I joined the Church when I was 16 years old. My parents gave me permission, but they did not join with me. On the day of my baptism, my mother told me I could still “get out of it” if I wanted to. But I did not want to get out of it; I wanted to get into it and start my new life. I knew the gospel was true.
Not having my family at church with me, I often felt lonely on Sundays. But it helped when people from the ward would take me to church and sit by me. It also helped to have a calling. When I was called to teach the three-year-olds, I felt much more a part of my ward family.
I didn’t want my baptism to affect my family’s unity. Still, things at home were not always as I wished them to be. My family would do heavy work on Sunday and chide me for not participating. They told me I was lazy. I said I was trying to honor the Sabbath. My family liked to eat out on Sunday, and now I would not go. They said I was tearing apart our family, but I was just trying to live the commandments.
What kept me going was the Spirit of the Lord. I really felt it in my life. I felt it when I bore my testimony, when I read my scriptures, and when I prayed. These were all things I learned to do from my teachers at church. I listened very hard and tried to learn the things that would improve my life.
But I often felt out of place at church because I was learning so many new things. I bought some new long skirts to replace my short ones. When I wore them to church, I found out they were still too short to meet Church standards. I didn’t understand what my friends meant when they used Church-related abbreviations. I was too nervous and shy to ask them the meanings of things.
What helped was the teens befriending me and taking time to include me. They seemed to have a natural way of caring for new members. Another thing that helped was visualizing my family in the next life. I never wanted them to be disappointed in me for not living the gospel when I knew it to be true. Even though times were difficult when I was a teenager, I tried to think of the future and my responsibility to my family. If I did not live the gospel, how would my family ever have a chance of accepting it?
Now I am older and married and have teenagers of my own. They are strong in the Church and do not have problems knowing things about the Church that I had to learn from experience. They fit in well and serve in the presidencies in their classes. When I was a teenager I was trying to be a good example for my mom and dad. Unfortunately, they never did join the Church. But I did not realize then that doing what was right was crucial to teenagers I would meet later in my life, who became dearer to me than life itself—my own children.
What you choose today will affect the people who are in your life now. But there are also some special people in your future who are hoping you will do what is right. Their futures may depend on your choosing what is right today. No matter how awkward others may make you feel for making right choices, in the end it will all be worth it.