“I’ve come back to church and tried to make a fresh start in life after making some mistakes, but I’m afraid of falling again. How can I overcome this fear?”
To overcome your fear of falling away, “press forward” in the strait and narrow path.
Obey the word of God, found in the scriptures and teachings of latter-day prophets.
Worship God, seek to feel His love, and repent so the Savior can strengthen you.
Disregard people who make fun of you for trying to do what’s right.
You’re not alone in this challenge. We all make mistakes, and we can all fall if we’re not careful. You can find some answers to your question in 1 Nephi 8, a description of Lehi’s vision. Here are a few things Lehi saw that can help you:
He saw people “pressing forward” on the strait and narrow path—that is, trying to be faithful. But some of them “wandered off and were lost” (v. 23). Some made it to the tree of life but then “were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost” (v. 28). Others succeeded; they “did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree” (v. 30). The fruit of the tree represents the love of God—the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Notice what they did to succeed. If you do these things, you can overcome your fear of falling away.
Press forward. Nephi explains: “Ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:20).
Hold fast to the iron rod. Nephi said the iron rod is “the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away” (1 Nephi 15:24).
Partake of the fruit of the tree. To partake of the fruit means to feel the love of God in your life. You can pray to feel that love, and you can repent, allowing the Atonement to bless your life.
Disregard those who make fun of you for doing what’s right. In Lehi’s dream, those who paid attention to the mocking people in the great and spacious building fell away. That building represents the pride and beliefs of the world. Because that building had no foundation, “it fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great” (1 Nephi 11:36). The pride of the world is temporary; doing what’s right will bless you forever.
Doing these four things will help you build on the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, “which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).
Three years ago I was away from the Church. My heart became sad because of my mistakes, and I decided to return to the Church. I was afraid of falling into error, so I decided to get on my knees and do what I had not done for a long time: pray to our Heavenly Father. I asked Him to help me leave the temptations so evil wouldn’t have place in my heart because it destroys my peace and saddens my soul. I put my trust in the Lord for Him to enlighten my way. Now I have peace in my heart. If you feel sad because of your sins and mistakes, read 2 Nephi 4:17–35. Elder John Sanchez, 21, Perú Piura Mission
We are tempted and we make mistakes daily even though we may be in the Church. But the important thing is that we sincerely repent for what we have done and constantly strive against temptation and, above all, be worthy and continually pray and ask our Heavenly Father for help, because He never forgets us. If we really want to change, He will help us because He loves us immensely. Denise E., 18, Rancagua, Chile
When you feel afraid, pray, fast, and especially search the scriptures. The word of the Lord is there, and the answers to our questions are there. Remember that the Lord does not give any commandments without preparing the way for us to accomplish them. And He loves us so much that He forgives us when we repent. Ana A., 16, Falcón, Venezuela
First, we must realize that Heavenly Father loves us even when we’ve fallen. The key is to get up and keep trying. Second, understand that discouragement is Satan’s tool to keep us from achieving the true happiness that can be found only in the gospel of Jesus Christ. One of the devil’s best tricks is to keep our attention focused on the sins or mistakes of the past and the fear of their reoccurrence in the future. This line of thinking only prohibits us from moving forward and bettering ourselves. Finally, here is a quote that I live by: “Don’t let the fear of striking out prevent you from playing the game.” We are children of our Heavenly Father, and with His help, we will succeed. Chad C., 20, Utah, USA
In your personal prayers, pour out your fears of falling away. Read the scriptures daily to gain knowledge of the gospel and to feel the Spirit. Attend every Church meeting, temple trip, and activity possible so you can feel the Spirit as much as possible. It would also be wise to seek counsel from your bishop and parents. Jaclyn B., 17, Kansas, USA
I know how you feel. I have come back to church, and I am now actively participating in all Church activities including missionary work. One of the lessons I’ve learned is to have strong faith in Jesus Christ. If we have faith in Him, it will help us be strong. I know that Jesus Christ is our only sure foundation, as Helaman 5:12 says. Cheenee L., 17, Bulacan, Philippines
Our Heavenly Father loves us and understands us. He knows we’re not perfect and are susceptible to falling. I know my Heavenly Father loves me and gives me strength to continue on through the scriptures, prayer, and fasting. When we fall, we must always get back up. Celeste S., 20, Oslo, Norway
“Can I try alcohol and tobacco at least once so I’ll know for myself what they’re really like? I’ll never do it again. What’s the harm if it’s only once?”
Send us your answer, along with your full name, birth date, ward and stake (or branch and district), and photograph (including your parent’s written permission to print the photo) to:
Please respond by July 15, 2007.