As a student, you probably have or will learn about William Shakespeare in school. But what if, instead, Shakespeare was a student who learned at your school? For David Arnold, this was a reality. He went to King Edward VI School in England, where Shakespeare is said to have attended.
This school was appealing to David because it has a good reputation. Getting in is also really competitive, and David didn’t know if he would be accepted when he applied at age 11.
But getting into the school taught David something about himself: “I’m better than I thought I was,” he says. “It made me realize that I can do it.”
David soon discovered that he was the only member of the Church in his new school. With only a small number of students there, David knew he would get more attention from teachers because of the class size, but he didn’t want any special attention from his peers for being a Latter-day Saint.
“I was quiet about my beliefs at the beginning,” he says. “It was a new environment, and I was afraid I would be shunned and it would be hard to make friends.”
Then around his third year in the school, David remembered his priesthood lessons about letting his light shine.
“One time there was a big assembly at the school, and as I was looking around, it struck me that I was the only priesthood holder there,” he says. “The Lord had given me a responsibility, and I wasn’t doing enough.” He knew he had to make his membership in the Church known.
He decided to tell his friends about his standards and beliefs. He says it was harder to live his standards when he didn’t tell anyone about them, but when he made them known, it was easier to live them, and he even received support from his friends.
“Letting everyone know that you’re a member and what your standards are really does help,” David says. “For example, my friends know I don’t drink, and that makes it easier to live that standard.”
When asked if his friends invite him to parties, David just laughs and says, “They know not to invite me. They know I’m not going to come.” He wouldn’t even consider going and just not drinking. “I wouldn’t want to be in a situation where I could be tempted,” he says. “I’d just rather not be there at all.”
During David’s last couple of years at school, his classmates went to a lot of parties and pubs, and it was hard for him to feel left out. Once, he was really tempted to attend a certain party. But then he had a lesson in his priests quorum about staying away from bad situations. He felt it was an answer to prayer and decided not to go to the party.
David had the opportunity of letting his classmates know about the Church when he gave a presentation about his beliefs in a class. “It was pretty hard,” he says. “I didn’t feel prepared for it.” But he talked about topics like the proclamation on the family and the Word of Wisdom, and his classmates were receptive. He even handed out copies of the Book of Mormon.
Throughout his school years, David continued to be an example and to excel at school. He participated in the choir and played on the school basketball team. He was also a house captain and ended his school career as a head boy of the school. He became the managing director of a company that he and a few schoolmates created as a project and turned into a business. All the while, he remembered who he was and tried to influence others to be better.
“I’m a normal person who’s capable of greater things,” David says. “Experiences show me how I’ve been shaped and prepared.”
That preparation led David to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and prepared him to serve a mission, where he continues to let his light shine. He is currently serving in the France Lyon Mission.