As a boy, Joseph Wirthlin enjoyed sports and went on to play running back for the University of Utah. His abilities earned him the nickname “Speedy” on the field. He once recalled a story about being tackled just inches from the end zone, saying that he remembered thinking he could move the ball and no one would have known.
“I had dreamed of this moment from the time I was a boy. And it was right there within my reach. But then I remembered the words of my mother. ‘Joseph,’ she had often said to me, ‘do what is right, no matter the consequence. Do what is right and things will turn out OK.’
“I wanted so desperately to score that touchdown. But more than being a hero in the eyes of my friends, I wanted to be a hero in the eyes of my mother. And so I left the ball where it was—two inches from the goal line.
“I didn’t know it at the time, but this was a defining experience. Had I moved the ball, I could have been a champion for a moment, but the reward of temporary glory would have carried with it too steep and too lasting a price. It would have engraved upon my conscience a scar that would have stayed with me the remainder of my life. I knew I must do what is right” (“Life’s Lessons Learned,” Ensign, May 2007).