I Can’t Trust You, or Can I?

    “I Can’t Trust You, or Can I?” New Era, Oct. 1979, 17

    I Can’t Trust You, or Can I?

    Can you be trusted? Do you keep your word? Are you responsible? Jim came home one Friday night and asked his father if he could borrow the family car to drive some friends to a high school ball game. His father asked him, “Jim, can I trust you with the car?”

    “Sure, dad, you know me.”

    “Yes,” chided his father, “that’s why I asked. I want it back in one piece, and I don’t want you to hot rod around. If you will give me your word that you will drive carefully, keep within the speed limits, and not leave the gas tank empty when you come back, you may take the car. Do I have your promise, Jim?”

    “Yes, dad. Do I have to sign in blood?”

    “No,” his father said. “Your word is good enough.”

    Taking the keys, Jim left the house, climbed into the car, and drove off to pick up a couple of friends on the way to the game. For the first few blocks he was a model driver, remembering everything he had learned in driver’s education. Shortly after picking up his friends, however, he found himself speeding down the road. One of his friends asked, “How fast will this machine go, anyway?” The other friend responded, “This hunk of junk probably won’t even go over 90.” But it did!

    Jim and his friends soon pulled into the neighboring town for the ball game. It was a great game. Jim’s team won. He and his friends were excited as they got into the car to head for home. Driving up to a stoplight, Jim and his friends noticed some girls pulling up alongside them in a brand-new car.

    “Ya wanna drag?” said one of Jim’s friends to the girls.

    “You bet!” came the reply.

    Amidst the roaring of engines and the screeching of tires, two men standing on the street corner waiting for the light to change went unnoticed. They, also, had attended the ball game and were on their way back home when they saw the great drag race.

    Later that evening Jim dropped off his friends at their houses and returned the car to the family garage. It was late, but his father was snacking in the kitchen. When Jim came in, his father asked, “Well, Jim, how did you treat the car?”

    “Fine, dad,” was the reply.

    “Okay. Goodnight, son.”

    “Goodnight, dad.”

    The following Sunday, however, both the men who had witnessed the drag race the Friday before approached Jim’s father.

    “That son of yours is some race driver!” one of them said.

    “I’ll say!” exclaimed the other. “He passed me on the freeway, and he must have been going at least 100.”

    “You must be mistaken,” retorted Jim’s father. “Jim wouldn’t do that. He gave me his word.”

    “I’m sorry,” one of the men replied, “but we both saw Jim hot rodding the car and racing from a stoplight. We were only a few feet away from him.”

    That night Jim approached his father and said, “Dad, can I have the keys to the car? I want to go to a fireside.” What do you think Jim’s father said to him on that occasion? What would you have done if you’d been Jim’s father? In this case Jim’s father said, “I’ll take you to the fireside, son, but don’t ever ask me to loan you the keys to the family car again. I can’t trust you.”

    Let’s go back and change a few things. Let’s go back to the time when Jim first picked up his friends. Thinking of his promise, he was very careful to keep within the speed limits. One of his friends chided him, “How fast will this pile of junk go, anyway?”

    “Probably not over 90 miles an hour,” responded the other friend. “What do you say, Jim? Let’s see how fast it can go.”

    Jim’s answer was quiet but firm. “I promised my father I wouldn’t hot rod the car.”

    “You’re chicken,” said one of his friends.

    “No one will see us out here,” said the other friend.

    “I’m sorry,” Jim replied, “but a promise is a promise. I wouldn’t break a promise to you, and I won’t break my promise to my father.”

    The boys went to the ball game. Afterwards, when they were heading home, they met some girls at a stoplight. One of Jim’s friends said to the giggling girls.,“Ya wanna drag?”

    “Sure, why not?” was the reply.

    “Come on, Jim. If you want to be counted as one of my friends, you’ll open this baby up when the light changes!”

    “That goes for me, too,” said the other friend. “Let’s see how fast we can jump ahead of the girls.”

    The light changed, and the car full of girls shot off down the street, tires squealing. Jim eased forward, kept within the speed limit, and dropped his friends off.

    “You’re no fun at all, Jim,” one of his friends said.

    Jim drove off and returned the car to the family garage. Coming into the kitchen he found his father having a midnight snack. His father asked him, “How did you treat the car, son?”

    “Fine, dad.”

    “Goodnight, son.”

    “Goodnight, dad.”

    The following Sunday the two men who had witnessed Jim’s courage in not buckling under to social pressure approached his father and said, “I wish we had more boys like Jim in the ward. You can really be proud of your son.” They reported all that they witnessed on the street corner after the ball game the previous Friday. Jim’s father was proud of his son.

    That evening Jim came to his father and asked for permission to use the family car to attend a fireside. “Here are the keys to the car, son, the house, the boat, and everything that I have. I can trust you.”

    And so it is. Parents are usually willing to give you all the freedom that you demonstrate responsibility to handle. And just as this principle is true for many things in mortality, so is it true with the power of procreation. He has asked you a question: “Can I trust you with these powers?” Some will choose to give in to the social pressures of their friends and find that they have lost the opportunity for an eternal increase. For God will not entrust the sacred power of reproduction to those who misuse and abuse it.

    The greatest privilege granted by our Heavenly Father in the eternities will be the right to live as husband and wife forever. The only ones who will be entitled to do so will be those who inherit the highest degree of the celestial kingdom. All others will live singly without marriage and without family. The question is, “Can you be trusted?”

    Photo illustration by Gerald Bybee