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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Holding True to the Faith

Dear Bro Jo,

Lately I’ve been going through a really tough time at home, and until about two months ago I was a regular at Church on Sundays, Mutual and every other gathering my ward had going on.

When I say '' I’ve'' I mean me alone. I’m only 17 and would call people on their way to the chapel for a ride because my family is strongly inactive members and out of 15 I am left to stand strong alone.

Anyways, it started about two months ago when my Mum (the most inactive out of all) started accusing me of only going to Church for a social event and to see boys.

After much disagreement and reassuring her that I’m there purely and honestly attending for the right reasons I gave up the fight and left the Church.

I’m not saying I didn't love seeing my young men friends but I was there for the right reasons.

A lot of my cousins go to my ward (and I mean A LOT ) and they're always encouraging me to come back to church my Mum still won’t let me go. My Dad was once a First Counselor.

Last week I was suspended from school and I still have 2 weeks until I go back. My house isn’t really a home at the moment and I don’t want to sound like a bratty teen, but I have so much running through my head that it’s hard to think what is right anymore.

My Mum's not a two-sided story kind of person and is violent and I think this is where I get all my anger from. I do anger management classes every fortnight and it seemed for a while I forgot about our Heavenly Father above who is supposedly watching over us and leading on the right paths of life.

Through this past week I’ve been VERY SCEPTICAL whether he still knows I’m here and need him or if he even exists.

It makes me so sad to think that all this time of believing that there is a chance of him not being there to help me and if he’s even there, because I sit and cry too myself and think if he were watching over me then why all the suffering?

Why all the heartache and pain?

Why all the bad in my life?

Why?

And these are the things which make me question. Do I hold my scriptures with me while I pray to him for no reason?

If he loves me like you say he does, then he would help me and strengthen me, but here I lay weak and crying. I’m not perfect and I have done bad things in my life, but in your columns you talk about forgiveness and repenting.

Am I repenting for no reason?

Please Bro Jo, let me know what to do and how to get through if he doesn’t love me anymore.

- Name Withheld



Dearest Little Sister,

I hope I can help. Let me give it to you straight ('cause that's what I do).

"Not going to Church" never makes things better. So go. You need strength and testimony, especially now, and Church is a great place for that to happen.

The Lord most certainly makes "weak things (like you and me) become strong". That doesn't mean we'll live our lives in ease or trial free. It means that, like steel, we'll be tried and tempered; go through fire and seasons of cool healing, increasing our testimonies and understanding.

The Savior will never stop loving you. He loves you so much that he endured all things for you. He knows your every trial and temptation, and endured the eternal consequences of all of us so that, if we chose to repent of our sins (and we are all sinners) and follow him to the best of our ability (always needing improvement, of course) we can live with God again. The celestial end is always worth the challenge and difficulty we go through to get there.

I don't know why you have to suffer the things you're going through right now, but I know that suffering doesn't last forever, and that as you endure your trials you WILL be made stronger (though it may be hard to see that right now) and I know that your strength will be a testimony and strength to others (including yours truly).

I'm sorry your family is currently choosing to live their lives distancing themselves from the Gospel, and with you I pray that will change. When you're old enough for it to be appropriate, it may be best for you to move out. Don't burn any bridges; they are your family after all. But go away to school; move somewhere new; something that will allow you to escape the pressure and bad influences.

It's kind of like you're a rescue swimmer. (Have you ever seen "The Guardian"?  Before you can help someone else, you need to be sure you're safe and they can't drag you under. If you allow them to drown you, then you won't be able to help anyone, including yourself.

Hang in there!

Repenting, or doing what we can to become better today than we were yesterday, is always a good thing. As we grow closer to God our trials don't go away, but they become much easier to handle.

We're thinking of and praying for you,

- Bro Jo

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that you're in such a tough situation! In addition to BroJo's ever-excellent advice, I would like to recommend C.S. Lewis's book, "The Problem of Pain" as it answers many if not all of the "why" questions asked. Life really is hard sometimes. Scriptures like D&C 122:7-8 can provide comfort in the knowledge that all the trials will have some positive effect in the long run, but C.S. Lewis manages to explain perfectly why we have to endure suffering in the first place. There really is always a reason. Who knows? Maybe a good example from you will bring your family back to the church! Endure to the end sister, you can do it!
-Mac