When I was about seven or eight years old, my mother directed the ward road show. Early one Saturday morning, my sisters and I were at the meetinghouse with her for a rehearsal. Most of the youth were dressed in what was considered fashionable back then: torn jeans, cutoff shorts, and ragged tie-dyed T-shirts. My mother realized she needed some tape from the library and left for a minute. When she returned, she was glowing.
“Guess who I just saw in the hall?” she said excitedly. “President Kimball!” A hush fell over the room.
“He and his wife are here to speak at a mission conference. He said he would gladly meet with any of you!”
I was so excited! I was going to meet the prophet! I looked around, expecting to see a room full of eager young men and women. But, instead, most of the youth hung their heads.
“What’s the matter?” my mom asked.
One young woman in short cutoffs spoke up, “I don’t think the prophet would approve of these shorts I’m wearing. I’m embarrassed to meet him.”
“I don’t think I’m dressed appropriately to shake the hand of a prophet,” said a young man dressed in ragged jeans and a tattered tank top.
I couldn’t believe they would pass up this opportunity! I couldn’t wait to meet President Kimball, and I rushed into the hall, along with my sisters and my mother.
I still remember how his soft, weathered hand felt as it embraced my small handshake, and the kindly twinkle in his eye as he bent low to meet me. I felt warm inside knowing that this man was a prophet on the earth. My tender young testimony was strengthened as I found him to be as good and warm as I imagined he would be.
Until I was a teenager myself, I didn’t understand why those young women and men would not go to meet President Kimball. As I got older and made my own choices about clothing, I thought a lot about the youth in my mom’s road show. They were good kids. They were active in the Church. The impression they gave with the clothing they wore simply didn’t reflect who they were inside, and they knew it. Because of that one choice, they missed out on a great opportunity.
It was President Kimball himself who counseled us to live “in the world but not of it.” One way to do this is to not seek the world’s approval on our dress or actions. We may not all have an opportunity to meet a prophet, but we most certainly will all meet the Lord someday. I hope that when we stand before Him, we will not feel embarrassed by the choices we’ve made.