My cute chubby face back then.
Once we got into the Marriott Center and found the best available seats, which were about half way up to the top and towards the left of the podium (hardly coveted seats), I set my backpack down on the one seat I was charged with saving for my dear birthday-having roommate. And as I saved this seat, I blatantly ignored the guilt trip that came over the PA in the form of “Saving seats is unfair and not allowed. Do not save seats. You are dishonest if you save seats because we decided that this was a rule and you are not following it. DO NOT SAVE SEATS.”
After the announcement had come over the PA several times, one young man, I’ll call him Judge Judy, came up to me, asked me if I was saving the seat next to me. I said that I was, returned to my reading, realized he had not left, and he asked me to move my backpack. I said that I wouldn't. He insisted, I insisted, then he threatened to get a dreaded security guard.
Back then, I was a coward, and wanted to do everything I could to avoid getting in “trouble” at all costs. These days I would have told him to go ahead, and if he actually DID get a security guard, and the guard actually DID ask me to move my backpack, I would have complied. But back then I was a big old pansy who was desperately afraid of incurring the wrath of the "man."
So I got scared. And I moved my backpack. And Judge Judy moved right into the seat next to me. But it didn't end there. No it did not folks. Mr. Judge became my own personal judge, my Jiminy Cricket, my conscience.
As he sat in the seat he had taken from my birthday-roommate, he criticized me for saving a seat, saying that he didn't understand how anyone could purport to want to hear the words of the prophet and actually refuse to comply with simple rules. He said he found it ironic that I was so concerned with saving a seat for my friend, but not concerned about following the rules that the almighty, super righteous security team had come up with. How could I claim to be a disciple of Christ and a true BYU student while so purposely breaking such an important rule?
This continued for several minutes. People sitting around me had tried to intervene on my behalf, but Judy maintained that he was talking only to me. Once I could contain my frustration no more and had been reduced to tears, the only thing I could muster the courage to say was, “Where do you get off being so self-righteous?”
And this was his response—the response that I will never forget, and I laugh at today, but only half-heartedly because this poor, delusional soul actually meant what he said—which was
“Is it self-righteous? Or just righteous?”
And out of fear, stupidity, and sheer desire to hear the words of the prophet, I sat next to him for the duration of the devotional. And I have no idea what it was that President Hinckley said that day because I was too busy crying and contemplating the meaning of life and arbitrary rules. So instead of being instructed by the Lord's anointed, I was instructed by a guy I "fondly" refer to as Judge Judy.