I have had the gospel in my home from birth, and thus my parents have always taken care to teach me good principles. In spite of that, I changed a lot during my junior high school years. I decided to take the way that seemed more fun and apparently easier too. I let myself be guided by my friends’ counsel to dress inappropriately, to go to undesirable parties, and even to use bad language once in a while.
At the same time, I started to have problems with my parents and I stopped reading the scriptures. Being popular was most important to me, and going to parties and dressing like my friends seemed good. But in reality I felt empty inside and more alone than ever. I had no peace of mind because I always had something to hide from my parents for fear of being scolded. Something always told me that I was doing wrong, but I still chose to follow my friends and be popular. It was not until the last part of ninth grade that I started feeling that everything that was said in church was especially prepared for me. During a sacrament meeting, the talks that were given were so much what I needed that I turned to my mother and asked her, “Mom, what have you told them about me?” She said that she hadn’t said anything to the speakers about me. It was then that I decided to change, and it was then that my friends turned their backs on me. I felt really bad. But I accepted that my parents had always been right. I came to realize that they were my only true friends.
It was not easy to make the change. I needed to be humble to recognize that I had been wrong. I really wanted to be different, so I began to work with Personal Progress. I started to feel better about myself little by little, experience by experience. Sometimes it was very hard to complete the value experiences, such as reading the scriptures. But even when I would just make the effort, I would feel better.
The first time I finished reading the Book of Mormon, I could feel that everything my parents had taught me about the Church was true, and I could draw nearer to Christ. When I began working on the Laurel projects, I started feeling satisfied with myself, and I began to feel the peace that I had been looking for through service to others in my Good Works projects.
I now have my medallion, and I think it was worth the effort. To me, it is more than a necklace. It really means my feeling of love to my Heavenly Father. It represents my personal worthiness, and it motivates me to go on doing what Christ wants me to do.
I am so grateful for the opportunity we have been given to choose between right and wrong, and I am also grateful for the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. The joy I now feel when I feel the love of Christ through my service to others and the knowledge of my worth has no comparison with my feelings of being popular in school. By now probably nobody in my junior high school remembers me, but I feel happy to know that Christ knows me and knows of my love for Him.
I know we can overcome the challenges that come our way because we are daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us, and He will not let us be tempted more than we can resist. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, just like President Hinckley is a prophet. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.