“Simply stated, testimony—real testimony, born of the Spirit and confirmed by the Holy Ghost—changes lives. It changes how you think and what you do. It changes what you say. It affects every priority you set and every choice you make.” —Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Pure Testimony,” Ensign, Nov. 2004, 40.

Real Friends?

Friends have a lot of influence in our lives. Are your friends helping you be your best self, or are they leading you away from living the life you should? This quiz can help you see what kind of influence your friends have on you, and it might even help you be a better friend. Choose the answer that best describes how you think your best friend might respond in each of these situations. Use the key at the end to find your score.

  1. 1.

    You’re at a fun party, but then people start to drink. You want to go home, and your friend says:

    1. a.

      You’re right, we’d better go home. I’ll call my mom to pick us up.

    2. b.

      Don’t be such a goody-goody. A little drink never hurt anyone.

    3. c.

      Why don’t you stay and have a little fun? You don’t have to drink.

  2. 2.

    You’re asked on a date, but you won’t turn 16 for another few months. When you explain why you’re not going, your friend says:

    1. a.

      Are you crazy? You have to go! This is the biggest dance of the year!

    2. b.

      Okay, but you’ll regret not going. Can’t you make an exception this time?

    3. c.

      All right, if that’s what you really want to do. It’s nice that you stick by what you believe.

  3. 3.

    At school you have a geography assignment due, and everyone is sharing answers before class. You forgot all about the assignment, and your friend tells you:

    1. a.

      Don’t worry about it. One assignment won’t matter.

    2. b.

      If you hurry, you can finish it before class.

    3. c.

      Quick, here’s my assignment. You can copy from mine.

  4. 4.

    You and your friend are at a video store picking out a movie to watch. She picks a movie with bad content, and you explain why you don’t watch inappropriate media. She says:

    1. a.

      That’s fine; let’s pick another one.

    2. b.

      We’ll watch it at my house. Your parents won’t know.

    3. c.

      Come on, just this once. There’s nothing really that bad in this movie.

Scoring:

1. a=3 b=1 c=2 2. a=1 b=2 c=3 3. a=2 b=3 c=1 4. a=3 b=1 c=2

10–12 points You have a great friend who supports you in your beliefs. Try to be a good friend too as you support each other in living righteously.

7–9 points Your friend seems to care about you but really doesn’t understand what it means to live the gospel. Take the opportunity to explain your beliefs, and your friend will probably be understanding.

4–6 points Your friend is not encouraging you to live the gospel and become a better person. Make friends with those who uplift you, respect your beliefs, and encourage you to stick to them.

They Spoke to Us

Talks given at conference have a great way of giving us good advice on things we’re concerned about in our lives. Check out “They Spoke to Us” in the May Ensign for ideas on how to apply the conference talks to your life.

  • President Gordon B. Hinckley asked us to be more kind and accepting of others. How should we treat people with beliefs and backgrounds different from our own?

  • What are some of the maka-fekes that are dangled in front of us? President Thomas S. Monson talks about getting these evils out of our lives.

  • Take note of what Elder L. Tom Perry says about what it means to take the sacrament and about taking it worthily. Try reading the words of the sacrament hymn during the passing of the sacrament to keep your thoughts on the Savior.

It Happened in May

May 8, 1831 After the birth and death of their own newborn twins, Joseph and Emma Smith adopted the twins of John and Julia Murdock. Julia Murdock had died as a result of giving birth to the twins.

May 18, 1958 The first stake outside of North America and Hawaii was organized—the Auckland Stake in New Zealand.

May 1, 1966 The first stake in South America was organized—the São Paulo Brazil Stake (below, left).

May 26, 1996 President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Hong Kong China Temple (above, right).

May 7, 1998 The Church announced plans to build temples in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Fukuoka, Japan; Suva, Fiji; Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico; and Kona, Hawaii (below).

So Many Gifts

You know how much you appreciate feeling healthy after you’ve been sick for a long time? So did Grace Noll Crowell, the author of “Because I Have Been Given Much,” (Hymns, no. 219). She wrote the words to this hymn after a long and serious illness. After the pain went away, she realized how grateful she was for what she’d been given. This hymn, new to the 1985 hymnbook, was written to be sung in unison—the left hand is for accompaniment only.

[illustration] Illustrated by Scott Snow

[photo] Photograph by Craig Dimond

[illustration] A Father’s Gift, by Liz Lemon Swindle

[photo] Photograph by Matt Reier

[photo] Photograph by Craig Dimond

[photo] Photograph by John Telford