Strength to Not Swear
Emma B., Alberta, Canada
Illustration by Roger Motzkus
Once after a Mia Maid lesson on virtue, my class did a project where we chose a symbol to represent virtue so we would remember to keep to our standards, and we put that symbol on a necklace. I chose the heart as my symbol, because it reminds me of the love that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for us. I wear the necklace all the time because of what it represents for me. When I am tempted to do wrong, my heart necklace reminds me to stay true to my values.
I am the only person in my grade at school who is a member of the Church. One young woman I met during summer school used bad language, and when I told her about my faith, she surprisingly ceased using inappropriate language around me. No one else in my class responded that way.
One day in math, a young woman I’ve known since last year wanted to hear me swear, just to see how the teacher reacted. I told her I do not use inappropriate language, but she kept pressuring me. At first I was tempted to use her words against her, but when my hand touched the familiar heart around my neck, I knew I couldn’t fall into temptation. Instead, I told her that no matter how hard she tries, I would be true to my standards. As I talked, she seemed amazed that I stood up for what I believe in. She left me alone after that.
I know we can stand up for what is right. If we always try to remember virtue and our God, we will not go astray.
Jill G., Utah, USA
“If choosing the right is supposed to bring you blessings,” I thought to myself, “then why am I sitting alone in the hall of my new junior high?”
I didn’t know many people in my new school. My music class was where I felt most comfortable because I like to sing. After weeks of being the new kid, it was nice to feel like I fit in. Today, however, was different. Mrs. Wyler (name has been changed) had brought a recording of a popular Broadway musical, one my stake president had cautioned us to avoid. Mrs. Wyler turned to the class: “Any comments before we start?” she asked.
I squirmed in my chair. Everyone was looking eagerly toward Mrs. Wyler, the disc in her hand. I thought perhaps I could sing Church songs in my head to drown out the lyrics she would play, but I knew that would be hard for me in this situation. I looked at Mrs. Wyler as my hand slowly went up in the air.
“Yes, Jill?” she said as she inserted the disc into the player. I couldn’t think of what to say. I couldn’t say that my stake president told me not to listen to this musical, because she wouldn’t know what a stake president was. I had no idea how to explain, especially in front of the entire class.
“I have religious objections to this musical,” I said, knowing it sounded lame. The class was now watching me in silence.
“Oh,” said Mrs. Wyler, glancing at the clock, “Why don’t you just take your chair and sit in the hall this period.” As the door swung shut I could hear the wave of laughter as the music began. Sitting in the hall was miserable. “So much for making friends in this school,” I thought.
A couple of weeks later in English class, my teacher passed out copies of some new poems. One student raised her hand. “I have religious objections to these poems,” she said. I glanced over at her quickly, thinking she was making fun of me, but she looked back at me and smiled a real smile.
Instead of having people think I was stupid for having standards, it became the popular thing to do. Sometimes you have to show where you stand by where you are willing to sit.
Editor’s note: Watch a short video about standing alone for gospel standards, and share your experiences in doing so, at lds.org/go/13H.
Matthew R., California, USA
During the past year I’ve become friends with a young woman who belongs to another faith. As we became better friends, I felt like I needed to share the gospel with her. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, because I’d had a bad experience with another friend I had tried to share the gospel with. But I repeatedly felt the promptings of the Spirit and decided I needed to follow through.
I began inviting my friend over to my house to spend time with my family and to feel the Spirit. I know that it was the strength of my family and the spirit in our home that made her want to know more about the Church, because she soon wanted to know why we were so happy. After a few weeks, I gave her a Book of Mormon with my testimony written in the front. She has since begun attending church in her area and was even asked to give a talk recently!
This young woman has been such an example of strength to me. It has been incredible to talk to her and hear her say that she has a sure faith in our Heavenly Father. She knows that if she does what is right, her family will be blessed and may feel the Spirit as she does.
Having seen someone take the first steps on the path to conversion, I now see just how blessed we are to have the priesthood, the temple, and all of the other blessings that come with the gospel. It excites me to share those blessings with others, and I can’t wait to do so as a missionary of the Lord.