“Standing Up for What We Believe,” Liahona, October 2014, 44–47
We live in a world where many see evil as good and good as evil, and we must take a stand for good. Following are testimonies from young adults who stood up for what they believe. They did not argue or react with anger or unkindness. They showed “both courage and courtesy”1 and, as a result, strengthened others (see 3 Nephi 12:44–45).
In France, military service is obligatory. My 20-year-old younger brother, Loïc, decided to go to reserve officers’ school to become a lieutenant. At the end of his schooling, there was a swearing-in ceremony for new officers. Each in turn is to recite the regimental slogan. Then he is to drink a glass of champagne containing a rose—consuming both. This tradition started with Napoléon Bonaparte, and no officer since then had failed to participate.
Loïc told the colonel that his religious principles did not allow him to drink alcohol. An icy silence followed Loïc’s request for an exemption. The colonel stood up. Instead of forcing Loïc to drink the champagne, he congratulated him for keeping his principles despite the pressure, saying he was proud to welcome this man of integrity into his regiment. They replaced the champagne, and Loïc participated in the swearing-in ceremony.
Pierre Anthian, France
After college my sister Grace and I worked for a company with several other Latter-day Saints. Our employers were not members of the Church. When my sister became engaged, our employer planned a surprise bridal shower for her. I hoped she would respect our standards, but instead she ordered liquor, a male dancer, and a scandalous video.
Before the bridal shower, I felt the whispering of the Holy Ghost within me encouraging me to remind my boss of our standards. I grasped my Young Women medallion and thought of all the effort and sacrifices I had made when I was in Young Women to complete my personal progress. I prayed that I would be guided to stand a little taller at this time. I texted my employer my concerns, thinking that she might become offended. Nevertheless, my greatest desire was to please Heavenly Father.
When the party began, my boss didn’t talk to me or even smile at me. However, she did cancel the dancer and the video.
In the days following the party, my boss didn’t talk and laugh with me like she had before the party. However, I felt comfortable because I knew God was pleased with what I had done. About a week later, my relationship with my boss went back to normal. I know God softened her heart and helped her realize that I lived what I believed.
Lemy Labitag, Cagayan Valley, Philippines
When I was about 18, I took a sewing class. One day three girls a few feet away from me started using offensive language. I didn’t know if I should ignore them to avoid a conflict or if I should stand up for my standards and ask them to stop. Eventually, I said as nicely as possible, “Excuse me, but could you please watch your language?”
The biggest of the girls glared at me and said, “We’ll talk however we want.”
I said, “But do you really have to swear? It really offends me.”
She said, “Then just don’t listen.”
I was starting to get upset and said, “It’s hard not to listen when you’re talking so loudly.”
She said, “Get over it.”
I gave up. I was frustrated with the girls, but even more frustrated with myself. I couldn’t believe I’d let my tone get confrontational. The girls were still swearing, and now we were all angry.
After I’d calmed down, I saw that the girls were having trouble with their sewing machine. I knew what was wrong because I’d had the same problem earlier. So I showed them how to fix it. I saw the expression change on the biggest girl’s face. “Hey,” she said, “we’re sorry.” I couldn’t believe it—she was apologizing. “I’m sorry too,” I told her. “I shouldn’t have gotten angry like that.”
I went back to my sewing machine and didn’t hear another swear word. That experience taught me that our words might not change others’ attitudes, but kindness and service often can.
Katie Pike, Utah, USA
I joined the Church when I was 19, the second of three sons and the only Latter-day Saint in my family. Shortly after being baptized, I began to feel the desire to serve a mission. After a year, the Spirit told me I should go. I talked with my mother, who felt it was not right that I go. I deferred for another year, but the desire to serve a mission never left me. During that year, I studied the scriptures, saved my money, prepared my papers, had all the medical exams, and—after everything else was completed—I waited on the Lord. Before long, I received a call to serve in the Brazil Campinas Mission.
My parents were still opposed. I fasted and prayed openly, telling Heavenly Father about all my fears. I asked Him to touch the heart of my earthly father. He did. To my surprise, my father attended the farewell party that my friends had prepared for me on the Saturday prior to my departure. And that Monday, my dad took me to the airport.
During my mission, I felt the love of God as I preached the gospel. My mom did not stop being a mother, and when I returned home, she was the first person to hug me.
I learned that serving a mission is much more than a duty; it is a privilege and a marvelous time of growth and learning.
Cleison Wellington Amorim Brito, Paraíba, Brazil
As a freshman in our country’s best university, I felt pressure to do my best. Persecution came, and I started to question my belief in the gospel as many of my professors expounded on what they professed to be “reality.” Many of my classmates were affected. This environment made it difficult to uphold Christian values. I thought of quitting but decided it was better to stay. I reasoned that if there were only a few who qualified to enter this university, and among those few were only a few Latter-day Saints, then I should stay and stand for truth.
My biology professor, a self-professed atheist, taught science without any belief in a Supreme Creator. Yet the more I heard, the more it reinforced to me that there is a Supreme Being—God, our Father—who created all these things. Others argued that this idea didn’t make any sense. Our discussions got more intense. I was anxious to raise my hand and explain I believe in God as the Creator.
The time came to give comments. At my school, it was normal for people to applaud, yell, or boo at those who presented their ideas. I stood boldly and said plainly to the opposing side: “Believing in God may not make any sense to you at the moment, but the day will come when it will all make sense to you as clearly as it does to me now.”
Since that time, I’ve never received any boos when standing up for my beliefs. From that time forward, I progressed academically, socially, and spiritually. I started to become active in student activities, and I was elected to several school offices.
I learned that standing for truth even once greatly affects our future decisions.
Vince A. Molejan Jr., Mindanao, Philippines