Firm Foundations
September 2018

“Firm Foundations,” New Era, Sept. 2018, 30–31.

Firm Foundations

The Right Wrong Answer

young man taking test in school

Illustrations by Matthew Shipley

When I enrolled in a philosophy class in high school, my dad was a little concerned. In philosophy, everything is questioned, including the existence of God. My teacher taught us things that go against religion and deny God’s existence.

One philosophy test asked, “Why have we come to the earth?” The answer I was supposed to give was so that we could become self-actualized and take our place in the circle of life. I didn’t write that answer because it’s not what I believe.

Instead, I wrote, “We have come to the earth to be tested and to return to live with our Father in Heaven for eternity with our families.”

Afterward, the teacher called me up and asked me if I knew the correct answer to the question. I told him I did but that I wasn’t going to write something I knew was untrue.

He asked me if I was religious and which church I belonged to. I told him I was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He told me that he had never known any religious student who was courageous enough to stand up for his beliefs and write such an answer.

“I did not give you full credit because your answer wasn’t the correct one,” he said. “But I gave you points for having the courage to write what you believe.”

I was happy because I had answered according to my convictions and according to the gospel truths I know and am trying to live.

Benjamin M., Chile

Light of the Temple


A few summers ago, my ward’s young men went mountain biking. I was a little nervous because it was my first time. My friend Jacob was an experienced biker, so I planned to stay close to him.

After a quick break at the top, we started back down the mountain. I was slower than the rest of the group and fell behind, especially after I fell a couple times on sharp turns. Jacob stopped to help me each time I fell, and we tried to catch up to the group.

As the sun set, it was obvious that we were lost. It had been more than half an hour since we had seen our group, and it was getting so dark that we could barely see the trail. I prayed, asking Heavenly Father for help and courage to keep going. Then Jacob and I decided to continue riding in a particular direction. As we rounded a corner, we saw the most brilliant and welcome sight—the Draper Utah Temple! The light reflecting off the temple illuminated our path, and we were able to safely make it back to our leaders and friends.

Every time I see the temple, I’m reminded of the peace and help available to us there. Each time I feel lost in the darkness of the world, I can look to the temple for the light I need.

Joel G., Utah, USA

Making a New Friend

young woman and young man at lunch

I was sitting at a lunch table with my friends when I noticed a new boy—Michael. He decided to sit with a group of older boys, who started to make fun of him. I later learned that Michael has autism.

I asked Michael if he wanted to sit by me and my friends. He declined, probably out of fear of people making fun of him again.

The next day, I introduced him to my friends. I could tell he was glad I didn’t give up on him. He had a lot to talk about. He was awesome!

Each day, I could tell Michael was becoming a happier person. He started looking forward to lunch with his friends. Sitting with Michael at lunch soon created a meaningful friendship. It not only helped Michael, but it also helped me.

The feeling from serving others is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world.

Laura P., Illinois, USA