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Why an NFL offensive tackle sang Primary songs on the football field

The October pick for LDS Living Book Club is Spirit by David Butler. Follow the LDS Living Book Club Instagram for more insights with the author.

Parley P. Pratt once taught, “The gift of the Holy Ghost . . . quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections. . . . It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings, and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness, and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation, and social feeling. It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being.”1

You might need to read that again with a dictionary! Did you catch what that was saying?

All of our natural abilities are increased. Including taste. Did you see that one? I think that means strawberries can taste better because of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. And what about physical and intellectual faculties? That means sports and school. And “beauty of person, form and features”—well, that just means that like my friend Elaine Dalton likes to say, the gift of the Holy Ghost is the best beauty secret that she knows about. Those who live life filled with a portion of the Spirit experience and live in a more refined, more vibrant, and more beautiful way. It is life in 4K. Paul describes living with the gifts of the Spirit as “a more excellent way” of living (1 Corinthians 12:31).

Sorry to say, this doesn’t mean you can now dunk on LeBron James (unless you are already 6'6" and 260 pounds, or by the time you read this he is now a wash-up). It does mean, though, that the Spirit can magnify and help us with all the things we do in our lives. He happens to be an expert in everything—math, the piano, languages, compassion, cooking, painting, and football.

My friend Garett is currently one of the most talented left tackles in the NFL. He is strong, smart, and resilient. Ever since he was little, he battled learning disabilities and difficult situations that made mastering anything feel like climbing Everest. During his freshman year of college, he decided he wanted to try playing football. He was tall, strong (handsome!), and grossly athletic. His one problem, though, was he couldn’t learn the plays. He would study them all week, all night long, but when he got to the field, they disappeared from his mind. If he couldn’t learn the plays, then the coach couldn’t put him in, so it frustrated him to no end. He wanted to play so badly. One day, his mom reminded him about the promises of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. She taught him that the Spirit knew the plays and could help him remember them—he just needed to find a way to invite the Spirit.

The next evening, Garett called his mom, over the moon in excitement. “It worked!” he yelled through the phone.

“What did??” she asked.

“I remembered my plays. Every one of them!” When his mom asked him what he had done differently, he told her he did the one thing that brought the Spirit closer to him—singing Primary songs. Particularly his favorite one, “I Am a Child of God.” While the opposing punt team was out on the field, and it was almost time for Garett to go in, there he was, on the sidelines of a football game (with everything that comes with it), singing “I am a child of God, and He has sent me here. Has given me an earthly home . . .” I love picturing that moment in my mind. A 6'5", 300-pound man’s man singing before he took the field. Can you even imagine what someone who overheard him must have thought? Soon, Garett realized that singing on the sidelines was tough to do in the chaos of game day, so he developed a different strategy to walk closer to the Spirit. He decided to write all over his cleats inspirational quotes and favorite scriptures so that when he looked down during the game, it would fill Him with the Spirit and he would remember his plays. Even more than I love the sideline Primary program, I love picturing the opponents setting up across from him on the line and seeing scripture quotes and references written on his cleats. Must be a softy would just start going through their thoughts, when the ball was hiked and Garett pancaked them to the turf in 0.7 seconds.

Lead image: Timothy Nwachukwu, Getty Images

Image titleFollowing David Butler's best sellers Almighty and Redeemer, this engaging new book walks readers through the various roles the Holy Ghost takes in our lives. Spirit helps readers learn what the Holy Ghost can do for them, from comforting them to acting as a witness and a guide or a companion. It also helps readers recognize promptings and know how to use the Spirit's promises and privileges in their lives on a day-to-day basis. Available now at DeseretBook.com


1. Parley P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology, 9th ed. (1965), 101.

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