09250_000_011Look inside the minds of these friends, who were having fun on a group date when suddenly the evening took a turn for the worse.
Editor’s note: What started out as a fun activity turned into a small test of faith for some high school friends. Afterward, they shared what they were thinking at the time, and how one small but significant choice helped them all. Here is the same story, told from three points of view.
Sam: I was eager to go to the comedy club. A couple of my friends that I trust had been there previously, and they said it was funny and that all of the jokes were clean. So we were all excited and looking forward to a night of fun.
When the show started, the comedian was funny. He told some good jokes, but after a span of about 15 minutes his humor took a heavy turn downward. His jokes turned dirty. I was feeling super uncomfortable.
Carrie: I had heard of this comedy place and was excited to go. As the show began, it was good, clean comedy. But soon after, the humor grew more crass and inappropriate. I wanted to get up and leave, but I struggled with the decision because I knew my date had spent quite a bit of money on the tickets. I started to feel more and more uneasy.
Jake: When crude humor started to take the main stage at the comedy club, I was uneasy. When the comic started to make sacrilegious comments about the Church, I felt uncomfortable and thought about leaving. But somehow silly ideas crept into my head—I had just spent money to get in, everyone would laugh at us or think we weren’t mature enough to handle the humor, and my date wasn’t LDS. What would she think if I stood up to leave?
All this left me sitting indecisively in my seat. Looking back now, I’m embarrassed that I let a couple of worldly rationalizations get in the way of my spiritual courage. Once the bad jokes started coming, I should have left immediately; it’s as simple as that.
Sam: I turned to Carrie, and asked, “Are you ready to go?” I said it more as a statement than a question. I knew I was with a wonderful girl, and I was pleased when, with a smile on her face, she said, “Yeah, let’s go.”
Carrie: Then, to my rescue, my date Sam turned and whispered, “Are you ready to go?” I was so relieved! It was the answer to my silent prayer! We got up and left the theater.
Sam: I took her to the exit and then went quietly to the seats where my friend Jake was sitting with his date. I leaned down and whispered, “We’ve had enough. We’ll be out in the parking lot.” We waited outside for the show to end.
Jake: This is where the importance of having good friends comes in. As I sat there doing nothing, amidst the jokes, a finger tapped my shoulder. I turned to see my best friend crouched down behind me and pointing to the door. “I can’t handle this guy any longer,” he said, “We’ll be waiting in the parking lot.”
Sam: In the parking lot we started talking a little bit about what had happened, but not 30 seconds had passed when I heard the door open. I looked back to see Jake with his date, and all of my friends with their dates, walking out into the parking lot. Not a whole lot was said about what had happened, but we all knew we had done the right thing.
Carrie: It wasn’t necessary to wait, however, because shortly after we left, the rest of the group filed out of the theater. I had the most incredible feeling in my heart at that moment. I was so grateful for the example my date had set, grateful for his great respect for me. He was a guardian of truth and virtue that night, and that was more important than getting his money’s worth out of an inappropriate show.
I will forever remember and be grateful for that night and the experience I had. Sam is a close friend. He was known throughout the high school student body as being a good guy. He was full of integrity and virtue, so it was no surprise to me that he did what he did that night.
Jake: At that moment my friend became my hero. He left. Then I, along with our other friends, followed. My date knew we had high standards and recognized that we felt uncomfortable with the jokes, so she went along with our decision. I predicted the comedian would make fun of us for leaving, and he did. “But who really cares?” I said to myself as we left the room.
I’m grateful for the example my friend set by leaving that night. He had the courage to act, and I don’t know if I would have done the same thing had he not been there. Once he did the right thing, many others followed. Never underestimate the importance of friendship. Live your life so that you can be a role model to others, as Sam was to me.
Friends are one of the most essential parts of life, and choosing the right ones can help all of us progress spiritually. When we’re with friends who share the same values and standards we do, we are more able to feel the Spirit, more able to distinguish between the views of the world and the views of our Father in Heaven.
Editor’s note: Elder Sam Featherstone is currently serving in the Mozambique Maputo Mission, Carrie Matheson is now a full-time student majoring in nursing at the University of Utah, and Elder Jacob Hoj is currently serving in the Santa Rosa California Mission.
An Example to Dad
There’s a little more to the story. When Sam set an example for his friends, he didn’t realize he was also setting an example for his dad.
Not too long afterward, Sam’s father Scott was at a concert, sitting on the second row in the middle—prime seats. But he got a feeling that the performers were going to start saying bad things. He thought “I am sitting right in the very front and in the middle. Everyone will know why I am getting up and leaving.”
But then the thought came to him, “If my son can get up and walk out of a comedy show then I can get up and walk out of a concert.”
The performers did start saying inappropriate things, and Brother Featherstone did get up and leave. His son’s example helped him to have the courage to do what was right.
Illustrations by Dilleen Marsh