Courage in the face of peer pressure — a story related by Brother Steve Owen
Dare to be different, dare to be true! This wonderful story was shared by Steve Owen, the general Young Men president, at a New Zealand-wide Young Men devotional on Sunday, November 8, 2015:
Brother Owen shared the story that a friend of his related, pertaining to an experience from his youth. This youth was on a Boy Scout camp with the boys from his troop and their leaders. On a given night, all of the leaders were tired and retired early. This left the boys of the troop seated around a campfire. Brother Owen said, parenthetically, that this was not a good idea! All of these scouts were members of the Church and members of the Aaronic Priesthood. As they were chatting, one of the boys reached into his pack and pulled out a can of beer. He defiantly stated, “Any of you that are real men will have a drink of this beer with me!” He pulled the tab on the can, and took a long drink of the beer. He then handed the can to the boy seated next to him. That boy, hesitantly, took a drink also. The can was passed from boy to boy, each scout taking a drink from the can. As the can approached Brother Owen’s friend, he panicked. “What should I do? I want to fit in but I know this is wrong. Would Heavenly Father or my parents be terribly disappointed, knowing that it is only a small sip and I really do want to fit in.” He was torn between what he knew he should do and what he perhaps wanted to do. The beer can reached the scout just ahead of the friend. Suddenly, this particular young man took the can of beer, upended it, and poured out all of the remaining beer on the ground. He took a can of soda from his own pack and proudly said, “Any of you that are REAL men, Aaronic Priesthood men, will take a drink from this can with me!” He took a drink and passed it to Brother Owen’s friend, who, gratefully and tearfully, took a long drink and passed it on. The friend related to Brother Owen that the courage of the young man who poured out the beer saved him from a terrible fate. He wished that he had had the courage to do the same thing and not to vacillate. Brother Owen continued — it is hard to know what might have happened to my friend had he surrendered to peer pressure on that night, but thank the Lord for a young man who had the courage to stand alone, to dare to be different, to follow his conscience.