“FHE Object Lesson: Conquering the Impossible,” New Era, July 2018
You can accomplish a lot on your own in this life—ace your next test, beat the school record at the mile run, collect every action figure from your favorite fandom. But some things can be done only when we work together.
Sister Sharon Eubank, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, shared a story in conference about two children who were caught in an ocean current. When family and onlookers tried to help, they too became trapped in the rip current and were being pulled out to sea. The ultimate rescue required several powerful swimmers on boogie boards, some seriously out-of-the-box thinking, and an 80-person human chain!1
When we stick together, the impossible suddenly becomes possible.
Object lesson time!
Pouring water from one cup into another is a snap. Trying to make the water fall diagonally, though, is a different matter. Sound impossible? It’s not! At least, not with a few basic supplies and some physics on your side.
To set up, fill one cup with water (which you can dye with food coloring for effect if you like). Cut a length of string about as long as your forearm and have some tape handy.
Ask for examples of activities that are easier or better when done as a group. This could be anything from cleaning a Church meetinghouse to harvesting watermelons.
At some point, try to steer the conversation beyond the “many hands make light work” activities. For instance, is it easier to keep your standards when you have good friends who try to keep those standards? Or, how do Church meetings become better when everybody attends and participates? And what about a Church dance?! Not much fun if you’re the only one who shows up.
Explain that the water in the cup represents a group of people working together to do something incredible.
Soak the string in the water for a few seconds. Then squeeze some of the water out by pinching it between your fingers and pulling it from one end to the other. It should be damp but not soaked.
Tape one end to the inside bottom of the empty cup. Stretch the string to the full cup and pinch it over the rim of the cup. As you do so, ask somebody to read the following quote from President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency: “The Saints can accomplish any purpose of the Lord when fully united in righteousness.”2
Tell your family you’re going to demonstrate what’s possible with unity.
Remembering to pinch the string over the rim of the upper cup, hold the cup of water above and to the side. Make sure the string doesn’t touch the rim of the lower cup. A taut, downward diagonal string should stretch from the rim of the upper cup to the taped-inside bottom of the lower cup.
Now, slowly start to pour. If you keep the string taut, the water will travel down the string and into the empty cup. It’s a jaw-dropping feat. Explain that the water travels along the string because of cohesion, which means sticking together tightly. Or, in other words, because of unity. A single drop of water couldn’t do this alone.
Alma the Elder taught that we should have “no contention … but … look forward with one eye, … having [our] hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another” (Mosiah 18:21).
When we stick together, we can do anything!