Topic : Trials

"I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love." (2 Nephi 1:15)

I have always loved The Book of Mormon. As I grew up, our family would read it or the Holy Bible every day. I learned scriptural principles just like I learned my letters and numbers, little by little, each day building upon the one before. My well of faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world was being filled by learning and living what my parents and the scriptures lovingly taught to me.

Fast forward to my 7th grade year in school. Something happened in one of my classes and I was met with the decision to be honest or silent. I chose honesty. In so doing, I lost all the friends I had since childhood, and threats of bodily harm started coming daily. I was lonely and scared. I didn’t tell my parents because I mistakenly thought that it would make things worse. I found a place to hide outside during lunch and decided to read The Book of Mormon to calm my troubled heart.

This became my lunchtime routine for a couple of months. During this time, I journeyed with the Book of Mormon prophets who kept the records of the Lord’s work among His children. Prophets like Nephi, whose own brothers tried to kill him for doing what was right, but whom he “frankly forgave.” (See 1 Nephi 7:21) Or Enos, a record keeper, who prayed all day and night not only for himself and his family, but for his enemies “that . . . they might be brought unto salvation . . . .” (See Enos 1:11-17) Or Alma, a wicked priest who (at the peril of his own life) repented of his many sins and taught his people so that many became desirous “to come into the fold of God, and to be called His people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens that they may be light . . . and stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places.” (See Mosiah 18:8-9)

It was a welcome and peaceful escape from the nervous worry that I felt daily. My constant companion in this journey with the prophets was the Holy Ghost, whispering to my heart that I was not alone, nor was I the only one who had suffered or been threatened for choosing right.

My greatest friend that I quietly found journeying with me was Jesus Christ. I came to know Him and His yearnings for us. His desires became my desires as well, and I found that I could face those who were bullying me with a courageous but forgiving heart. Though I am far from perfect, through The Book of Mormon I have felt that the Lord has “encircled me about eternally in the arms of his love.” (2 Nephi 1:15) I know that I can always count on Him to be with me when I open my scriptures to find answers or peace.

"Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things." (Jacob 4:7)

I believe that the Book of Mormon is a true book. I know that Heavenly Father has put us here for a wonderful purpose in these hard times. I know that most think that our mistakes will last forever, that we can never be forgiven, and that Heavenly Father has turned his gaze from us.
However, I know that God loves us. Whatever we do here, despite our mistakes, or being judged or bullied, God will stand by us and love us all the same.
He loves us and watches us, and he forgives us, and I know that with every fiber of my heart.

"And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me." (Alma 36:27 )

Let me start by saying I believe God and Jesus Christ are two separate people, and they love and care for us and will help us through our trials. The above scripture is my favorite in the Book of Mormon. This last year has been one of the most trying times of my life. When I read the Book of Mormon it seems to give me a push in the right direction and inspiration to go on with my day. The Book of Mormon has touched not only my life, but the lives of people around me. I never learned the true meaning of the Book of Mormon until I had gone through the trials of my life. I know that when my dad was 14, he knew the Book of Mormon was true. I am now 14 and I know that the Book of Mormon is true and it touches the lives of so many people around me. The Holy Ghost touched my heart and told me these things after I had prayed about them. My favorite religious teacher told me that when we search and understand something in the Book of Mormon, we understand something more about God. I know that we can grow closer to our God in heaven if we read the Book of Mormon.

"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people . . . and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh. . . ." (Alma 7:11-13)

This past year I have really gotten to know my Savior Jesus Christ on a deeper and more personal level. I have never felt so much pain and sorrow as I have felt my last years of high school. I struggled through though, because I know that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. While I was reading the Book of Mormon, I came across the above passage of scriptures that has changed my life forever. Christ could have just asked the Spirit what it was like to feel all this pain and suffering, but this scripture suggests to me that Christ wanted to feel what we’ve felt, to go through what we experience, so that he can better extend the hand of mercy to us. He didn’t want to just sympathize with us, He wanted to empathize with us. What greater show of love could Jesus have given us? He didn’t want us to walk alone in these trying times; He wanted to be there with us, every step of the way, so that He could better understand what we need. He will never leave us comfortless and alone, He will always be there for us. I know that He will always be there for me, and He will never leave me to bear my trials alone. I know this with all my heart. I am thankful to have Jesus Christ as my Savior.

