Sunday, January 11, 2015

Don't be afraid to live your religion - no matter what that may be!

It seems too often that we, humans of the earth, are a people who are crippled by fear. I myself am no stranger to it. Fear is so common to us and is shared by all but is still uniquely ours.

I can remember a poignant time when I felt myself constrained by the familiar bounds of fear – that in regards to my faith. I was 13, gangly, with a wavering self-confidence to match. I was neither popular nor unpopular. I was stuck between the person I knew I was and the person the crowds wanted me to be. Most of the time, I felt terribly lonely.

My beliefs certainly were not the way to become popular. I was a baptized member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or a Mormon. This wasn't unique, however – almost everyone in my school was as well. Rather than solidifying the standards and beliefs of our church, the familiarity with the doctrine often seemed to engender the opposite: people were cold, crude, and ridiculed the things I held most sacred. Being “Mormon” was not a distinction – it was spectrum full of varying levels of commitment to the teachings of Christ. Most of us wanted to be good, but not too good, as that would single us out for vicious teasing. No one wanted to be branded a “Molly Mormon”. Those kids were little goody-two shoes; people who sucked the fun out of everything and were looked down upon.

I was so afraid of being called a Molly Mormon, and sometimes I was. I knew that the church was true but didn’t always want to show it for fear of being teased. Though I never did anything terrible, I didn't live as true to my knowledge of God as I could have. Sometimes I was quiet when I should have spoken up in defense of Christ.

          I understand so much more clearly now – most of my misery came because I didn't always stick to the things I knew to be true. I knew I had a Heavenly Father who loved me and knew my name. I knew I was His child. I knew that I had a Savior: Jesus Christ. I knew God wanted me to become the best person I could possibly be. He wanted me to be true to Him, which would also mean being true to me.

         The experience of Peter and John so adequately explains what I was facing and what I needed to do. The leaders of the Jews had brought the two apostles before them and threatened them, demanding that they stop teaching of Christ.

Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

And then, a page turn away, they boldly restate their determination to follow Christ:

Acts 5: 29 ¶Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Obey God. Don’t be afraid to live your lives true to your religion, whatever it may be. Whether you are Buddhist, Muslim, Christian or more, never let the opinion of man hold you back from following God the best way you possibly can. Don’t let your fear hold you back; it will only make you miserable. God loves you. He loves you where you are and knows what’s best from you. His sole purpose is to help you develop into the wonderful person He knows you can be. Though our beliefs on how to worship God may differ, I promise you that if you are true to the knowledge you have, you will be happier.


So it was with me – after that dreadful year of middle school and in the safety of a summer afternoon, I made a promise. I told God that I would show my love for Him on the outside no matter the consequences; that I would obey His rules first rather than hesitating under the glare of my peers. That following school year marked the turn of a new chapter in my life. Though I didn't know who I was in full, necessarily, I had decided who I was going to become: a disciple of Jesus Christ and someone who is in His gospel to end.
                                                                             -Submitted by Karen F.

8 comments:

  1. Great post. It is never easy to live God's laws, particularly when you want to fit in.

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  2. This is a great article and one I relate to. There seems to be an increasing amount of criticism towards religion in general and it can be difficult sometimes to not be afraid to live your religion where others will see you and may ridicule you for your beliefs. However, I know that as we unashamedly live the gospel and focus on caring only what God thinks of us, rather than what the world will think of us, we will be much happier and at peace.

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    1. Part of Romans 1:16 says: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth..." I agree that we will feel peace as we live the gospel and we will also find true happiness as we apply the atonement to our lives by repenting of our sins and by following the teachings of the Savior regardless of what the world thinks of us!

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  3. Wow. This was amazing. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring, heartfelt testimony. I love how you were able to decide this for yourself at such a young age. I think when we become adults, our expectation for children are less than what they are capable of. When we make a stand for what we believe because we want to, our testimony grows so much stronger.

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  4. The great thing about the gospel of Jesus Christ is that upon immersing oneself in it completely, loyalty to it becomes a natural desire. It takes time to get to that point, but the joys of being fully converted, together with the sure knowledge of its truthfulness, transforms temptation to flee into an abiding gratitude for membership in His kingdom.

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  5. This was an amazing post and thank you for sharing that part of your life. I think is very wise counsel.

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  6. I enjoyed this article! When I was about 12 or 13, I discovered who I truly was, that I was a child of God, with a divine origin. I decided at that young age that I would do what is right and stand up for my beliefs! The more you make correct choices, the stronger you become and the happier you are...so it was with me and still is today! :)

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