- Obey the commandment
- Set example for others- Stop destructive force
Elder L. Tom Perry challenged young Aaronic Priesthood holders to stand up to their peers "as an example of righteous living" in obeying the Word of Wisdom, which contains a promise that those who do so will "run and not be weary."
Speaking at the priesthood session Saturday evening, Elder Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve warned that the curse of drink and drugs is becoming a national nightmare and is the cause of most crime, accidents, loss of employment and breakup of homes.
"Surely something must be done to stop this destructive force. I challenge you to stand up to your peers as an example of righteous living. I know the Lord will fulfill His promise to you by blessing you with health, knowledge and wisdom that will set you apart from the rest of the world. Your righteous example will also bless the lives of many others."
Elder Perry retold a story published in the Improvement Era of October 1928 about Creed Haymond, a young Latter-day Saint student athlete at the University of Pennsylvania.
At the annual meet of the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America in 1919, Brother Haymond was track team captain for his university.
The night before the meet, the coach instructed his team members to drink some sherry wine as a tonic, but Brother Haymond refused because of what he was taught in his childhood.
"The coach then left the captain of his team in a state of extreme anxiety," Elder Perry related. "Suppose he made a poor showing
the next dayT. What could he say to his coach? He was to go against the fastest men in the world. Nothing less than his best would do. His stubbornness might lose the meet for Penn. His teammates were doing as they were told. They believed in their coach. What right did he have to disobey? There was only one reason. He had been taught all his life to obey the Word of Wisdom."
That night, Brother Haymond earnestly prayed for a testimony as to the source of the Word of Wisdom revelation.
The next morning, the team members felt ill and performed poorly, except for Brother Haymond, who won the 100- and 220-yard dashes. The team lost the meet "but their captain had astounded the fans with his two excellent runs," Elder Perry said.
"At the end of that strange day, as Creed Haymond was going to bed, there suddenly came to his memory his question of the night before regarding the divinity of the Word of Wisdom. . . . The sweet simple assurance of the Spirit came to him, the Word of Wisdom is from God."
Elder Perry also told of an occasion when he, as a young man, was on a Scout outing at Yellowstone National Park. He was offered beer by a fellow Scout. He refused the beer but made no effort to dissuade or stop his friend. "I wonder in this age," Elder Perry remarked, "if it is enough to have the courage to just say `no,' or do we have a further responsibility to be of service to others in helping them overcome the great curse that is now plaguing our society."