Would They Welcome Me Again?
    Footnotes
    Theme

    “Would They Welcome Me Again?” Ensign, June 1996, 55–56

    Would They Welcome Me Again?

    When I joined the Church, I began attending a very small Filipino branch where the members were very close and worked in unity to get things done.

    As we grew in numbers, the branch prospered little by little. New chairs came, then a new sacrament table. In time we moved to a spacious apartment and even had a new organ. Three years later a lot was purchased for our future meetinghouse.

    During this period of growth the unity of our branch was occasionally tested. After some particularly hurtful gossip reached me, I decided to leave the Church. For the next six Sundays I did not attend my meetings, although in my heart I wished I were there. I especially wanted to partake of the sacrament and renew my covenants.

    One day I knelt in prayer and asked for strength, courage, and especially enlightenment. I was still on my knees when my eyes caught sight of a book on the floor near the foot of my bed, partly hidden by the bedcovers. I picked up a dusty and neglected volume of scripture and began paging through it, hoping to find some lines that would ease my pain. I stopped at Doctrine and Covenants 136:29–30 [D&C 136:29–30]: “If thou art sorrowful, call on the Lord thy God with supplication, that your souls may be joyful. Fear not thine enemies.”

    After reading the verses, I felt lighter in spirit, and my faith and courage returned. I would go back to church. I sank to my knees again, this time to offer a prayer of gratitude to my Heavenly Father.

    As I neared the meetinghouse, I felt very apprehensive. Would they welcome me again? Would I hear even more whispering behind my back? Or would they ignore me altogether? My feet dragged the closer I got to the door. Then I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder, and before I could turn around, an arm encircled me in a tender embrace. Then another hand reached out to clasp mine. Other friends burst from the door with warm smiles and greetings, each one expressing joy and happiness for my return.

    As the sacrament service began, we turned to the opening hymn, “Though Deepening Trials” (Hymns, no. 122). A soothing feeling of calm and peace filled me as each word was sung, and the feelings of hurt and resentment I had harbored melted away. Warm tears blurred my vision, and I could no longer see the words in the hymnbook. I closed my eyes tightly and gratefully whispered, “Father, thanks for leading me back to the fold.”