A Quote by Ezra Taft Benson on action, appearance, basketball, beginning, belief, change, character, cheating, circumstances, clarity, coaching, conscience, criticism, day, evil, god, guilt, heart, injustice, innocence, joy, judgment, justice, learning,

One day in the middle of an important examination in high school, the point of my lead pencil broke. In those days we used pocket knives to sharpen our pencils. I had forgotten my penknife and turned to ask a neighbor for his. The teacher saw this; he accused me of cheating. When I tried to explain, he gave me a tongue-lashing for lying; worse, he forbade me to play on the basketball team in the upcoming game. I could see that the more I protested the angrier he seemed to become. But again and again I stubbornly told what had happened. Even when the coach pleaded my cause, the teacher refused to budge. The disgrace was almost more than I could bear. Then, just minutes before the game, he had a change of heart and I was permitted to play. But there was no joy in it. We lost the game; and though that hurt, by far the deeper pain was being branded a cheat and a liar. Looking back. I know that lesson was God-sent. Character is shaped in just such crucibles. My parents believed me: they were understanding and encouraging. Supported by them and a clear conscience, I began to realize that when you are at peace with your Maker you can, if not ignore human criticism, at least rise above it. And I learned something else - the importance of avoiding even the appearance of evil. Though I was innocent, circumstance made me look guilty. Since this could so easily be true in many of life's situations, I made a resolution to keep even the appearance of my actions above question, as far as possible. And it struck me, too, that if this injustice happened to me, it could happen to others, and I must not judge their actions simply on appearances.

Ezra Taft Benson (1899 - 1994)

Source: Crossfire: The Eight Years with Eisenhower, p. 17.

Contributed by: Zaady