I know that Jesus Christ is always there for us, and He never leaves us to bear our trials alone. I know this to be true with all of my heart, and I’m so thankful to have Jesus Christ as my Savior.

"And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things; and behold, their names shall be blotted out, that the names of the wicked shall not be numbered among the names of the righteous, that the word of God may be fulfilled, which saith: The names of the wicked shall not be mingled with the names of my people; for the names of the righteous shall be written in the book of life, and unto them will I grant an inheritance at my right hand. And now, my brethren, what have ye to say against this? I say unto you, if ye speak against it, it matters not, for the word of God must be fulfilled. For what shepherd is there among you having many sheep doth not watch over them, that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock doth he not drive him out? Yea, and at the last, if he can, he will destroy him. And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed. And now I, Alma, do command you in the language of him who hath commanded me, that ye observe to do the words which I have spoken unto you. I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life." (Alma 5:57-62)

Growing up as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I never felt I really needed to be “converted” to the teachings that I had grown up learning. It wasn’t until my Junior and Senior years of high school that I really felt like my belief in the Church was being tested. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at the age of sixteen. Being told that not only did I have a serious pain condition but that it would also stick with me for life, led to my developing a serious case of depression. I allowed myself to become bitter and angry with God, and got myself mixed up in a crowd that wasn’t conducive to the standards the Church had in place. However, I began to feel empty inside. I was happy, but I didn’t feel whole. I began to wonder if having the Lord back in my life would help me to feel complete again. While reading the Book of Mormon, I found many verses that talked about abandoning sin, and coming unto Christ, but Alma 5 particularly stood out. Not only did it encourage me to abandon living the life of frivolity that I was currently participating in, but it compared all of us on earth to sheep being watched over by “the good shepherd”. The line, “the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; . . .that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life” was the tipping point in turning from the life I was currently living, and coming unto the Savior That was the best decision I have ever made. I have never felt as peaceful, jovial, and simply content with who and where I am in life, as I have since I decided to make the decision to abandon the person that I was and become a member of the fold which is actively watched over and protected by the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

"But behold all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things." (2 Nephi 2: 24)

I like this verse because it helps me see that God will always be with me, even through my toughest choices. He is always there to help me when I feel alone or upset in any way. I know that I will never feel alone if I trust in God, have patience, and keep the commandments. I believe that we can all be forgiven, and I know that we will see God again.

"My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever. And may the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power, until all things shall become subject unto him, be, and abide with you forever. Amen." (Moroni 9:25-26)

I cannot even imagine my life without the Book of Mormon. I love it so much! It has taught me about Jesus Christ and has brought me closer to Him. It has made me want to be like Him, and I have made the majority of my goals and choices because of this desire. There so many amazing verses that it is difficult to say which ones are my favorites. But the above verses have really meant a lot to me.

Most of us will have struggles and trials in this life. Few, if any, get through it unscathed. And I believe everyone will be tempted and will sin. No one is perfect. At a particularly difficult time in my life, these verses brought me peace and gave me the hope I needed to endure. As I read “but may Christ lift thee up”, I felt an extra support and knew that as I learn to listen and depend on my Savior, Jesus Christ, I can do all things. I felt these words to be true just at that moment when I needed to hear them the most. I have often felt Christ “lift” me up and support me through my trials, and I know that I would never be able to get through them without Him to ease the burden. Because Christ suffered for us, because He is so merciful, because of His grace, we can repent and return to live with Him and our Father in Heaven again.