INSTANT MESSAGES is a new section that features personal experiences, favorite hymns and scriptures, and other uplifting thoughts. If you have a personal experience that has strengthened your testimony and you’d like us to consider it for Instant Messages, please send it to

New Era
Instant Messages
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Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

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Talking to Dad

My dad is not a member of the Church. I love spending time with him, but it was hard to keep the Sabbath day holy when I was with him. I never wanted to hurt his feelings by not going to a movie or shopping with him on Sundays, so for a while I ignored the matter.

When I got a little older, I realized that what I was doing wasn’t right. I finally sat down and told my dad how I felt. Surprisingly, he didn’t mind. He was understanding enough to help me with the problem.

Talking to someone about your beliefs isn’t always easy, but it isn’t as scary as it seems. Let people know how you feel. For me, it worked out in the end.

[illustration] Illustrated by Keith Larson

Stephanie Schofield is a member of the Hobble Creek Seventh Ward, Springville Utah Hobble Creek Stake.

Keeping the Faith

When it comes to challenges in the gospel, I don’t usually have the support of my family. I’m the only active Church member in my family, besides my sister who is away at college. This sometimes feels like an enormous burden on my shoulders. I know that my family is watching me closely, and my mistakes could hurt more than just me.

Sometimes I become frustrated watching bad things happen in my family when I know that the gospel could help. I used to try to force the gospel on my family. I would ask my mom, “If you really loved me, wouldn’t you want to be sealed to me forever?”

Although life with my family has been challenging it has also been rewarding. I’m gaining a stronger testimony of the blessings and happiness that come from the gospel. I’ve stopped trying to force or scare my family into going to church, and I’m trying to lead with love rather than with fear. Whenever my little sister comes to church, it fills my soul with joy. I know a seed of faith has been planted, and being a good example to her has become my greatest blessing.

[photo] Photograph by Matthew Reier

Jordi Stallings is a member of the Murtaugh First Ward, Kimberly Idaho Stake.

No Challenge Too Great

In elementary school I was overweight. I remember stepping onto the scale every morning, praying that I had lost just one pound. Sometimes I came home in tears because of my schoolmates’ cutting remarks.

My older brother and sister, David and Shannon, also had their challenges. When David was one year old, he was severely burned. Scars covered his hands, arms, stomach, and legs. Shannon had a walking disability and was born with a slower mental capacity that often made her act younger than she was. Almost daily children at school made fun of them.

Despite their trials, my brother and sister looked to Christ in everything they did. Both of them served honorable missions. Their humility, constant faith, and perseverance provided wonderful examples. They are everything I want to become.

In this life we may be criticized and persecuted. That’s part of why we came here—to rise above the persecution and become stronger because of it. David, Shannon, and I are better people today for having been faithful in difficult experiences. I often say that everything given to us in life can be either a blessing or a curse. The strength of one’s heart determines which it is.

Seth Adam Smith is a member of the Farmington 15th Ward, Farmington Utah North Stake.

Is It True?

When I was 12 I started to question everything about the gospel. For a couple of years I struggled with my testimony. I never seemed to feel the Spirit. Many times in my personal prayers I begged my Father in Heaven in tears to let me feel the Spirit and know the Church was true. I was often disappointed.

Despite struggling, I got more involved with the scriptures and found one verse in the book of Ether that really helped me: “But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true” (Ether 4:11).

Because of this scripture I began to trust the Lord and believe the gospel was true, trusting that He would confirm His words.

I don’t remember exactly when I first started to feel the Spirit. Instead I gradually became aware that I had felt the Spirit many times throughout my life and simply hadn’t recognized it.

I testify that if you sincerely seek to feel the Spirit, you will. I know that prayer is so very real and that every sincere prayer is answered. Above all, I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that He knows and loves me and each one of us personally.

[illustration] Illustrated by Keith Larson

Crystal Jones is a member of the Alma Ninth Ward, Chandler Arizona Alma Stake.