I used to attend a school where it was hard to be a Latter-day Saint. The LDS students were a minority, and not many of the other students shared our standards. It seemed especially frustrating for me because my parents divorced during my first year of high school.
My family was divided. We fought all the time. My parents couldn’t say anything kind about each other, and they discouraged me from attending church. Our home was full of conflict.
During that time, life was pretty confusing for me. I guess that’s when I really discovered the scriptures. My family wasn’t supportive of my scripture reading. Even my mother used to tell me it was a waste of time. But in the Book of Mormon I found someone else who had to deal with family problems—and reading of his experiences gave me strength to deal with my own.
Nephi’s father, Lehi, often had to counsel Nephi’s older brothers, Laman and Lemuel, “because of [their] stiffneckedness … ; for behold they did murmur in many things against their father” (1 Ne. 2:11).
“And it came to pass that Laman was angry with me, and also with my father,” wrote Nephi; “and also was Lemuel, for he hearkened unto the words of Laman. Wherefore Laman and Lemuel did speak many hard words unto us, their younger brothers, and they did smite us even with a rod” (1 Ne. 3:28).
I tried to set a good example for my family. I went to church, attended Mutual, and prayed regularly. I even invited my mom to get active in the Church again.
Nephi also tried to set a good example and encouraged his brothers to return to the Lord: “And now I, Nephi, … spake unto them, saying, … Behold ye are mine elder brethren, and how is it that ye are so hard in your hearts, and so blind in your minds, that ye have need that I, your younger brother, should speak unto you, yea, and set an example for you?
“How is it that ye have not hearkened unto the word of the Lord?” (1 Ne. 7:8–9).
Sometimes, in private, I cried. Sometimes I prayed for my family. Always I felt lonely.
Again, I knew Nephi had experienced similar feelings: “Behold, Laman and Lemuel would not hearken unto my words; and being grieved because of the hardness of their hearts I cried unto the Lord for them” (1 Ne. 2:18).
When I was sad, I knew Nephi had known sadness. When I was discouraged, I knew Nephi had known discouragement. When I was lonely, I knew Nephi had known loneliness.
No, my story doesn’t have a nice, neat ending. I wish I could say we all lived “happily ever after,” but that hasn’t happened yet. My home is still unhappy. But Heavenly Father has given me the scriptures, and I know He understands exactly what it is like for me at home. Although the conflict hasn’t stopped, at least I have found comfort and peace and ways to cope.
Nephi said: “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Ne. 3:7).
Just as Nephi knew the Lord would help him accomplish anything he was commanded to do, I know Heavenly Father will continue to strengthen and support me as I struggle to deal with a troubled earthly home. The scriptures are my lifeline to my heavenly home.