I Tried to Quit Dozens of Times
March 1996

“I Tried to Quit Dozens of Times,” Ensign, Mar. 1996, 65

I Tried to Quit Dozens of Times

As a young woman, I stopped going to church and later acquired a smoking habit that took control of my life. The years passed, and I married and was blessed with eight children. Seeing their need for the gospel, I sent each of them to Primary and Sunday School as they became old enough to go on their own. As they grew older, however, they began noticing that I stayed home while other parents attended church with their children. Soon it became clear to me that to keep them going to church, I had to go with them.

Because I’d been taught the Word of Wisdom as a young girl but did not abide by it, it was uncomfortable for me to go to church. The Church meetings I began to attend enkindled a desire in me to be a clean and active participant. I wanted to quit smoking. My nonmember husband had quit smoking twice, once for a year and then for good. I had tried to quit dozens of times, but the cravings of my tobacco-conditioned body created an obstacle seemingly larger than any mountain I had ever climbed.

One day when my older children were at school and the little ones were sleeping, I knelt at the foot of my bed to ask the Lord’s help in overcoming the habit that held me prisoner. As I prayed, a man’s name came into my mind. Brother Fred Lisonbee had come to our home once as a stake missionary, but there was no reason I could think of that his name should mean anything to me. Yet his name refused to leave my mind. I decided that perhaps there was a reason for his name persisting in my mind. I got up and called him.

Dr. Lisonbee was a busy chiropractor; I realized that just as he answered the telephone. I suddenly felt foolish. He said he remembered me and asked what he could do for me.

“Brother Lisonbee, I am trying very hard to quit smoking, but I just can’t do it. I was hoping you might have a suggestion.”

Without hesitation, he said, “Why don’t you ask the Lord to take away the desire to smoke?”

I was stunned. Unable to think of a reply, I thanked him and returned to my bedroom and thought about what he had said.

Finally I knelt again and prayed for my desire to smoke to be taken away. During my prayer, I felt as if someone were pouring a big pitcher of warm water over my head, the water rushing down, over, and through me. As the pitcher emptied, I was filled. Weeping, I got up from my knees and knew that somehow I was different; something wonderful had happened.

My desire to smoke and the seemingly unyielding addiction to tobacco were washed away as if I had never smoked. From that time on I attended church with my children. Now they attend church with their children. I am eternally grateful to a Heavenly Father who helps us as we strive to repent and keep his commandments.

  • Shirley R. Warren serves as a Mia Maid adviser in the Sharon Second Ward, Orem Utah Sharon Stake.