You can go the normal way, by road, which is much safer. Or you can go along the coast path, which is windy but has a good view. That’s the one my friends decided on. Normally, I would have just walked along the road, but I decided my friends weren’t in a fit state to look after themselves, so I walked along with them.

One of them started staggering and suddenly plopped down, off the side of the cliff. The other guy went to try to help him, but he went over too. It wasn’t completely sheer, but it was very steep, and they were hanging on with one arm. They could have easily slid right down, and I don’t know if they would have made it back up.

I remember clearly actually grabbing hold of their arms, one at a time, and hoisting them. I not only pulled them up; I actually pulled them off the ground, over the top, and back onto the path. The words from the promise of the Word of Wisdom, in section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, came to me, “And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint” (D&C 89:20).

They were amazed. I was amazed. They said, “Well, it’s a good thing you didn’t drink tonight.” And I said, “Well that’s really my religion for you.”

For my entire life I’ve strived to keep the Word of Wisdom. I find it easy to keep, even though smoking, drinking, and drugs seem to be an increasing problem here on the Isle. But when I was young, I heard President Spencer W. Kimball say that if I decided to keep standards then, when I was young, it would be much easier for me when the temptation came up, because I would have already made the decision to abstain.

I’ve really tried to apply that in my life, and that night on the coast path, I was glad I did. By following the Word of Wisdom, I believe I was given extra strength for that moment in time.

[illustration] Illustrated by Roger Motzkus