My New Beginning

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“My New Beginning,” New Era, June 2001, 37

Special Issue: Standards

My New Beginning

I regret my past, but my future is bright because of the great lesson I learned.

I am from a tiny town in Georgia. As you might guess, there are very few members of the Church here. In my school, there are five.

I was in seventh grade when my trouble began. All my friends were starting to experiment with alcohol and cigarettes. I was popular back then, so I felt it was my “obligation” to try them. Luckily, I only did it once. I have, however, regretted those spontaneous, thoughtless mistakes every day since. I have also had trials with morality.

This was long ago and my rebellious days are over, but I cannot express the regret I have for those mistakes.

The Atonement has taken on a new meaning in my life. I am now the brunt of many Mormon jokes, but as John 15:19 says, “Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

I have learned to not settle for instant gratification. Many times these mistakes can scar you forever. If only I had thought about that back then.

I will be eternally indebted to my Savior for His endless mercy and love toward me. I am so grateful to be a member of the Church. It has brought me eternal happiness and joy. I look around the halls at my school at all the nonmembers who don’t know what I know, and I feel my testimony grow when I realize who I am—a daughter of God—and where I am going.

Photography by Jana Lynn Dawson Negus