Teenagers can stand as witnesses of the Gospel

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    By Shana Helps

    An apple box full of broken CDs is evidence teenagers can stand as witnesses of the gospel for their peers.

    On Monday, Ronald Bartholomew told youth at Education Week about three high school football players who brought their compact discs, which did not invite the Spirit, to seminary.

    The seminary class watched the young men destroy the CDs with a sledgehammer, then sweep the pieces into a shoebox. The young men gave the box to Bartholomew, their teacher. They asked him to give the box to God.

    “We need leaders. We need you to stand up,” Bartholomew said.

    The young people in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be great influences on their friends, as well as people who do not know them, Bartholomew said.

    “You can turn to the Lord; you can ask Him for help. He will help you stand as a witness,” Bartholomew said.

    Bartholomew took the box of CDs to a youth conference in Arizona. The football players” story inspired a young man there to sort through his extensive CD collection. He extracted the ones with music that did not invite the Spirit of the Lord. He invited Bartholomew to watch as he pitched the CDs to his friends, who smashed them with baseball bats.

    “The Savior said that we should lift His standards up to people,” Bartholomew said.

    The boys filled an apple box with the broken pieces. Over $800 worth of CDs went into the box, which Bartholomew showed to the youth in the Provo audience. The boys asked Bartholomew to give the box to God, he said.

    “I”m just going to make sure I stand as a witness, and think twice about what I do, and I remember that someone is always watching you,” said attendee Erica Graham from Provo.

    The For the Strength of the Youth pamphlet clearly outlines the standards for young people in the Church, Bartholomew said. He used it extensively throughout his lecture and encouraged the youth in attendance to follow its guidelines.

    “An incorrect understanding of what a standard is could lead a person to sin and temptation,” he said.

    The key is to follow the Savior when peer pressure makes people hide their values, for fear of being an example, Bartholomew said.

    “The Savior”s invitation to us is to turn to Him in times of trouble.”

    Bartholomew talked about a girl, who invited her best friend to come to church every week for a year. Her friend finally came with her, and eventually was baptized.

    “When things don”t work exactly as you hope they would, will you please try and have the courage to follow the advice in the Strength of the Youth pamphlet about sharing the Gospel,” he said.

    Bartholomew told the audience the baptized girl is his mother. He only met the influential friend last year, after searching for 18 years.

    “I thought that was pretty cool,” said Wyatt Jones from Concord, California.

    Bartholomew said it was because his mother”s friend never gave up, his mother finally went to Church with her.

    “She walked across the road one more time.”

    Bartholomew told several stories about young people being examples of the Church”s standards. He pointed out every one of the people had an effect on many other people, whether or not they knew the extent of their good examples.

    “He taught with stories and you learn more from that. Instead of being lectured you learn from others” examples,” Graham said.

    This lecture was worth coming to “because it was amazing,” said Mary-Elisabeth Thomas from Provo.

    Bartholomew urged the audience to make the decision now to stand as witnesses of God.

    “That is your LDS heritage. That is your LDS destiny,” he said.

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