How do I “stand in holy places” when there’s so much unholiness around me, like at school?
To prepare us for difficult times, the Lord commands us to “stand in holy places” (D&C 45:32; see also D&C 87:8). To do that, we need to live worthily and have the Holy Ghost with us. The Spirit will help us overcome temptation and negative influences. Here are some ways to invite the Spirit into your life:
- Pray. Begin your day with prayer, and especially pray during the day when you have to be around unholy influences at school or elsewhere.
- Attend seminary and study the scriptures daily. Studying the doctrines taught in the scriptures will help you be filled with light and truth—and “light and truth forsake that evil one” (D&C 93:37).
- Take the sacrament each week. As you meaningfully renew your covenant to live the gospel, you receive the Lord’s promise to have His Spirit with you.
- Live the standards in For the Strength of Youth. These standards will help you stand for holiness.
- Stay close to your parents. Teens who have good relationships with their parents are often much stronger in difficult situations.
These suggestions will strengthen you spiritually. They will help you when you find yourself in an unholy situation that is unavoidable, like at school. But it’s best if you can avoid unholy situations whenever possible.
Keep an Attitude of Reverence
I have learned that you can make the places around you holy, because who we are is more important than where we are. There is a lot of temptation at school, but what is truly important is having an attitude of reverence toward Heavenly Father and striving to take upon you the name of Christ. In this way, you will be able to make your school a holy place for you because you will remember Heavenly Father and our Savior. —Elder Ojeda, age 21, Colombia Bogotá North Mission
“We choose where we will be. God has given us our agency. He will not take it from us, and if I do that which is wrong and get into the devil’s territory, I do it because I have the will and power to do it. I cannot blame anybody else, and if I determine to keep the commandments of God and live as I ought to live and stay on the Lord’s side of the line I do it because I ought to do it, and I will receive my blessing for it. It will not be the result of what somebody else may do.” — President George Albert Smith (1870–1951), Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith (2011), 198.
Choose the Good, Avoid the Bad
I try to avoid areas in my school where I know other people usually do wrong things. I also carefully choose who I sit with in class or during lunch because they affect how I think and act. But no matter how careful we are, we occasionally see or hear unholiness. When this happens to me, I quickly look away and sing a hymn in my head to clear my mind. Also, reading scriptures and talking to uplifting friends have helped me. We can’t always choose our surroundings, but we can choose how we react to them. —Eliza A., age 14, Utah, USA
Stand Up for Your Faith
Make the area around you holy. Surround yourself with friends who meet the recommendations in For the Strength of Youth. Let others know of your standards and ask them to stop inappropriate conversation or turn off bad music when you are around. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your faith. —Thomas S., age 15, Georgia, USA
Be Strong and Brave
We must be strong and brave. We must choose the right. Sometimes it’s very hard, but if we will do that, we will be happy. When people ask us to drink or smoke with them, we need to be brave and say no. We can explain to them that we want to choose the right, so we don’t do those things. —Anastasia N., age 20, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine
Seek the Spirit
We encounter people at school who don’t share our standards. Yet with the Holy Ghost guiding our way, we will be able to make the right choices and set a good example for them. It is important for us to always “stand in holy places” in order to feel the love of Heavenly Father. One way to do that is to seek for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. When we choose to be in the atmosphere of God’s love, there will be great joy in our hearts, knowing that Heavenly Father is pleased with our actions. —Genzen N., age 18, Zamboanga, Philippines
A few years ago, I was one of a few Church members in my grade. People thought I was weird because I was dedicated to living all of the standards of the Church. So one day I decided that I could compromise my standards a little bit. When I did, I noticed that I had more attention from others. But after just a few weeks, I felt guilty and turned to the Lord for repentance. He did help me, and I had to make a lot of sacrifices, but it was worth it! I truly got to see the blessings of living the gospel at school. I did lose friends and attention, but I gained respect and happiness. —Sutton K., age 15, Texas, USA
Think about the Temple
The holiest place that exists upon the earth is the temple. Thinking about it will help you do what is right, no matter what circumstance you may find yourself in. You can also put up a photo of the temple where you can see it; this will help you feel better and have the strength to not give heed to the unholiness that exists at school. —Angel T., age 18, Ecuador
For more suggestions on how to stand in holy places, you could review these talks from the April 2013 general conference: Dallin H. Oaks, “Followers of Christ,” and Robert D. Hales, “Stand Strong in Holy Places.”
This article originally appeared in the August 2013 Liahona.