Performing Life

“Performing Life,” Ensign, Aug. 1994, 70

Performing Life

As one of six children born to a south central Los Angeles ghetto mother, the odds were not in Tracy Thompson’s favor. Her stepfather was killed by a gang in a drive-by shooting at a fast-food restaurant, and Tracy grew up in the home of her great-aunt Bertha.

Besides her aunt’s loving care, Tracy was blessed with good friends, who helped her beat the odds. She qualified to attend a junior high school for gifted children and a high school for the performing arts—Hamilton High. It was at Hamilton that Tracy met Maureen Turley, who became a dear friend and her means of hearing about the gospel.

“After Maureen’s father, Brother Brent Turley, baptized and confirmed me,” says Tracy, “a real peace came over me. I began to pray for my family and friends in the ghetto, that they could find the same safety and peace.”

After winning the California state drama championship, Tracy considered attending Brigham Young University with Maureen.

“I knew there were not many blacks at BYU,” Tracy says with a smile. “Maureen was the main appeal for me until I learned of the many performing opportunities.” With her singing, dancing, and acting ability, Tracy has won a place in BYU’s Young Ambassadors.

She says that in the ghetto, she always felt different from the hopeless, and now she understands why. “There is such hope,” she declares. “I hope the truth of the restored gospel will make a difference in people’s lives, so we won’t be influenced by the world and all its transgressions.”—Giles H. Florence, Jr., Salt Lake City, Utah