I grew up with friends who were members of the Church, and I became excited to be baptized and become a member myself. When I moved across the country for college, I began taking lessons from the missionaries. Unfortunately, pressure from my new peers made it difficult to follow the standards of the gospel. My fellow freshmen spent a lot of time at parties drinking alcohol. I had never tried alcohol before, but my new friends were constantly pressuring me to drink it.
I knew the gospel was true, but the temptation from my peers was difficult to resist.
I began to pray to Heavenly Father for the strength to make the right decision. I hadn’t lowered my standards yet, but I was afraid I wouldn’t have the strength to turn down the alcohol the next time it was offered. I missed my friends who shared the same values.
One Saturday night I went to a party with the people in my dorm. Immediately all of my friends were drinking and encouraging me to try my first taste of alcohol.
I was tempted. I took the cup of beer that was handed to me. I pulled it toward my mouth, uncomfortable but pleased to have the attention of my friends. Then Nick, a boy notorious for drinking, walked up to our circle.
“You didn’t drink that, did you?” he asked.
“Not yet,” I replied.
“If you do,” Nick said, “you will regret it every day for the rest of your life.”
I was shocked. I knew he was right. I didn’t want to drink. I wanted to join the Church. I handed the cup back and left the party, grateful that I hadn’t made a bad decision.
The next morning I went to church, found the missionaries, and set a date for my baptism. From that day on I stayed away from parties with alcohol. I made new friends at church who shared my values and standards. I was still friends with the people in my dorm, but I made my standards clear. When they learned how important my values were to me, they respected them and stopped pressuring me. They noticed and respected it when I left the room when they watched inappropriate movies or listened to inappropriate music.
My testimony was strengthened by this experience, and I will strive to never lower my standards because of peer pressure. I also know that the best way to face difficult decisions is to know your standards and hold firmly to them from the start.
I know that Heavenly Father answered my prayers for strength to resist temptation. I am grateful that the Holy Ghost encouraged me to make the right decision. I know that the standards of the Church are there to protect us, and I am grateful that choosing to follow them helped me choose to join the Church.