Confidence waxes strong for the obedient, faithful

Strengthened by successes

Diminished by failures

Bishop Richard C. Edgley recalled at the Saturday evening priesthood session a dubious athletic record he set in high school to illustrate a point about confidence.

Bishop Edgley, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, said he set an unrecorded record for free throws - missed free throws - in a basketball game between his alma mater, Preston High, and Malad High in Idaho.

Drawing laughter from the congregation, Bishop Edgley told of missing 18 consecutive free throws in the game.

"As I approached my ninth and 10th shots, I noticed that the basket, which was regulation size at the beginning of the game, was in some magical way beginning to shrink. Each time I came to the line it got smaller and smaller."

He implied that the reason the basket seemed to shrink in size was that his confidence diminished with each miss.

Quoting D&C 121:45, "Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distill upon thy soul as the dews from heaven," he exclaimed, "What a wonderful promise for us, bearers of the priesthood - confidence in the presence of God!"

Each priesthood act, whether by assignment or voluntary, or every test by temptation or trial is as though one is stepping up to the foul line, he said. "Our spiritual confidence is largely determined by our prior spiritual successes and, unfortunately, by our prior spiritual mishaps."

Every act, good or bad, has a consequence, he said. "We are constantly shooting our foul shots, and the basket is either getting bigger, or as Satan would have it, smaller."

He spoke of Nephi, David and Joseph Smith, who were able to do what was asked of them because their confidence was strong in the Lord through previous acts.

"I am acutely aware that each of us sees our own basket as a different size," he said. "But a true understanding of the Savior's mission lets us know that through true repentance our baskets can be restored to regulation size. Every wise choice, every responsible exercising of the priesthood, and every act of service enhances our confidence in the Lord."

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