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Mormon Olympian Honored for Having Moral Rectitude

The dictionary defines the word integrity as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.” Therefore, a person who posesses moral rectitude, is a person who has the quality or state of being correct in judgment or procedure. In other words, that person is a person who has high moral standards and upholds righteousness.

Antje Misersky Harvey MormonMembers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often referred to as the Mormon Church) learn from modern day revelation as recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) that they are to remain steadfast and unmovable. They are to always be found standing in holy places. In D&C 101:22 are recorded these words, “Behold, it is my will, that all they who call on my name, and worship me according to mine everlasting gospel, should gather together, and stand in holy places.” D&C 45:32 exhorts that as a disciple (or follower) of the Lord Jesus Christ, a person “shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.”

Mormon Olympic biathlete and gold medalist Antje Misersky Harvey was recently inducted into the German Sports Hall of Fame in addition to her previous gold medal achievements. She is a German native, and has been a member of the LDS Church for almost ten years. She decided early on that she always do what is right, and let the consequences follow. She is one who understands the teaching in the scriptures found in 1 Peter 3:10-17:

For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

Sister Harvey is a resident of Heber City, Utah. She traveled to Berlin, Germany with her family on 25 May 2012 to receive the award. The ceremony was held at the historic hotel, the Adlon. She was joined in the Hall of Fame award by her father, Henrich Misersky, and two other athletes who not only excelled in athleticism, but who each triumphed over some test of character within their sport.

Sister Harvey’s trial and test of character came when she was a youth during the Cold War when Germany was divided between the democratic West and communistic East. She competed in a biathlon during the 1992 Olympics, but her first passion and talent was in cross-country skiing. At the young age of 16 she made it to Junior World Championships on Germany’s national team and did very well, but apparently not well enough as far as the East German government was concerned. Team training coaches ordered her and her teammates to take a steroid pill each night to help improve their performance. Sister Harvey realized that the steroid was a harmful drug and could have adverse side effects on her body. She also realized that by taking the drug she would in essence be cheating the sport, and so she was forced to quit the team due to non-compliance.

Her husband, Ian, has said about her, “Antje is a person who always does the right thing even if it’s not popular or especially if it’s not comfortable” (Allie Jeppson, Church News Staff Writer, “‘The right decision’ – Athlete honored for living with integrity“, Church News, 10 June 2012.) Concerning having to quit the team because of refusing to take the drug was not a decision that Sister Harvey regrets. She has said, “The inner peace I feel because of not taking steroids is priceless. . . .Even when I thought that my big dreams were shattered as a 17-year-old, I could look in the mirror and know deep inside that I made the right decision.” [1]

Because of her stand, both she and her family became targeted by the communistic East German government and she was not sure if she would be able to ever compete again. It would not be until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 that she would be given a second chance. She began training in the sport of biathlon. In the 1992 Olympic Games she won the gold medal in the 15 km race and two silver medals in other biathlon events. But the blessings that she received for her integrity did not stop there. Through racing biathlon, she met Ian Harvey, a biathlete from the United States. They became good friends and were married in 1993. They later moved to Utah, where although they were drawn to the state because of the mountains, it was actually their neighbors and the newfound knowledge of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that caused them to stay. Before moving to Utah both of them were atheists and believed religion to be something that was hollow. The example set by their neighbors soon changed their minds. Ian has said, “We became aware of just some people who were consciously trying to live their religion. . . .That’s probably the one thing that opened our eyes.” [1]

After their second child was born, Sister Harvey struggled with hyperthyroidism. During her struggle she was touched by the testimony of an understanding neighbor about the atonement of Jesus Christ. “She said, ‘I wish that you could get your burdens and your feelings off of your shoulders and give them to Him; He suffered all of that,'” Sister Harvey said. “It really made an impression on me.” [1]

Soon they began taking the missionary discussions and reading the Book of Mormon (Another Testament of Jesus Christ) on a daily basis. Although neither of them had any intention of joining a new religion, as they read the Holy Spirit began to testify to them of the truthfulness of what they were learning. Sister Harvey said, “We just both individually felt that what we were reading was from a higher source. . . .By reading the Book of Mormon we gained our own witness.” [1] She further stated, “You just have a totally different perspective on life. . . .When you know God’s plan, things feel different in every perspective.” [1]

The decision that she made as a young teenager to take a stand against what she knew to be wrong was not an easy one to make, but looking back she can see the blessings that have been wrought in her life and how she is continuously blessed as she is faithful and obedient to the commandments of the gospel. Sister Harvey is a living witness and testimony of the words recorded in Alma 37:6, in the Book of Mormon (Another Testament of Jesus Christ):

Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

Additional Resources: 

Jesus Christ, Savior of the World

The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Meet With the Missionaries

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