Saturday, August 27, 2011

Baseball, Carnivals and the Adversary

     Throughout my life I have learned many valuable life lessons from the awesome coaches I have had while playing sports. While serving my mission here in Montana I have learned some more valuable life lessons. Many of which came from my studies, attending District Meetings, Zone Conferences and trainings, and even when teaching people about the gospel. Who knew I would learn a valuable life lesson from an experience I had while attending a Carnival in Glasgow Montana?!

      The day was Monday August 8, 2011. The good ol county fair/carnival was in town for the weekend and my companion and I were meeting some people there for dinner. Before our dinner got there, we decided to look around a little bit to see what was going on and to be seen by people in the community. As we're walking around, I see a little game called "Break the Bottle". Yep it was a baseball throw. It was kinda like the milk bottle throw only four or five rows of beer bottles were waiting to be shattered by a baseball! Boy did I get get antsy inside, I love baseball and I haven't played for over a year and I REALLY wanted to play this game! So we stopped and looked at it and the Carnies (the people who try to get people to play) could tell I liked what I was seeing so they jumped all over me and kept telling me "You know you wanna play!" Did I ever! Finally I said 'what the heck lets do it!' I mean its was only 5 bucks and I play baseball, I could do it easily! So I pay my five bucks and take a look at the bottles and on the bottom row, right in the middle there is a big champagne bottle with a 20 dollar bill taped to it! WHAT?! Man that made me want to break it even more! 20 bucks to break a bottle, not bad. The Carnie said he wasn't gonna make it easy so you had to hit the bottle in the perfect spot to get it to break, and the spot was the size of Jefferson's head on the 20 dollar bill. No big deal, I'm getting 20 bucks! 5 baseballs later, no 20 bucks.
     Yep I failed and didn't break the bottle. Breaking the big bottle was a little harder than I thought, but I was convinced I could do it, after all the first five balls was just a warm up. Again the Carnies asked if I wanted to do it again, they said again "you know you want to" and all that to convince me to play again. Yes I wanted to and I played again. Five more bucks, five more baseballs, no 20 bucks. Darn.
     After that fail I decided to quit and it was about time for dinner so we left and met the people we were eating with and we went and had some dinner and looked around at other exhibits at the carnival. Instead of getting into too much detail, lets just say I ended up going back to play the game and I did not win the 20 bucks. I even borrowed money from a friend who trusted I could break the bottle, but I failed. Its not that I didn't hit the bottle, I hit the bottle plenty of times trust me. Either the game was rigged and I was tricked by those Carnies or I didn't hit the bottle in the right spot. It's all a mystery. Either way, the Carnies and my pride convinced me to keep playing the game when I should have quit 20 dollars earlier.

            Now to relate this whole experience to the gospel. The Devil and his temptations to get us to sin are exactly like the experience I had with the baseball throw. We have already established that I love baseball, so naturally, seeing the carnival game wanted me to play. Satan makes sinning appealing to us and makes us want to "have fun". Satan also has his own "Carnies" out there to convince us we "want to do it". Peer pressure is a huge factor Satan uses to try and get us to make a mistake. Just like the Carnies, Satan is persistent and will do all he can just to make that one little mistake. Satan is quite convincing too because he makes sinning look like fun! He tells you little white lies like "one time won't hurt" and "everyone's doing it". Satan is a sly, filthy snake and if we give in to his temptations once, we are more likely to give in again. Once I did the baseball throw for the first time, I was sucked in and very easily gave into the temptation another couple three or four times. Just like the Carnies, Satan is a great salesmen and he is happy when we give in and waste our "money" (or spirituality). Satan is just a big jerk and gets too many to fall into his traps, which we cannot afford to do.

     There is always hope though. Hope through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Jesus knows how to help us during our times of difficulty with temptation. He has suffered for our temptations so He can help us overcome them. There is no temptation that we can't overcome (1 Corinthians 10: 13). If we have messed up and have fallen into Satan's trap, repentance is the only way we can get out of that trap. I know that if we build our lives on a solid foundation, which is our Savior Jesus Christ and His gospel, then we will be able to withstand all the winds and temptations of the Devil. I'm grateful for the experience I had at the Carnival which helped me learn a valuable lesson about resisting the wiles of the Devil. I hope and pray I won't give in to sin like I gave into the baseball throw. I know I won't as long as I build my foundation on Christ (Helaman 5:12).


  1. Hey bro, thanks for your amazing testimony and for that cool analogy! I am so grateful for your insight, and for how you are helping me to feel the spirit! Keep up the great work brotha! Love ya!

  2. Thanks elder n. That was awesome. Love you.

  3. Very well said Elder Dirt. Thanks for the story.
    -Coach Cluff