So writes Moroni, one of the principal editors of the Book of Mormon, as he struggled with his weakness and perceived deficiencies. As a physician, I too have struggled as I have looked at the abyss of my ignorance, and the words of Moroni have spoken to me as a familiar spirit from the dust. This is a man whose struggles in the distant past have resonated with my soul and increased my resolve to follow my Savior Jesus Christ. A man who had a resolute belief in his Savior Jesus Christ, who suffered untold difficulties in his life, a man whom I esteem greatly, was a man who had weaknesses and imperfections. This is a man of God that I can relate to. I have felt his spirit speak to me and sensed his anguish as I have read his words, and I have been inspired to become a true follower of Jesus Christ.
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Despair. No one is immune. Some may be less susceptible to it, and others more likely to have it. Some have it all the time and can never get away from it. Sadly it sometimes leads to drastic ends. I have felt it from time to time. It seems to grow steadily as the rising tide, consuming the shoreline, relentless, crushing, and inevitable. Despair dissolves the hope of a brighter future.
I remember a time in high school when I felt particularly down. I don’t recall particularly why, but I do remember feeling a loss of hope, that things wouldn’t get better, that they would only get worse, and there was nothing I, or anyone, could do to change that. In my moment of despair I read, “If ye have no hope ye must needs be in despair; and despair cometh because of iniquity.” Why was I in despair? Was it some form of iniquity, some sin I was guilty of? As I considered this, I understood that the ‘iniquity’, or my error, was not some awful deed I had done. Rather, it was something more fundamental and simple.
My problem was a lack of faith in Jesus Christ. With faith in Him, there is hope of a brighter future. Without Him comes despair. With faith in Him comes knowledge that it does not matter what my past has been, only what my future can be. Faith in Christ is confidence in a Father in Heaven who loves me, without condition, and regardless of mistakes and slip-ups and imperfections. Faith brings a hope for a new start, a brighter future, a chance to try again and again, a chance to be clean of past errors. Faith and hope go together, inseparable. I believe in God. I believe Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind. When I feel despair, I stop and remember to have a little more faith. I have faith that God can make me whole and clean and pure. I have hope that tomorrow is a new day and that I can be better than I was yesterday. Hope is my antidote to despair.