I love this quote from Joseph B. Wirthlin:
"The Church is not a place where perfect people gather to say perfect things, or have perfect thoughts, or have perfect feelings. The Church is a place where imperfect people gather to provide encouragement, support, and service to each other as we press on in our journey to return to our Heavenly Father."
"Each one of us will travel a different road during this life. Each progresses at a different rate. Temptations that trouble your brother may not challenge you at all. Strengths that you possess may seem impossible to another."
The Lord wants nothing more from you than your best, however good that is. He does not ask you to be like anyone else. He only wants you to be like yourself. He wants you to return to Him. On the other hand, Satan wants nothing more for you than to have you lose your way. He wants to confuse you and lead you astray until you can't imagine finding your way back.
Some of us have had the unfortunate experience of choosing to hear Satan's confusing words and turning our backs on the gospel in our lives. I know that I have. I have to tell you, that I NEVER look back at that time without regret. I had some really bad things happen to me and I just couldn't believe that a real, loving Heavenly Father would allow those things to happen. I got some bad advice from a non Latter Day Saint councilor to not do any church work or volunteer work for awhile.
Well, for the first time in my life, I asked to be released from all my callings. I did not hold any callings, and because I was not serving, I found it so easy to go inactive and make some bad decisions. I can't blame anyone else for my own mistakes. But, suffice it to say, that I went inactive for a period of time and there was no where I felt safe to get the help I needed. It was such a hard time in my life! After two years, I moved into a ward with a wonderful Bishop (who is now in the seventies quarum), he accepted me just as I was, with all my faults and failings and focused on helping me to regain my testimony.
The person I am now, almost can not believe that I was once so lost! I have come to have a very strong testimony, but I would never risk it by saying that I can never go astray, I know better. You need to find out for yourself, nothing wavering, whether the things you know are true. When you get that answer, you need to cherish it and nurture it to keep it strong.
Alma 32:28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
The very best advice I ever got was to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Pray hard! Until you know you have the answer. Once you have that as a foundation for you testimony, the rest will fall into place. Once that testimony wasn't wavering, it became so much easier for me to accept whatever the Lord sends my way. Seems to me, that when I discovered the Book of Mormon was true, the rest didn't seem to matter quite so much. I know now that I don't have to understand. Sometimes I just have to accept that the time will come when it will all make sense. We all have to accept things that we aren't sure of. That is called faith. Some are just better grounded and come out of it sooner. Some are hard learners like me! :-)
You each have so much worth! Remember that you are a child of divine parentage. Your Heavenly Father loves you and has provided a way for you to return to him.
President Monson gave the Sisters three goals to work toward. Those goals are:
- Study diligently.
- Pray earnestly.
- Serve willingly.
I Promise you that He loves you and cares for you and will help you as you journey through this life and into the next. Not only will He help you, He will give you a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive!
I bear witness of these things.