As a high school and college student, my performance in formal...

As a high school and college student, my performance in formal public speaking was extremely poor. I greatly dreaded facing an audience, and as a result even my most carefully prepared words seemed lame and confused when presented orally. It seemed impossible for me to organize my words when I was asked to speak extemporaneously. I was so blinded by fear in these situations that I despaired of any hope whatsoever.

Not long after college graduation I entered military service. Because of previous engineering experience I was asked to lecture to a series of special weapons classes comprised of high-ranking military and civilian personnel. Careful coaching and extensive practice sessions helped me somewhat allay the old fears, and I entered the first session bubbling with confidence. My confidence soon turned to dismay, however, because I could not remember my talk.

Afterward I realized that failure had resulted from trying to rely on human confidence and that I must turn to God. In seeking guidance I turned to the Bible and to Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy. The story of Moses' selection by God to lead the children of Israel out of bondage attracted my attention. Of particular assurance was God's answer to Moses (Ex. 4:12), "I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say." As I pondered Moses experience, I realized that I was fating in some degree the same fear that Moses successfully overcame. In overcoming it he proved its nothingness, and God would enable me to do likewise.

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August 17, 1968

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