Maybe you remember Elder Perry's talk about how he used to order milk during cocktail hours when he was in the business world. He says,
"I spent my career in the department store business. Because I was part of a management team, it was important for me to interact socially with local business organizations. The meetings with most of these organizations always started with a cocktail hour. It was a time to mix and get acquainted with the men who belonged to the organization. I have always felt uncomfortable in these social hours. At first I started asking for a lemon-lime soda. I soon discovered that lemon-lime soda looks like many of the other drinks. I could not build the impression I was a nondrinker with a clear soda in my hands. I tried root beer. It had the same problem.
Finally I decided I had to have a drink that would clearly mark me as a nondrinker. I went to the bartender and requested a glass of milk. The bartender had never had such a request. He went into the kitchen and found a glass of milk for me. Now I had a drink that looked very different from the alcoholic beverages the others were drinking. Suddenly I was the center of attention. There were a lot of jokes made of my drink. My milk was a conversation piece. I met more business leaders that evening than I ever had before at a cocktail hour.
Milk became my drink of choice at the cocktail hours. It soon became common knowledge I was a Mormon. The respect I received really surprised me, as did an interesting event that started to occur. Others soon joined me in a pure milk cocktail!
Dare to be different. Live up to the standards we are taught in the gospel."
I had a similar experience over the weekend at a dinner my husband and I were invited to.
The night started with a cocktail hour, and since it was an open bar, the alcohol was flowing. Freely. Like Niagra Falls it was flowing freely. Woh.
Initially I ordered a soda, ginger ale to be specific. It's my favorite and most restaurants just don't have it. It felt like a treat that I could order one that night.
But, like he explains, my awesome ginger ale looks a whole lot like others' drinks, and because no one knew me (though they know my husband well), I wanted to make sure my standards were clear, without question; that I was united with my husband in the standards he has exemplified in the many situations he's had to do so.
So I walked to the bar and asked the bartender if they had any milk. He happily said yes and jetted away to get some. He brought back a new gallon, minus the glass he'd already filled for me.
I came back to the small group I'd been chatting with, which included my husband, and what I had in my hand was quickly noticed. One of the women there said something about how now all I needed were some chocolate chip cookies. Hmmm. I'm still not sure if she was being funny and friendly or sort of mocking me. It was a fun evening either way.
Here's my milk. My ginger ale is on the bar behind it and you can see the plenteous selection people could choose from.
It feels good to stand out. It felt good to know that we could drive home later that night and not be putting our lives in jeopardy. It felt good knowing that we'd wake up the next morning feeling just fine, with out any lingering side-effects of the previous night's behavior. It felt good keeping the standards and promises we've committed ourselves to keeping.
The world would have us believe that our standards are confining, but we know better. They are the purest kind of freedom. Freedom from all sorts of ills and consequences.
Elder Perry sums this up so well, "Sometimes we may feel that people will not be as accepting of us because of the high standards we have set for ourselves. Still, there are things we just don’t do. We have the Word of Wisdom, which helps us to live a healthier life, a type of life that is conducive to our growth and well-being. We have standards, ideals, and a way of living that are the envy of much of the world. I have found that if you live the way you should live, people notice and are impressed with your beliefs and you have an influence on the lives of others."