I don’t remember which roommate it was. One of my college roommates was nervous about a test.

I don’t remember which other roommate it was. Some one of them thought of a way to boost his confidence.

We gathered around to send him out the door and may even have given him a priesthood blessing. We then told him to look up at our second-story window when he was walking through the parking lot on the way to the testing center.

When he turned to look up, we held up speakers blasting the Star Wars Imperial March and all of us crowded to the window and cheered as loud as we could. He straightened up and marched off looking like a world-beater.  We kept it up for as long as he could hear.  We loved doing it.

When he came back he was bubbling. He had gone through the test like a flame.

After that, we did it with everybody who had a tough test coming up.

Here is what it is like to be on the receiving end. First you hear the music.  It’s militant, vigorous, and regal.  You feel like a champ.  Then you look up and see your men, your best friends in the world, and they are cheering just for you.  The sound of the cheer hits you.  It is loud, it is raw, it is pure noise.  And your reaction is biological.  Your hair stands on end.

You feel like a world beater. You go to the testing center like Mike Fink.  You come to conquer.  And you usually do.  You still don’t know what you don’t know.  You still have the abilities that you have.  But your mind is right.  You are not intimidated.


My family has a custom.   My folks are not an expressive bunch, and neither are we siblings.  But we cheer for each other.  “Three cheers for ____!” someone will say, and then we all shout “hip,  hip, hurray!” three times.

I have kept up the custom with my own family. But I have retraditionalized it.  The person leading the cheer shouts ‘hip, hip,” and then everybody booms out  “HURRAY!” in the old way.

Hip hip


Hip hip


Hip hip


We do not huzzah or hurrah. “Hurray” looks goofier in print, but works just fine in a full-throated yell.

My children, when they are being cheered, their eyes glow. My wife sparkles.  Me, my hair still stands on end.  We are enough of us, and my kids are loud enough, that we have literally raised a little dust.  It is wonderful.  For both the cheering and the cheered, it makes us strong together.


The cheer is the exhilarating part about athletics or entertainment audiences. It’s not the popularity as such—it’s the noise.  The crowd yelling for you.

One real though overlooked symptom of social decay is that we do not cheer people anymore outside of stadiums.  It is pure loss.  There is no upside.


Heaven has a boisterous crowd. Everything quiet and peaceful one can say about heaven is true.  But it is not the only truth.  I know Captain Moroni, Brigham Young, and my sainted aunts and other assorted relatives.  I know these folks are not polite clappers.  When I make it through the gates, they will roar.

One difference in the Christian life is that we are aware of our audience.

I have had intimations that we stand as players on a celestial stage, where the angels and even the throne cheer for us.  The greatest among the great.  People of name burst out in celebration when we succeed.

And the only price we have to pay is to do the good and love it enough to cheer their exploits too.

This price is no price at all. It is a positive pleasure to pay.

No mortal tongue can express my delight in the heroes and the saints and the Almighty God.  I will say it with the tongue of angels.  When my voice is divine, I will say it to the shaking of the earth.

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