“Where Do You Turn for Peace?” New Era, July 2019, 24–29.
Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be awesome, and the gospel of Jesus Christ provides the light we need to guide our lives.
But that doesn’t mean life is always easy, or that there aren’t really tough times. Sometimes the blessings you hope for don’t come—or they don’t come when you expect. Sometimes you get teased or even bullied because you’re a member of the Church. And sometimes you just aren’t sure where to go to find the answers you seek.
The following youth from the Dominican Republic all face problems like these. But they each found a way to find heavenly strength and peace in the way they most needed it.
On the surface, life for Axel V., 18, seems pretty perfect. “My whole family are members of the Church,” he says. “We like to do a lot of things together, like play baseball and serve. It is a marvelous thing. I am so thankful to have been born in the gospel.”
But when you look a little deeper, Axel says, “We all have difficult times. My parents are converts, but there was a time when my dad wasn’t active in the Church. I told him that I wanted him to come back, but he didn’t.
“Then back in 2013, my dad attended Primary where my sister was conducting. It was very inspiring, and because of those testimonies of those children, my dad came back to the Church.”
Even though they’ve been active ever since, “We have not been sealed yet as a family.” That’s hard for Axel, because, as he says, “The family is essential to the plan that the Savior has for each one of us. My parents made a goal for us to attend the temple as a family to be sealed for this life and the eternities. We would be very blessed to attend the temple together.”
For Anabel R., 18, the toughest challenges have come from teachers and peers at school. She says, “I was the only member of the Church in my class. I had a teacher who would teach something about religion, and then say, ‘Let’s ask Anabel what she thinks about this,’ trying to make me look bad in front of my friends. And whenever I would say something, she would say, ‘You’re just getting confused.’ Once when the teacher tried to make me look bad in front of the other kids, they laughed at me.
“Later, when my classmates saw me out with the missionaries in the street, dressed like them, they said, ‘Here comes the Saint. She believes in Mormon; she’s the Mormon.’ Many times they would do things to offend me.”
Patricia M., 18, had a couple of challenges. For one, like Axel, she’s not sealed to her parents.
“My mom and stepfather are sealed in the temple. And my sister is sealed to them because she was born in the covenant. But I am not sealed to them. I have my dad and my stepfather, and I don’t know what to do, if I should be sealed to them because he’s not my birth dad. It’s very difficult for me.”
Patricia also has struggled with finding an answer to a very significant question: whether or not to serve a mission. She knew that serving a mission was not an obligation for women in the Church. But she also wasn’t sure what was the right thing for her.
“It’s difficult to explain, but it’s hard to decide to leave and serve when my dad is not a member of the Church.”
Peace and answers may feel difficult to find, but you can find it if you look in faith. And you’ll find it in a way that’s unique to you.
Axel finds peace by thinking about what the Prophet Joseph Smith did. “Joseph Smith had the will to ask Heavenly Father what church is true and which one he should join. When he prayed in the grove, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared unto him.
“He translated the Book of Mormon, and the Lord inspired him to establish the Church. Thanks to his example, we can press forward in life. Because if a young man only 14 years old can do that, so can we. Each of us members of the Church should be grateful for Joseph Smith because we can change our lives due to his example and love.”
Anabel found it hard to be so mistreated by her classmates. But she also found that as she responded with forgiveness—the way the Lord taught—she found peace.
“The Lord commanded us, ‘of you it is required to forgive all men’” (Doctrine and Covenants 64:10.) “He wants us to love others. He taught me not to be angry at them for treating me that way.
“The truth is, many times we hold onto resentment in our hearts. But I’ve realized that when we decide not to forgive someone, we are not happy. The Savior Jesus Christ suffered many things and even as the Son of God said to forgive them because they don’t know what they do. Truthfully, I don’t resent them because they really don’t know what they are doing, just like the Savior said. And as I’ve turned to Heavenly Father in prayer, He answers. He is listening.”
Patricia found comfort and answers by gathering with other youth in places where she’d feel the Spirit. “I came to a multistake youth conference this summer seeking answers. And I decided to attend a class on preaching the gospel. As I began to teach my companions, it was like I could see myself teaching other people and being able to share the gospel.
“And I really felt like I should go on a mission. That I should do it. I had been praying and praying about this. And in my heart I felt a feeling of happiness when I thought about serving a mission. I feel so happy in the gospel, and so grateful for Heavenly Father. How is it I can’t dedicate a year and a half of my life? And how can I not share the gospel and help others come to the gospel of Jesus Christ?
“I never thought I would serve a mission. I am very happy here. I find peace here. I have good friends, my family. Even though we aren’t sealed. But my question was answered. And I’m going to serve a mission.”
The gospel of Jesus Christ provides the light, the answers, and the hope we all need through difficult times. As Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught, through the grace of Jesus Christ we find “the comfort, peace, and promise that we can continue forward with faith and confidence in the Lord even when things do not go as we hope, expect, or perhaps deserve.”1
That is true no matter your personal situation. If you feel down, there is comfort. If you feel persecuted, there is peace. If you have questions, there are answers. God will be with you. Have faith, and trust in God, and He will be with you.