Words of Comfort, Words of Hope

    “Words of Comfort, Words of Hope,” Ensign, Mar. 1994, 58–59

    Words of Comfort, Words of Hope

    After getting high every day for the past thirteen years, I thought praying would be the last thing I’d ever do. But one night I drove directly home from work, went into my room, turned out the light, and prayed.

    “Can you hear me?” I asked. “I need your help desperately.” That was an understatement. The drugs were controlling me. “I hate this life I’m living. I can’t go on like this. I’ve got to know what to do. God? Are you listening to me?”

    I didn’t think my prayer of desperation had much of an effect. The next morning I followed my standard routine—I smoked some dope, took a shower, and smoked some more dope before going to my job at a local pharmacy.

    At work, I had just finished setting up an Easter display when a young woman walked up to look at it. I chatted with her, and she told me her name was Karen. I saw her at the store several times after that. There was something special about her, and I decided I wanted to date her. Karen, however, did not want to go out with me. When I finally did convince her to give me a chance, I learned she had been a missionary for her church in another part of the country.

    “A missionary?”

    “Every member of my church is a missionary,” Karen told me.

    “What church is that?” I asked.

    “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” she replied.

    I asked her to tell me more about her church, and when I got home after our date, I told my roommate about this woman and her church.

    To my surprise he asked me to wait a minute while he went into his bedroom. When he came out, he tossed a book into my lap. “It’s a copy of the Book of Mormon,” he said. “Somebody gave it to me when I was in the navy.”

    That night, instead of getting high, I began reading the Book of Mormon. When I read 2 Nephi 1:15 [2 Ne. 1:15], it hit me hard.

    “But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.”

    “In the arms of his love,” I thought. Just once I would like to be held “in the arms of his love.” Then I thought about my failings, my lifestyle, my drug use—and I felt unworthy of God’s love. I continued to read, hoping to find some comfort. Tears flowed from my eyes as I read: “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Ne. 31:20).

    These words and the spirit within them changed me, for in them I found hope, a chance to change my life, an answer to my desperate prayer.

    I studied the Book of Mormon for two weeks, and then I called Karen. We spent our second date discussing the four pages of questions I had about the Book of Mormon.

    As I began investigating the Church, I began to learn the extent of the Lord’s love for me. I felt his love as Karen and her friends taught and supported me. I felt his love as priesthood leaders counseled me. The Savior, who sacrificed his life for me, gave me hope that I could overcome the challenges I faced.

    My testimony grew, but the hardest part of my conversion was overcoming my addictions. I could not have changed my habits without the strength the Lord provided me and the sustaining power of the Book of Mormon and prayer. The process of ridding myself of these vices was more difficult than I can explain. But once my process of change and repentance was complete, Karen’s brother baptized me. One year later, Karen and I were married in the temple.

    The Book of Mormon changed my life. I will always be grateful to my Father in Heaven for the power of prayer, the power of this book of scripture, and for a second chance.