“Firm Foundations,” New Era, Jan. 2020, 46–47.
Going to high school for the first time was so intimidating. No one else in my school was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a lot of my classmates’ standards were different from mine. I wanted to make friends without having to lower my own standards, but that can be hard when you’re living in a country where it’s uncommon to have faith.
I stood out in my school. I didn’t drink alcohol or coffee and didn’t join the smokers during lunch breaks. I was bullied by a lot of my classmates. Sometimes my personal items like my phone or bike keys would be stolen and thrown in the trash or hidden somewhere in the school. I didn’t know what to do. I felt beaten, broken, and worthless.
But things began to change when I decided I would always pray on my knees before going to sleep and pour my heart out to Heavenly Father. I did this for many, many nights. The answer to my prayer didn’t come immediately, but over time I became stronger mentally.
The bullying never really stopped, but it didn’t affect me the same way as before. I felt Heavenly Father’s love for me and knew that He was listening to my prayers. I could feel His arms around me, protecting me.
Rosa-Lynn R., Netherlands
I joined the Church when I was 16. Soon after, I became seriously ill and missed a month of school.
While I was sick, I decided to catch up on school assignments and read my history textbook. I was so excited when I saw there was a whole chapter on the Latter-day Saint contribution to the westward expansion of the United States!
But as I read, my heart sank. The history of my new church was twisted and ugly according to the textbook. How was I ever going to be tested on these falsehoods?
I finally went back to school, even though I still felt weak. Towards the end of my history class, my teacher suddenly stopped and asked, “Is anyone in this class a Mormon?”
The world seemed to stop. My heart pounded. I raised my hand and proclaimed to the entire class that I was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“So, Wendy, have you read the chapter about the Mormons?” the teacher asked. I told him I had. “Is it accurate?” I said it was not. “We’re not going to discuss this chapter in class,” he said. “Every Mormon student I’ve ever had has said the textbook is incorrect.” He then suggested that if anyone wanted to know the true history of the Church, they could ask me!
Although I may have been weak physically, with the support and guidance of the Holy Ghost, I was stronger than I ever imagined I could be.
Wendy Z., California, USA
Recently I turned 16 and was ordained a priest by my grandpa. A few days later, I went to the temple with my brother and the other youth in our ward to help officiate in baptisms for the dead.
Every experience that I have had at the temple has been spiritual, but I felt like this time was different. As soon as I walked onto the temple grounds, I could feel my heart beat a little faster in anticipation of this new experience of being able to perform baptisms.
I felt like any worries that I had were left outside the temple doors. I really felt peace inside the temple. I felt clean and pure. The Spirit was incredibly strong the entire time. I knew my testimony was growing and I was coming closer to Jesus Christ. When I baptized my brother, I knew that both of our testimonies were being strengthened.
It makes me happy to know that the Lord has trusted us as youth to assist those who have passed on in preparing to enter the kingdom of God.
Kiefer C., Utah, USA