Nestled under the shadow of Pike’s Peak in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado, there is a large Boy Scout camp that I attended one summer. The camp was perfect for enjoying the great outdoors and offered many activities like mountain biking, rock climbing, archery, and canoeing; it even had a pool! Being a small 11-year-old boy who loved animals, I was most excited to go horseback riding, even though I had no experience with horses at all. Most of the horses had very unoriginal names like Stewey, Missouri, Sunny, or Maggie, so all of my buddies were jealous of me when I was assigned a horse named Torpedo.
Torpedo was the most magnificent creature I had ever seen. He had dark black hair with a white star on his forehead and a flowing mane and tail. I instantly had a connection with him and knew that riding this beautiful horse was my destiny. On the first day, we went on a short walk just to get comfortable with the horses. Within five minutes, Torpedo started bucking. Although my 70 pound body was rippling with muscles, I was not able to hold on for more than three or four seconds, and was thrown to the ground where I got a good taste of the delicious Rocky Mountain soil. That night, my friends couldn’t stop talking about how my high-pitched scream was probably heard a mile away. For the rest of the week, I rode a calm old horse named Sam.
We often misjudge things for being more than they really are. Because of his name and his beauty, I thought Torpedo was the perfect horse for me to ride, but I was wrong. Satan uses tactics like these all the time to try to get us to fall into temptation. Maybe we think that one sip of beer won’t be too bad, or one puff of that cigarette won’t do us any harm. Satan twists our perception of things to make something bad or dangerous seem good or harmless.
A lot of guys my age are into cars and want to have their own. We are attracted to the fast cars. Why? Well, because they’re cool and I would get a lot more respect from driving a Ferrari than my parents’ old minivan. However, cars like these can be a huge source of temptation. As teenagers, we like to push the speed limit a little bit, and flooring the gas pedal in a fast car could get us into major accidents or get us expensive tickets. Also, cars like these take a lot of care to keep in good condition, and this takes a lot of time out of our lives away from things we should be doing.
Choosing good over evil is never easy. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we are given guidelines from the Lord through our prophets, apostles, and other church leaders to help us make righteous decisions. The Word of Wisdom, the Law of Chastity and other standards give us a code of conduct to live by. They keep us out of trouble, and give us the weapons we need when battling temptation. When we become a member of the church, we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is a heavenly spirit that acts as a guide. If we listen carefully, it can let us know if we are straying from the right path. If you are not a member of the church, you can still feel the power of the Holy Ghost. People sometimes confuse this with intuition.
We need to always be aware of the evil that lurks around every corner; it hides behind the seemingly innocent then strikes like a torpedo when we are unprepared. Don’t give in to temptation.