Danger! Stay inside the Railings
Sullivan R., Nevada, USA
Illustrations by Dilleen Marsh
One day, while driving along a road in California’s Sequoia National Park, I noticed a turnout for Moro Rock. I’ve always enjoyed hiking, climbing, and exploring, so I decided to check it out.
At the turnout, a short 10-minute hike takes you to a large granite outcropping overlooking a huge river valley with sky-piercing peaks in the distance. I quickly made my way past throngs of other people on the trail. After a few quick turns, I was standing on the summit. The view was great, but I was disappointed because there were metal railings everywhere! I couldn’t really explore the location like I wanted to.
I thought I was an experienced hiker, so I found the railings to be a little offensive to my sense of what was safe. In some cases, the placement of the railings seemed so arbitrary, and the straight lines of the railings prevented me from following along the curves of the rock. In a few places, the railing seemed to stop short of what would be an interesting spot to look over. For a moment I considered crossing over the barriers, but as I read the warning signs, I decided I’d better stay inside the railings.
A few months later, I noticed a news article about two people who fell off the rock and died. I immediately thought, “How could anybody die at Moro Rock with all those railings around?” Then it struck me: they had gone outside the railings!
I have since thought how the railings at Moro Rock are a lot like the standards of the Church. Sometimes we may think their placement is arbitrary or that we don’t need to follow them, but we should respect the standards whatever they are. We don’t need to know exactly why a standard is given in order to appreciate that it is there. We should be thankful that prophets have marked the dangerous points along the path so we can stay safe from danger.
It Wasn’t Too Small for Prayer
Sarah M., Minnesota, USA
Last year, I was a freshman in high school and was having a really stressful year. I was involved in many extracurricular activities that took up much of my time and energy. One of these activities was being on the speech team. In speech competitions, you can choose to compete in several categories. I was competing in two categories that year.
Toward the middle of season, however, I realized that I was not being as successful as I wanted to be because of the stress I felt trying to prepare for both events. I wanted to quit the category I enjoyed least to pursue the one I enjoyed the most, but I was unsure if that would make my coaches think I wasn’t committed enough. I talked to my dad, and he encouraged me to ask the Lord for advice.
I felt that talking with Heavenly Father about this would be silly because it was such a small issue, but I heeded my dad’s counsel anyway. I prayed very hard, asking God to help me know what to do. I told Him how stressed I was, and I let Him know that I needed comfort and guidance. As I finished my prayer, I could feel warmth spreading over me. I thought of the scripture that says, “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).
This scripture comforted me more than any scripture had before. I learned that no problem is ever too small for Heavenly Father and that I can turn to Him at any time. I decided to continue on with both categories. And at the end of the season, I was most successful in the category I had thought of quitting.
The Deer Encounter
Parker J., Utah, USA
On a snowy Friday night, I was driving home from a friend’s house. As I was driving, I was prompted to pull over to the side of the road, and without much thought, I did. But after a moment, I began to wonder why—I didn’t see any danger ahead.
At church I had been taught about recognizing promptings from the Holy Ghost, and I never felt a prompting as strong as this, but I still wasn’t sure if the feeling came from me or from the Spirit.
After sitting in my car for about 10 seconds, I decided to continue home. The streets looked clear. Then, out of nowhere, a group of deer jumped into the road ahead of me—about 10 seconds away at my previous speed. If I had not stopped when prompted, I believe I would have hit the deer, totaled my car, and probably been hurt.
After this experience, I realized what a blessing it is to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. I am grateful that the Holy Ghost not only warns us but also comforts and teaches us.