Sabbath Swimmer

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Richard G. Scott

"I share the example of another young man. Through the years I have watched how his parents have taught him from infancy to unwaveringly live the commandments of God. By example and precept, they nurtured him and their other children in truth. They encouraged the development of discipline and sacrifice to obtain worthy goals. This young man chose swimming as an activity that could instill in his character these qualities. The early-morning practice sessions required discipline and sacrifice. Over time he excelled in that sport.

"Then came the challenges—for example, a championship swim meet on Sunday. Would he participate? To help his team win the championship would he rationalize an exception to his rule of not swimming on Sunday? No, he would not yield, even under intense peer pressure. He was peppered with derisive comments, even physically abused. But he would not yield. The rejection of friends, the loneliness, and the pressure brought times of sadness and tears. But he would not yield. He was learning firsthand what each of us must come to know, the reality of Paul's counsel to Timothy: "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12).

I have observed how over the years this consistent pattern of righteous living—woven from hundreds of correct decisions, some in the face of great challenge—has developed a character of strength and capacity. Now, as a missionary, he is respected by his peers for his capacity to work, his knowledge of truth, his unwavering devotion, and his determination to share the gospel. One who earlier was rejected by his peers now has become a leader of his peers.

The story was shared by Richard G. Scott at a BYU Fireside on January 23, 2001