So here we were, sitting in his house (my bishop) late at night, and he turned serious, even stern. "I'm going to ask you the worthiness questions, and this time I want answers." So I answered all the questions, and there was only one question that I answered negatively: "Do you pay tithing?" I said no.
The bishop asked why.
"I don't know, I said. "I can't afford it; I just don't."
So, the bishop asked me if I would star paying tithing and I agreed.
Then he asked me if there were any other problems we should discuss.
"I swear-a lot," I said.
"Do you take the name of the Lord in vain?"
"Why do you swear?"
"It's better than hitting people," I said.
The bishop laughed. "Will you quit swearing?"
When I quickly agreed to his request, the bishop said, "You said that readily."
"Well, I don't swear in front of women," I explained, "so I guess I can control myself at other times, too."
The bishop concluded the meeting by asking me again, "Will you quit swearing and will you pay tithing?"
I said yes. I went home-I remember the date: December 28, 1978- and I told Gail, "Starting the fifth of January, I want you to take our gross income and pay tithing on it and don't ever ask me about it again."
A lot of things broke loose after that. If you asked me what the turning points of my life were, I would say marrying Gail and paying tithing. Ever since I made that decision to pay tithing, the Church has been the guiding force in my life-in business, family, everything. I have undergone a curious change since then as well. When I was younger, going to church was a duty. I did it because of social and family pressure. That all changed. Church became an enjoyable refuge for me and a place to learn. I love going to church, sitting there listening to the songs, the lessons, and the testimonies. It feels like a safe, comfortable place, and I have found something to be true that I have always preached to my employees: You can learn something in every meeting if you're teachable and have the right attitude and are humble.
I understand that, at times, some may wonder why they attend Church meetings or why it is so important to read the scriptures regularly or pray to our Heavenly Father daily. Here is my answer: You do these things because they are part of God’s path for you. And that path will take you to your “happily ever after” destination.
“Happily ever after” is not something found only in fairy tales. You can have it! It is available for you! But you must follow your Heavenly Father’s map.
Sisters, please embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ! Learn to love your Heavenly Father with all your heart, might, and mind. Fill your souls with virtue, and love goodness. Always strive to bring out the best in yourself and others.
Learn to accept and act upon the Young Women values. Live the standards in For the Strength of Youth. These standards guide and direct you to your “happily ever after.” Living these standards will prepare you to make sacred covenants in the temple and establish your own legacy of goodness in your individual circumstances. “Stand . . . in holy places, and be not moved,” regardless of temptations or difficulties. I promise you that future generations will be grateful for you and praise your name for your courage and faithfulness during this crucial time of your life.
My dear young sisters—you who stand for truth and righteousness, you who seek goodness, you who have entered the waters of baptism and walk in the ways of the Lord—our Father in Heaven has promised that you will “mount up with wings as eagles; [you] shall run, and not be weary; and [you] shall walk, and not faint.” You “shall not be deceived.” God will bless and prosper you. “The gates of hell shall not prevail against you; . . . and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.”
Sisters, we love you. We pray for you. Be strong and of good courage. You are truly royal spirit daughters of Almighty God. You are princesses, destined to become queens. Your own wondrous story has already begun. Your “once upon a time” is now.
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