The Ultimate Goal
Kathleen S., Utah, USA
Illustration by Dan Burr
I was a ballet dancer from the time I was a little girl. I took it very seriously and devoted a great amount of time and effort to it. When I reached middle school, I decided I wanted to be a professional dancer, no matter what it took to get there.
One day, my ballet teacher talked to our class about preparing for our future careers. He mentioned that only a small percentage of people who train in dance become professional dancers and that of those professionally trained dancers, only a very small number end up pursuing ballet as a career. He went on to say that whether or not dancing became our career, we should plan on being the best professionals we could be—the best doctors, teachers, bakers, or what–ever else we were to become.
At this time, my ballet classes were held on the top floor of a building that overlooked the Salt Lake Valley. While my teacher was giving this speech, my attention was drawn to the window—and then to the Salt Lake Temple.
Up to that point, my focus had been on becoming a professional dancer because I was certain that ballet would make me happy. But as I gazed at the temple, I realized that no matter what path my life or career took, being worthy to enter the temple and live in the presence of my Heavenly Father were the only things that were going to fill me with lasting joy.
This realization lifted an immense burden off my shoulders. Ballet no longer had to be my ultimate goal. It was being worthy to enter God’s presence. And unlike professional ballet, there is no limit on how many of us can make it back to live with Heavenly Father forever. Because of the Atonement, we all have that chance.
Editor’s note: See how you can prepare for temple covenants at lds.org/go/123Temple.
Dana P., Minnesota, USA
Illustration by Dan Burr
For New Beginnings, I was asked to talk about virtue as a Young Women value. I was supposed to wear something gold to coordinate with its value color, but my wardrobe didn’t seem to include that color. After searching through my closet, I located a gold shirt that I hadn’t worn in a long time. I tried it on only to realize I’d outgrown it. Looking in the mirror, I thought, “This is probably not a good night to wear something a little too short—I’m representing virtue.”
Then it hit me: I’m always standing for virtue. Every day I represent virtue and modesty in my attitude, actions, words, and clothing. On Sundays and at youth activities, I can be a model of modesty for the younger girls. As one of the few Latter-day Saint students at my school, I try to dress appropriately, because to others, I represent my religion. Most important, my clothes can show others and myself that I know my body is a temple and that I respect it as such. By dressing modestly, I “stand for truth and righteousness,” just as the Young Women motto proclaims.
As I talked about virtue that night, I spoke with confidence. Perhaps my outfit was more yellow than gold, but I felt at peace before my friends, my leaders, and my Heavenly Father. “No matter what I’m doing,” I thought, “I always want to dress modestly. I represent virtue every single day.”
Songs for the Holidays
Isaiah C., Pennsylvania, USA
Each year the young men and young women from my ward take a caroling trip to a home for people with mental disabilities who don’t have families to take care of them. One year, the youth were split into three groups to sing carols to the residents. My group sang to a few older men, who sang along with us. One even helped conduct the songs!
After we finished singing to them, we joined another group of youth who were singing to women ranging in age from young adults to the elderly. Most of the people in our audience were smiling, and some were even singing along. We felt the Spirit as we saw the joy on their faces. They were so happy to have us there, because some of the residents had families who never visited them, even during the holidays.
After we finished our last song, our ward’s Young Women president told one of the elderly women that it was her turn. This woman had a song she liked to sing to every group that visited, and she was eager to share it with us.
As she began to sing her song, the Spirit in the room grew stronger with every word. Soon, some of the other women began to join in. I felt tears come to my eyes as we listened.
I doubt anyone in the room could deny that the Holy Ghost was present. We left with a reverent attitude and with a strong feeling of gratitude for the opportunity to serve.