Does Standing in Holy Places Really Make a Difference?
June 2024

Digital Only: Young Adults

Does Standing in Holy Places Really Make a Difference?

Standing in an unholy place wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t do anything unholy … right?

a young woman standing and smiling

When I was a teenager, my neighbors introduced me and my family to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I ended up getting baptized, then some of my siblings joined, and eventually my parents did too. There aren’t many members of the Church in my area of India, so it was nice to have such a solid foundation of support from loved ones at home. They made it easy to keep my faith strong.

But when I returned home from my mission, I got a job and moved away from my family. I got an apartment in a different state, with roommates who had very different standards than mine.

My co-workers also lived very different lives than I did. They would get together every weekend to drink and party, and they invited me to join. Not wanting to be in an environment like that, I always turned down their invitations.

But, weekend after weekend, as I sat alone in my flat and woke up each Sunday to go to church on my own, I started to feel discouraged.

Feeling Lonely

Although I said no to early invitations to go out with my co-workers, I felt jealous—they seemed like they were having fun. I noticed that the friendships they developed when they went out seemed to be helping them move forward in their careers.

I just felt like the quiet, boring co-worker no one knew.

One weekend I was tired of feeling lonely. So I decided to go with them when they asked. I justified the decision by deciding beforehand that I wouldn’t try any alcohol.

I told myself, “Even if I’m in an unholy place, just being there won’t hurt me if I’m not doing anything unholy, right?”

Growing Distant from God

As I started going out with these co-workers, I gradually started to change. I stayed out late on Saturday nights, which resulted in me sleeping through church on Sundays.

Although I wasn’t drinking alcohol, I wasn’t standing in holy places. Physically, I wasn’t going to church. Spiritually, I didn’t think about the gospel or make time for Heavenly Father. I was trading my meetinghouse for parties. I didn’t leave room for the Spirit in my life.

One day, I woke up and realized how far I had let myself drift away from Heavenly Father. I felt like I finally understood the term “godly sorrow” (2 Corinthians 7:10). My mind and heart were full of anguish.

“What am I doing?” I thought. “This isn’t me.”

Despite going out on weekends, I didn’t feel happy.

I knew I needed to get back on track with my faith. I needed to repent.

Choosing to Stand in Holy Places

I used to think that repentance was a painful, difficult process, full of guilt and shame. But through this experience, I have learned that repentance is the process of allowing Jesus Christ to change our natures and help us become “new creatures” (Mosiah 27:26).

Ultimately, it was the thought of Jesus Christ and His Atonement that helped me remember who I truly am, the choices I want to be making, and the environments I want to be in.

I started praying for the first time in months. I stopped going out with my co-workers. I went back to church. I opened my Book of Mormon more often.

As I returned to my consistent spiritual habits, I felt peace and renewed comfort. I gained a testimony that when God asks for space in my life and I give it to Him, He will bless me. I can choose to stand in holy places, and if I sometimes find myself in an environment that makes it hard to feel the Spirit, I can hold fast to my standards and faith and rely on Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to protect me (see 2 Kings 6:15–16).

Jesus Christ Is the Answer

This experience showed me that the world has such a strong, enticing pull, and we can easily be swept up in it if we aren’t making room for the Spirit in our lives.

President Russell M. Nelson has taught: “Our ultimate quest in life is to prepare to meet our Maker. We do this by striving daily to become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ [see 3 Nephi 27:27]. And we do that as we repent daily and receive His cleansing, healing, and strengthening power. Then we can feel enduring peace and joy, even during turbulent times. This is exactly why the Lord has implored us to stand in holy places and ‘be not moved’ [Doctrine and Covenants 87:8].”

Before, I was so worried about my career and loneliness. But after wandering away from the gospel, I realized that if I follow Jesus Christ, He will continue to prepare a way for me physically, socially, spiritually, and financially. As my relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ has improved, I’ve found new ways to socialize while not putting myself in spiritually dangerous environments.

I know that Heavenly Father has provided a solution for me in Jesus Christ and that my life will be filled with blessings as I continue to follow Him. I feel so grateful for a Savior who was willing to suffer for me so I could choose to follow Him again.

President M. Russell Ballard shared that “a relationship with our Heavenly Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is most important. This relationship matters most now and in eternity.” I know that if you strengthen your relationship with Them and make more room for Them in your life, you will be able to feel more peace and reap the blessings of the Savior’s gospel.