As this last school year drew near to a close, I figured I just wouldn’t be invited back to speak at the seminary for the high school where I work, even though I’d spoken there the year before, but with only a few weeks left, a couple of young men I know on the student council came and asked me to give another address at the end of May.
I’d known since right after my first morningside what I’d speak on if I were brought back: living by gospel standards. Below are the notes I used for my talk a month and a half ago.
- Review message from last year about Book of Mormon.
- Share Alma 30:34 & 36:24 about leaders serving to share their joy–and that’s why I’m here (but don’t tell anyone else I care about your happiness–I’ll deny it!).
- Living by Church standards must be based on our own faith and testimony–anything else won’t last. Priority–develop a testimony.
- A lot of people don’t live standards or go to church because they’ve been offended. Reference Elder Bednar’s talk on offense–don’t deprive yourself of blessings because of someone else.
- Even if you are active, you must always keep up with prayer and scripture study, or you’ll burn out, like an athlete who ignores diet and exercise. You can fake it for a while, but you’ll end up angry, hurt, and failing.
- Call a volunteer to read the parable of the kite:
While Brother Pinegar served as president of the Provo Missionary Training Center, as you can imagine, we often talked to the missionaries about the feelings of happiness and peace that accompany courageous obedience to true principles. We talked of the influence of the Holy Ghost that comes to those who are obedient. We encouraged the missionaries to make obedience their quest. I enjoyed telling them the story of the little boy who went to the park with his father to fly a kite.
The boy was very young. It was his first experience with kite flying. His father helped him, and after several attempts the kite was in the air. The boy ran and let out more string, and soon the kite was flying high. The little boy was so excited; the kite was beautiful. Eventually there was no more string left to allow the kite to go higher. The boy said to his father, “Daddy, let’s cut the string and let the kite go; I want to see it go higher and higher.”
His father said, “Son, the kite won’t go higher if we cut the string.”
“Yes, it will,” responded the little boy. “The string is holding the kite down; I can feel it.” The father handed a pocketknife to his son. The boy cut the string. In a matter of seconds the kite was out of control. It darted here and there and finally landed in a broken heap. That was difficult for the boy to understand. He felt certain the string was holding the kite down.
The commandments and laws of God are like the kite string. They lead us and guide us upward. Obedience to these laws gives us peace, hope, and direction.
- Show my notebooks of church meeting notes and share my summary of President Monson’s talk from Priesthood Session of General Conference last month (ask if anyone remembers what it was about).
- My thoughts about standards: BAD LANGUAGE: addictive, as they can see from their peers–try going without it for one day! Tell them about “no swear club.” IMMODEST CLOTHES: like bad language, makes us less godly, more like animals. WORLDLY MEDIA: “It’s just a song/movie, etc.!” you say. Then let it go. PORN: not just “bad kids,” or boys, who need help. Go see bishop asap or it will hurt life–faith, relationships, will steal from every area of life. Bishop will think more of you, not less, if you go.
- Show them my copy of For the Strength of Youth from my wallet, challenge them to keep one also.
- Close with the miracle of the sod cutter: Last Saturday I was doing yard work for someone with a sod cutter, a huge machine like a cross between a lawn mower and a rototiller on steroids. After the yard was half removed, it quit. I pulled the cord several times and the motor wouldn’t turn over. I inspected it and tried several more times. Nothing. I let it sit for about ten minutes as I cleared away the dirt I’d piled up so far, then pulled the cord several more times. It was still dead. I took off my hat and prayed in the driveway, asking for the sod cutter to start because this work would help people in need and, since the sod cutter was a rental, needed to be done right now. I closed the prayer and pulled the cord again. It started on the first try, smoothly, and didn’t have any problems for the rest of the morning.
- Testimony: we’re not sent here to see how much we can get away with, we’re here to enjoy the best blessings prepared for us.