“FYI: For Your Info,” New Era, Apr. 1997, 34–37
by Darrin Lythgoe
As a Latter-day Saint, you have the responsibility to stand as a witness for Christ “at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in” (see Mosiah 18:9). That means striving to keep high standards and be an example to others wherever you go and whatever you do. Easier said than done? Perhaps, but not impossible. These suggestions should help you concentrate your efforts. Build on one thing at a time, and remember that you’re trying to walk the path Jesus walked. If you’re successful, others may follow.
When you’re faced with a tough situation or just wondering how to act, ask yourself, What would Jesus have me do? Then try to follow his example.
Stand up for your beliefs, even if they may seem unpopular. This might mean going home early or even refusing to go to some parties, but the right people will respect you for it. It may also give you a few unexpected missionary opportunities.
Share the gospel whenever you have the chance. Looking for the right opportunity? Pray for guidance. Then keep your eyes and ears open. The Holy Ghost will tell you when the time is right.
Invite others to activities where missionary opportunities are present (Young Men, Young Women, Church meetings, or family home evening for example). Remember to be a thoughtful and an attentive host or hostess.
Practice what you preach. In other words, live the gospel. After all, the best way to be a witness for Christ is to be Christlike.
Give service willingly, cheerfully, and frequently. This could be as simple as opening a door or running an errand. Don’t wait to be asked.
If others do you wrong, turn the other cheek. How? Calm down, forgive them, and try to do something nice in return. The results may amaze you.
Read and study the scriptures daily, even if just for a few minutes. If you have trouble remembering, leave yourself a reminder where you’re sure to see it. You’ll be more likely to have the Spirit with you, and you’ll find it easier to stick with your standards. Not only that, you’ll also be more prepared when friends ask you questions.
Obey the Word of Wisdom, not only for yourself but as an example to others. If friends ask why, don’t make excuses. Instead, jump at the chance to explain what you believe.
Keep your language clean. Vulgarity and profanity tend to drown out anything else you say, and they never put good thoughts in anyone’s head.
Be a good friend and neighbor. Be loyal, trustworthy, encouraging, and sympathetic to those around you. Be the friend you think the Savior would be.
Keep the Sabbath day holy. Above all, go to church and avoid work and recreation.
Bear your testimony when you feel prompted to, whether in church or in a quiet moment with a friend. A testimony doesn’t always have to be expressed in a formal way or end with amen. Hint: Strengthening your testimony will help you bear it. Bonus Hint: Bearing your testimony will help you strengthen it.
Go the extra mile when serving people. Few things will make you feel better about yourself and what you do. Plus, those you help will notice your generosity and remember your sacrifices. They’ll want to know what makes you the way you are.
If you have a church calling, do your best to do your duty, and do it happily, whatever it is. It may not seem important, but it’s service just the same. Someone is depending on you.
Be happy. Sure, bad things happen, but it doesn’t mean you can’t keep a positive outlook. Look for the good in any situation. If you’re cheerful and optimistic, it’s bound to rub off. Those around you will also take heart and seek to be as motivated as you.
When you’re discussing the gospel with friends, be bold but not overbearing. Seize your opportunities, but not by the throat.
Don’t act ashamed of your beliefs or worry what others are thinking (see Rom. 1:16). Let your light shine! If someone asks you about the Church, speak with confidence and don’t apologize.
Go out of your way to help people. Don’t ask for something in return, either. The best kind of service is its own reward, even if it makes you late for something else.
Be a good sport in any game you play. If you’re losing, don’t be sore. If you’re winning, don’t rub it in.
Be honest. Make up your mind beforehand to tell the truth, no matter what the circumstances.
Be humble about your accomplishments, your clothes, your grades, your friends, and anything else you might be inclined to brag about. Instead of fishing for compliments, try handing them out. You’ll be helping others feel better about themselves.
Be reverent, in and out of church. On Sunday, listen quietly to the speakers and teachers. In other situations, keep laughter and joking under control.
Dress modestly and neatly. Look like a witness for Christ.
Always practice good grooming habits.
Look your best for church and church-related activities.
Stay alert. Pay attention in meetings and when others are speaking.
Avoid the appearance of evil.
Last but not least, smile! It’s contagious.
Barry Clayton Powers (small picture, near left), a priest in the Tampa Florida Stake, was chosen to be an escort to five Olympic torch bearers last July. Barry was chosen for the honor because of his athletic abilities and outstanding service to his community. One of his most notable achievements was helping to aid disaster victims in the wake of Hurricane Andrew.
Shari Johnson (at left with another runner) says she was surprised to be chosen to carry the torch through her hometown of Holyoke, Colorado, even though she is something of a hero there. Shari is a lifeguard at the city pool and happened to be there one day when she was off duty. A young girl was pulled from the bottom of the pool, and Shari immediately started rescue breathing. Shari saved her life.
Both Barry and Shari light the way for others to follow, not only by carrying the Olympic torch, but by being good examples.
“On the Road Again”—it’s a phrase that the youth in the Wainwright Branch, Edmonton Alberta Millwoods Stake, know all too well. They spend a lot of time riding or driving in the car since many of them live nearly an hour away from the branch building. For that reason, they participate in home-study seminary, rather than drive to seminary class each morning.
“I think one of the things that makes home study hard is that if you don’t understand something, you can’t ask a teacher about it right away. But that does make you work harder because you have to find it yourself,” says one student.
“I had a friend at school that I really admired. She seemed so self-confident and had so many friends. She invited me to attend a few church activities with her. I enjoyed them so much she invited me to come to seminary with her. I was very excited to see what seminary was like, even though it started at 6:10 A.M.
“From the moment I started attending seminary, I felt really lucky. Seminary was a fun, easy way for me to learn about the Church. I especially enjoyed learning the scriptures for scripture mastery. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I decided to memorize all the scripture mastery verses given to us that year. Then, as I took the discussions with the missionaries and they taught a new doctrinal idea, the scripture mastery verse that applied to a new concept would come into my mind and I would understand.
“I joined the Church a few months after that. Now I find great joy in my commitment.”—Corri Anna Greiss, Morgan Hill Second Ward, Morgan Hill California Stake
“Recently I was able to travel with more than 100 other young men and young women from the Hamburg Germany Stake to the Frankfurt Germany Temple to do baptisms for the dead and to attend a youth conference. The trip, however, didn’t start out exactly as I had thought it would.
“We stayed in a youth hostel in Bad Homburg. The hostel is a really old building with dim rooms and old furniture. Some of the youth in our group, who had expected the comforts of home, were disappointed by their first impressions and wanted to go home.
“Our feelings began to improve, however, as we became involved in the activities and workshops of the conference. Each morning we had a devotional in which many of our personal questions were answered. And one evening we had a fireside with Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Seventy, who is a member of our Area Presidency.
“During the rest of the trip, I didn’t hear anything else about going home. As we became more unified in our purpose, the worldly environment as well as the just-for-fun activities became less and less important. I frequently had the feeling that a lot of us had come on the temple trip actually hungry for spiritual experiences. Many of us had those righteous desires fulfilled by our experiences in the temple. Tears of gratitude were shed, and friendships became stronger. Nowhere on this earth have I felt closer to Heavenly Father than in the baptistry in the temple. How marvelous it will be when I can go to the temple and receive my own endowment and enter the celestial room!
“At youth conference and in the temple, we felt the Spirit of the Holy Ghost. When we returned home, we took many memories with us—not of our less-than-ideal accommodations, but of the Spirit we had felt in our hearts.”—Julia Hardell, Hamburg Germany Stake