“Never Forget That You Are a Mormon,” Liahona, January 2009, 44–45
“Whenever we fall, whenever we do less than we ought, in a very real way we forget mother,” declared President Thomas S. Monson. He added, “Men turn from evil and yield to their better natures when mother is remembered.”1
President Monson’s message has been a strength to me, so much so that when I first read his words, they brought to mind my mother and the wise counsel she gave me years ago, shortly after I joined the Church.
My mother was a member of another Christian church, but she was kind to the missionaries who taught me the gospel. Once I decided to become a Latter-day Saint, she always supported me.
Everything had been going well in my new life as a member of the Church until I joined in Journalism Day observances in my home country of Peru. At a party I attended, talks and complimentary words filled the air. Toasts then followed. As the party grew, so did the temptation to drink with my friends.
The change that converts to the Church make when they accept the gospel often means that they must make new friends. In some circumstances, as I learned, former friends can be instruments of the adversary to tempt us to break the commandments and resume our old ways.
When my co-workers offered me a glass of beer, I took it, drank it, and kept on drinking. At the end of the party, my conscience convicted me. I had fallen. What would my mother say?
When I arrived home, I entered quietly and immediately went to bed. My mother said nothing, but I felt ashamed and decided to quit attending church. A week later, as we sat at the table eating lunch, she looked me straight in the eye and said, “Son, never forget that you are a Mormon.”
To go to and from work, I rode my bicycle by the Church meetinghouse. Every time I did so, my conscience bothered me. One evening I decided I could no longer live with my guilt. I parked my bicycle directly in front of the branch president’s office, went in, and requested an interview.
I told the branch president what I had done and asked for forgiveness, after which he counseled with me. From that moment on, I have never broken the Word of Wisdom.
My mother died more than 20 years ago, but I have always tried to remember what she told me never to forget: I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.