Tempted to Lie

Aderogba Aderemi, Nigeria

The chapel I worship at in Nigeria is close to a school whose principal wants nothing to do with the Church. On one occasion the principal told a teacher never to return to the school after learning that the teacher was a Latter-day Saint. A Church member who volunteered to visit and explain the mission of the Church was rebuffed.

As a salesman for laboratory and medical equipment, I often visit schools and hospitals to make sales. After one unsuccessful month, I had no choice but to visit this school. My plan was to sell my product and leave, hoping the principal would not find out I was a member of the Church. The Spirit, however, told me that she would want to know about my religion.

My business with the head of the school’s science department went smoothly, and he took me to the principal for payment. After filling out the check, she started asking questions to get to know me better. When her questions became personal, I began to feel uncomfortable. Then she asked the question I had been praying she would not ask: “Which denomination are you a member of?”

I was tempted to lie, collect my check, and go because I badly needed the sale. But I felt I should tell her the truth. After all, the early Saints had experienced worse than this minor test of my faith.

With renewed courage, I looked her straight in the eye and said, “I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Then I bore my testimony. To my surprise she smiled, said we all worship the same God, and handed me the check.

As I left, a scripture came to my mind: “Now this was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them” (Alma 1:25).

I was happy not to have disappointed Heavenly Father or myself. Because of this experience, I made a commitment to always be a good sales representative. More important, I committed to always be a good representative of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our Food Storage Blessing

Bruce Richards, Illinois, USA

My wife, Brittney, and I began purchasing food storage early in our marriage. In the first months after our wedding, we bought a few storable items each time we went grocery shopping. By adding a little bit at a time, we accumulated a useful store of food. We didn’t know when we would need to use it, but we knew it was important.

A year into our marriage, we moved across the country for graduate school, and we brought our food storage with us. Financially, things were difficult. We had used all of our savings to secure housing, and Brittney received no income as a student teacher. We relied on my graduate school assistantship to pay the bills, but it didn’t go far.

Our finances took another turn for the worse the second night in our new home. Brittney woke up with severe stomach pain, and when it didn’t subside after several hours, we went to the hospital. She had her appendix removed later that day.

After she recovered, we sat down to budget our money. As we calculated the next four months’ bills—which included the emergency surgery—we discovered we could still get by without going into debt. In order to do so, however, we could spend no more than $25 each month on groceries. That was about one-fourth of what we were used to spending.

The food storage we had accumulated over the past year became invaluable. It was enough to cover our basic needs for four months, and we used the budgeted $25 to buy milk and other perishables. We didn’t eat fancy food, but we didn’t go hungry.

As we lived frugally and served others willingly, we received added blessings. One of my fellow students finished his degree and asked us to help his family move. While we were helping, he asked if we would like to take the food left in their freezer. Because of his kindness, we now had meat to supplement our food storage.

The Lord blessed us as we prepared food storage, paid our tithing, and showed willingness to serve. We made it through those months without borrowing any money. After that semester, my wife found a full-time job, and we could afford to spend more money on groceries. We built up our food storage again, and we continue to be blessed as we obey the Lord’s commandments.

We Joined In

Nancy Grant, Georgia, USA

We moved from a large city with a large Latter-day Saint population to a town of 5,000 in the rural Deep South region of the United States, where we lived for more than seven years. As I was leaving the local hardware store our first day there, a teenage clerk said, “Have a good day, Mrs. Grant.”

I asked, “How do you know my name?”

He replied, “Y’all are the only new people in town.”

We found a house across the street from one Protestant church and a block from another, but we lived 45 minutes from the nearest LDS meetinghouse. Every Sunday, as well as a couple of times during the week, we made the trek to our meetinghouse. During those seven years, my husband served in the bishopric, and I served as Primary president and then as Young Women president.

We knew that the social life and heartbeat of small towns exist in the local churches. To be accepted, we knew we had to get involved. Our three young children soon bonded with other ward children, but we also wanted them to feel a sense of belonging to our neighborhood. We encouraged them to become involved during the week in local church activities, including family suppers on Wednesday nights at one church.

We put our son and our girls in local youth programs. Our children also attended Vacation Bible School at both nearby churches. Our girls sang in a local church youth choir; one daughter even became a soloist in the choir. Our son attended a local church youth group.

Often a visiting revival minister preached against the “Mormons,” but our neighbors knew we were nothing like the people the preachers warned them about.

Every summer the regional churches of one Protestant sect sponsored a youth camp on St. Simons Island, Georgia. After one such camp, the minister said from the pulpit, “The only youth to go to camp this summer was our good little Mormon girl, Kelly Grant.”

Our Protestant neighbors embraced us because we had embraced them. We never had to compromise our standards or principles.

As our children grew, so did their testimonies of the restored Church. What they learned from the other churches’ Bible stories enabled them to make a better correlation between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. In addition, they saw the priesthood’s vital role in our Church, and they could feel the difference.

When our children were approaching dating age, my husband’s company transferred him to Atlanta, Georgia. I wept as we signed our house deed over to the new owners. Our lawyer hugged me and tenderly said, “No one can ever say the Mormons haven’t been here.”

Our children’s small-town Protestant experience taught them tolerance, patience, and understanding. They found common ground with those of other faiths, which helped them serve as ambassadors for the Church. And they came to appreciate the value of the Holy Ghost, the priesthood, and the great love the Savior has for all of us.

We converted no one in those seven years, but we planted seeds. We are blessed today because the people in that small town came into our lives. I hope they are blessed because we came into theirs.

Did the Guidelines Apply to Me?

Julie Letner, Arizona, USA

Choosing to be modest has always been easy for me. I grew up in a house where standards were high, and when I married in the temple, my garments reminded me to dress modestly.

Swimsuit shopping, however, turned out to be a struggle for me. Without the guideline of garments, I found myself wanting to wear swimsuits that I would be ashamed for anyone I knew to see me in.

My husband and I were planning a cruise for just the two of us. I thought the cruise would be the perfect time to wear such a swimsuit. I wouldn’t see anyone I knew, and therefore I wouldn’t feel guilty. No one would know I was a Latter-day Saint, and all the other women on the ship would most likely be dressed like me.

Because I was already married, there was no real reason for me to have a modest swimsuit, or so I thought. Modesty guidelines were just for teenagers, right? But I had a nagging feeling in the back of my mind. I had been married in the temple. I had accomplished my goal to stay worthy and find a worthy husband. And I wanted to continue choosing the right.

I decided to look up “Dress and Appearance” in For the Strength of Youth. It had been a while since I had reviewed the booklet, so the words jumped out at me: “Through your dress and appearance, you can show that you know how precious your body is. You can show that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ and that you love Him” ([2011], 6).

Those words echoed in my head. Was I a disciple of Jesus Christ? Was I willing to be true at all times and in all places (see Mosiah 18:9)?

Since then I have decided that even in my late 20s, I must maintain the principles I learned in my youth. Those principles definitely still apply to me. I want to be a good example to my children. I want them to know that I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.