Part of Something Extraordinary
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“Part of Something Extraordinary,” Liahona, Aug. 2010, 33–34

Part of Something Extraordinary

Elder Neil L. Andersen

In the late spring of 1967, our ward was asked to choose 16 youth to dance in the All-Church Dance Festival. For our little town in rural Idaho, this was an adventure. The festival was to be held in the giant University of Utah stadium with thousands in attendance. I was not a dancer and was reluctant in our initial practices, but I soon came to enjoy being together with good young men and women preparing for the dance festival. The thought of going to the large city of Salt Lake and staying at a hotel with a swimming pool motivated us.

We arrived in Salt Lake City on the appointed day and began to dress for our performance. I suddenly realized that I did not have the black trousers I was to wear for our ballroom dance. I had left them at home. We did not even consider going to the store to buy a pair of pants, because it would have been too expensive. I did not know what I would do.

The solution came as my Young Men leader, Brother Lowe, offered to let me wear his dark pants. When I put the pants on, I was happy that they were about the right length. However, I quickly realized that I had a problem: the pants were several inches too large in the waist. “What am I going to do?” I thought. I was grateful for the kindness of Brother Lowe but felt very embarrassed to wear the large pants. Brother Lowe and my friends assured me that no one would know because the pants would be mostly covered with my suit coat and I could use a belt to cinch them up tightly.

I still remember the feeling of arriving at the stadium and seeing hundreds of young men and young women from all over the country who shared my beliefs and convictions. It was a great moment for me to realize how important the Church was to so many.

When it was our turn, we moved onto the field. As the dance began, much to my horror, I could feel the big ballooning trousers slipping. There was no time to fix the situation; the music had begun. The dilemma added new steps to my ballroom experience. Not only was it necessary to remember all we had been taught, but I also had to invent some new movements to keep my trousers in place. At times these steps dismayed my talented partner, but they saved me from a more troubling conclusion.

I have never forgotten my brief precarious moments of ballroom dancing. More important, I have never forgotten the feeling that we were all part of something extraordinary—not simply a dance festival—but the restored Church and gospel of Jesus Christ.