What I Learned from Lisa


Last year’s Mutual theme, “Arise and Shine Forth,” reminded me of a girl I went to high school with named Lisa. She was a cheerleader. It was a large school, and I didn’t know her well.

One Saturday night I went to a farewell party for Lisa and her younger sister, who were moving to Idaho. Some kids were drinking alcohol, and they repeatedly offered beer to Lisa and her sister. I even heard one person shout, “Come on, just one drink! It’s your party, just one drink for us!”

But Lisa and her sister both refused the drinks. They just smiled and said no. I thought being a popular cheerleader meant that you did the “popular” thing—drink. I wasn’t a member of the Church then, but their strength and courage surprised me.

Four years later, when I was 20, I was introduced to the Church through a scuba-diving friend of mine. After being taught the missionary lessons for six weeks, I gained a strong testimony and was baptized by one of the missionaries.

One Sunday morning at church, in the rented meeting hall where our branch met, I overheard a conversation about a name that sounded familiar. Someone mentioned a man named President Gurr, the former branch president. I asked about him and learned that he and his family had moved to Idaho a few years earlier. His daughters were the girls I remembered from school. Even though I hadn’t known either of them well, their example of strength and courage had impressed me. They had truly shone forth by choosing to be true to their religion and living righteously.

After serving a mission to Sweden, I moved to Provo to attend BYU. I worked part time at the MTC. One day I passed a young woman in the hall who looked familiar. I glanced at her nametag and saw that her name was Sister Gurr. I was surprised to see Lisa, the former cheerleader from my high school! I stopped her and told her who I was, and she was equally surprised. I then thanked her for living true to her standards and keeping her covenants at that party so long ago. She was truly a wonderful example and affected my life for good by staying true to who she was and what she believed.

Illustrated by Dilleen Marsh