As a young teenager, I participated in a church basketball game.... The coach sent me onto the playing floor right after the second half began. I took an inbounds pass, dribbled the ball toward the key and let the shot fly. Just as the ball left my fingertips, I realized why the opposing guards did not attempt to stop my drive: I was shooting for the wrong basket!

"I offered a silent prayer: 'Please, Father, don't let that ball go in.' The ball rimmed the hoop and fell out.

"From the bleachers came the call: 'We want Monson, we want Monson, we want Monson — out!'

"The coach obliged.

"Many years later, as a member of the Council of the Twelve, I joined other general authorities in visiting a newly completed chapel where, as an experiment, we were trying out a tightly woven carpet on the gymnasium floor.

"While several of us were examining the floor, Bishop J. Richard Clarke, who was then in the Presiding Bishopric, suddenly threw the basketball to me with a challenge: 'I don't believe you can hit the basket, standing where you are!'

"I was some distance behind what is now the professional 3-point line. I had never made such a basket in my entire life.

"Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Twelve called out to the others, 'I think he can!'

"My thoughts returned to my embarrassment of years before, shooting toward the wrong basket. Nevertheless, I aimed and let that ball fly. Through the net it went!

"Throwing the ball in my direction, Bishop Clarke once more issued the challenge: 'I know you can't do that again!'

"Elder Petersen spoke up, 'Of course, he can!'

"The words of the poet echoed in my heart: 'Lead us, O lead us, great molder of men, out of the shadow to strive once again.'

"I shot the ball. It soared toward the basket and went right through. That ended the inspection visit."

General conference, April 2004"