“Leave the Party!” Ensign, Aug. 2010, 68–69
A number of years ago I had a chance to represent the state of Utah at a nationwide convention in Ohio attended by high school swimmers.
Our stay included parties for the athletes. When I went to a party the first night, I thought it was going to be like the fun parties we held back home—drinking root beer and playing games. But as soon as I walked into the room, I got a reality check.
Immediately, I understood what the articles in the Church magazines were talking about when they said, “You will stand out when you are the only member of the Church.” Somehow my fellow athletes had already figured out that I was a Latter-day Saint. The room grew quiet, and everyone seemed to be staring at me as I dug into the chip bowl.
“Hey,” someone said, “you’re a Mormon, aren’t you?”
I smiled proudly and said, “I sure am, and I’m happy to be one.”
The party then resumed, but I felt many eyes on me, watching my every move. After a while, the party began to get wild. I wasn’t sure how wild it would become, but I didn’t want to be part of it. If I stayed, I feared I would give people the wrong impression about my standards. Besides, the Spirit prompted me to leave. When I grabbed my swim bag and headed for the door, one of the boys yelled, “Hey, are you wimping out on us?”
I just smiled and said, “See you guys tomorrow.” I then walked out, feeling good that I had made my presence known while defending the Lord’s standards.
The next day during a house of delegates meeting, one of the delegates rose and sternly said, “Something happened last night that I don’t ever want to happen again. You’re here to represent your state, so do it well and act appropriately!”
Then he added, “Some of you left and didn’t take part in what happened. Thank you.”
For the rest of the week, I received more respect and friendly expressions than I had ever received before. Many coaches from across the United States urged me to run for an athlete-representative position for the western states because I had represented Utah well.
I never found out what happened at the party, but I’m grateful that the Spirit prompted me to leave.