Arise and Shine Forth: The Laughter Never Came


I didn’t think I could read my scriptures without being made fun of. My co-workers had made it clear what they thought of Latter-day Saints.

The last rays of the sun dipped behind the mountain. I was miles from home, sitting on a cot in a faded green tent, wondering how I was going to solve the dilemma I was in.

It was the end of the first day of my summer job as a forest ranger in eastern Utah. That morning, I had met the two women I would be working and camping with. I was only 19; they were both in their 30s. But our differences were deeper than age. On the hike to base camp, I had hung back and listened to them talk about how strange they thought members of the Church were.

Now it was night, and my co-workers were both slipping into their sleeping bags. “Are you ready to turn the lantern off?” one of them asked me.

I had a decision to make. I hadn’t done my scripture reading for the day. But I also knew how the two women felt about members of the Church. I didn’t want them to laugh at me.

I silenced my conscience and nodded my assent. The light was extinguished, and soon the even breathing of my co-workers told me they were asleep.

But sleep evaded me. After tossing and turning, I grabbed a flashlight and my Book of Mormon and headed down to a meadow just below our campsite. “This is the perfect solution,” I said to myself. “I can read my scriptures without being made fun of.”

Happy with my plan, I turned to Mormon 8. The contentment I felt ended when I reached verse 38 and read, “Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?”

That night, as I sat under the brilliant stars in a mountain meadow, I knew the Lord was speaking to me. I had been too afraid of ridicule to show my co-workers what I believed, and the Lord was disappointed in me. Armed with this knowledge, I resolved I would change.

The next night, when my co-worker asked if I was ready to put out the lantern, my answer was different. I cleared my throat and said, “Actually, if you don’t mind, I’m going to read the Book of Mormon for a few minutes.”

I steeled myself for her laughter, but it never came. “Oh, that’s fine,” she said. “Just turn the light off when you’re done.”

I’ve never forgotten the lesson I learned that night. For the first time, I understood how relentlessly Satan tries to make us feel that we won’t fit in if we do what we’re supposed to. Often, the ridicule we are so afraid of hearing never comes. We can never be examples for good unless we let the things we believe show through our actions.

[illustration] Illustrated by Dilleen Marsh