Shape Up

“Shape Up,” New Era, Oct. 1993, 49

Shape Up

My body was in condition. But, boy, did I have a couch potato spirit.

My Grandfather Rose was very ill due to heart problems. To help my grandmother with his care, our family decided that we would take turns sleeping over to help out. Mostly it was my mother and my aunts, but one weekend I asked if I could spend the night.

I was reclining in a chair next to my grandfather’s bed. He was sleeping really well that night, which was unusual. While I was falling asleep, my granddad rolled over and said, “Carl, shape up.” Then he rolled back over and went to sleep.

I didn’t know what he meant because I wasn’t a bad kid. But I wasn’t able to fall asleep the rest of the night. I stayed up thinking about what my granddad meant by “shape up.”

I thought about his words for the next few days, trying to figure out what I needed to shape up in my life. A few days later, I went again to my grandparents’ home to rub my grandfather’s back. I finished that and sat down to talk to my grandma. She said, “Carl, Granddad prays that you will gain the desire to serve a mission for the Lord.”

Later that night I was working out on my gymnastics. I heard my coach yelling at me to concentrate. I was so caught up thinking about the conversation that I had with my grandma and the decision I had to make that it was hard for me to work out. I was torn between a college scholarship for gymnastics and a mission.

As I was lying in bed later that night, I thought back to my granddad saying, “Carl, shape up.” I thought, Are your priorities where they should be? They weren’t. My number one priority was gymnastics and not the Lord and his work. I finally figured out what my granddad meant by “shape up.” He meant my soul and mind. The only way to do that was to start going to seminary and church. This time I really tried to get something out of it. For the first time in my life I read the Book of Mormon. As I did this I took the great prophet Moroni’s advice and prayed about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Through this I not only gained the desire to serve a mission but I also found the light and life of the world, Jesus Christ.

Photograph by Phil Shurtleff