“A Reason Not To,” New Era, July 2004, 39
“Hey, McKeown, you don’t drink, do you?” Andrew asked loudly enough that everyone around us could hear. I was at a school event I had helped organize, and now the evening looked like it was going to be ruined.
Andrew was a key player on the rugby team, always the center of attention, and he’d clearly been drinking. He often boasted of his immorality and made fun of anyone who was different. It seemed that now it was my turn.
“Hey, Andrew,” I said, trying to act cool, but a few people around me were already laughing.
Andrew kept on going: “You don’t smoke. You don’t do drugs. You don’t swear. You don’t have my kind of fun with girls. What do you do?”
I felt like hiding in a corner, but instead I tried to hold my ground. “You know I like to have fun,” I said. “I just like to be able to remember it in the morning.” Some of my friends laughed. “I like to be able to remember and not have to regret it.”
Later, the crowd left, but Andrew stayed. He had calmed down by now. He said quietly, “McKeown, I wish I didn’t drink either. I wish I didn’t do the things I do. But I have no reason not to. I wish I had some reasons not to.” And with that he walked slowly away.
I was shocked. I had no idea he had been watching me. And now it seemed he admired me for standing up for my standards and for having reasons to live right. I have never forgotten that evening.
I have often thought about how being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is my reason for living right. I’ve also thought about how knowing I am a child of God and a priesthood holder gives me the reasons to choose the right when confronted with choices and temptations. When we remember who we are, we have the reasons to say no to evil and yes to the Lord.