A Talk Given To:

A Combined Mutual Activity of
The Sterling Park and
Algonkian Wards


D. Calvin Andrus
29 April 1998


[The following talk was given after the young people participated in an exercise about choices. They were each given 5 slips of paper, labeled "1 talent." They could use these "talents" as entrance fees to play games at several booths. At some of the booths, one could win more talents, while at other booths, one could win "points." The "talent" booths had games that required spiritual knowledge to win. The "point" booth required worldly skill and knowledge to win. There were prizes that could be exchanged for points, such a VCR, CD-Player, Video Camera, etc. About 1/2 hour into the exercise, adult leaders would remove young people two or three at a time. They were ushered into a room, told they had just died, and it was now time for judgment. Because they were no longer in the world, points were worthless and had to be thrown in the trash. Then depending on how many "talents" they had, they were assigned to one of the Three Degrees of Glory. Those with the most "talents" went to the Celestial Kingdom, while those with the least went to the "Telestial" Kingdom. These kingdoms were different areas in the Chapel. When everyone came into the Chapel, I gave the following talk.]


A few years ago I attended a business seminar. During the seminar we played a game. The instructors told us the object of the game was to win. The students in the seminars broke into two groups and each group went to a different room. We were given two cards. On one was the letter A, and on the other was the letter B. For 10 rounds, we were supposed to put either the A card or the B card under the door. We got points depending upon the combination of our card and the other team's card. If both teams put out A cards, we each got 10 points. But if we put out an A card and they put out a B card, they would get 10 points and we would get minus 10 points. Similarly, if they put out an A card and we put out the B card we would get 10 points and they would get minus 10 points. However, if we both put out the B cards, then we both got minus 15 points.

So it would be good to put out the A card only if the other team put out the A card, or else we would lose points. It would be good to put out the B card only if the other team put out the A card, or else we would lose points. The best thing to do would be for both teams to put out A cards, if we could trust each other.

Before the first round we sent ambassadors to the other team to convince them that we would be out an A card, so they should put out an A card. And that is what happened. The two teams, however, could not communicate during the next three rounds. Nevertheless, we both put out A cards and got points. Before the 5th round, they sent ambassadors to us to convince us that they would continue putting out A cards, so we should continue putting out A cards. And that is what happened. The two teams could not communicate until right before the last round. Our team decided that we were going to put out the B card on the last round and the job of our ambassadors was to convince the other team to continue putting out the A card. That way, they would get minus points and we would win with the most points.

I was elected ambassador to go convince the other team that we would put out an A card, so they should put out an A card. Well it worked. They put out an A card and we put out a B card. We got the most points. When we got back into the classroom, our team bragged that we had won, because we had the most points. The instructors said that nobody said getting points was the way to win. In fact cooperation was the mark of winning, and our team lost.

The other team was mad that I had lied to them. I said it was just a game. The object was to win and in order to win we used some deception. But that was part of the game. Someone said, "lying is lying." I said it was acceptable because it was part of the rules of the game. Later at lunch a member of the other team came up to me and again complained that I had lied to them. I again protested that it was just a game. They said they believed me because I was a Mormon--and that the rules of life are not suspended just because we were playing a game. Wow, that hurt!

No aspect of this life is a game. The rules of life are always in effect. This life is a test to see if we will do everything the Lord commands. It is not a game!


Now during the exercise tonight,

Well my young brothers and sisters, this is just like life.


[Pause] Would all the seniors please raise their hands. [Pause] Thank you. Would all the juniors please raise their hands. [Pause] Thank you. Now, would all of you please think about what you were doing this morning at 7:20 am?

At 7:20am this morning, my sister's husband, my brother-in-law, died of cancer. He was one year younger than me. He left a daughter who is a senior and a son who is a junior, as well as another son who is in the 6th grade. It might not seem fair that I get to stay in this life and earn more "talents" (and points), while he was taken early. He just found out 6 months ago that he had cancer. After that he was too sick to do anything. He didn't have time to earn a lot of "talents" in the last six months. He was pretty much stuck with the treasures he had laid up for himself in Heaven, and all the treasures he worked for here on this earth now belong to someone else.

This will happen to you someday, maybe sooner than you are prepared for. This is life.

Let me conclude by reading Alma 34 verses 32 to 35.

Alma 34:32-35 -- For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor. Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.

I bear my testimony that today -- tonight -- is the time to get started laying up treasures in heaven by seeking spiritual experiences rather than worldly goods.

In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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