My “Ears” Through the Years


I only recall standing up and bearing my testimony once when I was a teenager. I don’t recall much of what I said that day, but apparently others did. Something that I said in that meeting has stayed with others who were there in attendance. Written inside a book given to me by my then high school early morning religion teacher, is this inscription:

“Listen good friend,  with those “Mormon Ears”, thanks for your support this year. You really have an impact on the other fellows in class.  Keep up the good example…”

The term “Mormon Ears” comes from that one testimony I gave in church as a teenager. In relating how I dealt with the prevalent swearing that went on in the locker rooms of the sports teams I was playing on, I explained how I had told the other players that when I heard such language it offended my “Mormon Ears.” It was my attempt to just be funny, and non-offensive,  but also to let them know it made me uncomfortable.  As the only “Mormon” on my High School sports teams in Maryland, I often found myself explaining my position on many of my religious practices. My teammates were always respectful to me,  and to this day I have such fond memories of their friendships.

It was close to forty years later when a local church leader and his wife came to visit our ward. They were a young couple in my congregation when I was a teenager. We started to reminisce about the old times.  We talked of places and people but one recollection related by the wife took me by surprise. She said, “I remember your ‘Mormon Ears’ story. You don’t know how many times I have told that over the years.” I was flattered she remembered such a trivia thing!  Yet, oft-times we say things that seem of little importance at the time. But years later someone, somewhere, will relate something we said that had an impact on their life.  I know there have been many times that I been inspired or impressed by things that others say or do. I store them in my mind and sometimes in my heart. I draw inspiration from them. They are like a spiritual reservoir from which I draw strength in my time of need. Occasionally, years later, I get the opportunity to thank the providers of such pearls. But, more often than not, I am never able to properly extend appreciation to those who have given me such inspiration.

And so I have reflected on the corny phrase I coined that day, “Mormon Ears.”  (We don’t even call ourselves “Mormons” anymore) It didn’t mean much to me when I said it. At the time I never imagined that a seventeen year old kid could say anything of value to adults. But, on  that day I realized that no matter your age or what title you hold, you can say or do something of lasting value.   I learned that what a person says, no matter the age, or how trivial it may seem,  can be of value to others. And having that knowledge has been music to my “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” ears through the years! That’s a mouthful!

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