“Peace in Persecution,” New Era, Apr. 2015, 47
I straightened up in my seat in English class when I heard the topic of the next speaker: why the Mormon Church is wrong and why Mormons are hypocritical haters. During the speech, I felt my cheeks burn, and shock and betrayal settled within my chest. How could my very own friends, knowing I was LDS, choose to say slanderous remarks in front of my entire class?
After the bell rang, I was approached by the speaker and some of my other friends. With the Spirit burning inside me, I told them what they said was wrong and that the Church doesn’t hate people who don’t live our beliefs. In return, they bombarded me with false statements and accusations. I felt alone. I thought, “How is it fair that when I am living what I know to be true, I must constantly be persecuted?”
When I got home from school that day, I saw an email from my grandma. In it she told me to look up Matthew 5:11–14. With tears in my eyes, I read: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. … Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.”
The Holy Ghost filled my heart as I read those words. I know that persecution can strengthen our testimonies, and I know that the blessings in heaven will be well worth the pain we go through here on earth. The Savior made it possible for us to find peace when we are being persecuted for living His gospel, and for that I’m truly grateful.