Bishop Gary E. Stevenson: 'Valiant in Courage, Strength and Activity'
It's easy. Send a link to the story you were just reading to a friend. Just fill out the form on this page and we'll send it along.
Directing his priesthood session talk to young men, holders of the Aaronic Priesthood, Presiding Bishop Gary E. Stevenson cited the Book of Mormon narrative describing Helaman and his 2,000 stripling warriors.
Focusing on the phrase in the narrative "valiant for courage," Bishop Stevenson said, "To me, this describes the conviction of these young men to courageously do what is right, or as Alma describes, 'to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all places.' The 2,000 stripling soldiers had countless moments to demonstrate their courage. Each of you will also have defining moments in your life requiring courage."
He told of a friend, John, who had such a moment in his life.
John was attending a prestigious Japanese university. Soon after his arrival, word of a party to be held on the rooftop of a private residence spread among the foreign student population. John and two friends attended.
As the night wore on, the atmosphere changed, and someone began organizing the students into a large circle with the intent of smoking marijuana cigarettes.
John persuaded one of his friends to leave with him, but the other remained behind with the intent of standing in the circle and passing the cigarette along without smoking it.
As John and his friends were entering an elevator to leave, Japanese police officers poured out.
All who had held the marijuana, whether they had smoked it or not were presumed guilty and paid huge consequences including expulsion.
The friend who remained behind at the party was expelled and was required to return home. The friend who left with John finished school in Japan and earned degrees from two top-tier universities in the United States. John's time in Japan led to a happy marriage and the subsequent birth of two sons. He had been a successful businessman and recently became a professor at a Japanese university.
"Young men, there will be times when you, like John, will have to demonstrate your righteous courage in plain view of your peers, the consequence of which may be ridicule and embarrassment," Bishop Stevenson remarked.
He promised that the Lord will empower them. "He will reward you for your courage and righteous behavior — with happiness and joy," he said. "Such courage will be the byproduct of your faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, your prayers, and obedience to commandments."