24947_000_006New Era and readers’ responses are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.
“Before I gained my testimony, my friends and I made fun of the Church. How can I show them I was wrong?”
Let your friends know as soon as possible that you’ve had a change of heart.
Seek out those whose testimonies you might have hurt. Apologize and tell them how much the Church has come to mean to you.
Be the best example you can be.
Share your happiness with others by telling them how the Church has helped you.
A well-known young man was once in a similar situation. That young man was Alma the Younger. Though he had spent years leading astray other members, once he realized the Church was true, he spent the rest of his life living the gospel and sharing it with others (see Mosiah 27:32).
In fact, the first thing he did when he realized his situation was to tell everyone about his change of heart. He even went looking for those he might have hurt, “striving to repair all the injuries which [he] had done to the church” (Mosiah 27:35).
Like Alma did, it’s probably a good idea to approach your friends right away to tell them how you feel about the Church. Not only is it the right thing to do to make up for possibly hurting others’ testimonies, but also if your friends start making fun of the Church again and you haven’t told them how you feel yet, you will have to work up the courage on the spot to tell them to stop.
Once you’ve told them you know the Church is true, you have to show them. The sons of Mosiah, who also had a change of heart after persecuting the Church with Alma, spent years among the Lamanites under this command from the Lord: “Ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls” (Alma 17:11). Your example will go a long way in showing your friends that you really do love the Savior and His Church.
It might not be easy to tell your friends you were wrong. Alma was persecuted for telling everyone about how he had come to feel the Savior’s love. But he wasn’t telling people just because it was the right thing to do; he did it because the gospel brought him joy, and he wanted others to “taste of the exceeding joy of which [he] did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost” (Alma 36:24). That’s why we should share the gospel, too.
And just as He helped Alma, the Lord will support you “under trials and troubles of every kind” (Alma 36:27) when you do your best to share His love.
I would ask my friends if I could talk to them, one-on-one if possible. I would remind them how we poked fun at the Church, then tell them how I found out it is true, how the gospel has helped me, and how it can help them. Invite them to a Church activity or give them a For the Strength of Youth pamphlet so they know what you stand for. Rena Klegin, 16, Plattsmouth Ward, Council Bluffs Iowa Stake
When we gain a testimony we experience a change of heart. The best way to show that to our friends is by being a good example. If we follow President Hinckley’s counsel on how we should be, our friends will see how much the Church has blessed our lives and made us happy. Vanessa and Stephanie Carr, 17, Weiser First Ward, Weiser Idaho Stake
Invite your friends to go to church with you. Tell them that you really believe in the Church. If they’re truly your friends, they’ll understand and respect you for your choices. Bear your testimony. If they see how serious you are, they might end up with a testimony of their own. Don’t be afraid to ask the Lord for help. Sterling Whipple, 16, Delta Third Ward, Delta Utah Stake
Whenever someone starts making fun of the Church, stick up for it. Tell your friends about the testimony you have gained. Be an example. The power of being a good example is the best thing we have. Kimberly Belnap, 15, Century Ward, Pocatello Idaho East Stake
We can always find answers in the scriptures. Alma the Younger and Saul in the New Testament had similar problems. They fixed them by apologizing and repenting when they realized what they had done was wrong. They not only strengthened their testimonies, they helped others come into the Church. Jessica Nine, 13, Plano Third Ward, Plano Texas Stake
Even though it may be hard, tell your friends you now know the Church is true. Then set the example by living by the Church’s teachings. Elder Tanner Leavitt, 20, Washington Seattle Mission
Tell your friends you were wrong and that you’re very sorry you made fun of the Church. It may be hard, but it’s worth it. Tell them how much the gospel means to you now. It’s the right thing to do. Elisabeth Paulsen, 16, Logan Ninth Ward, Logan Utah Cache Stake
Explain to your friends that you didn’t understand what you were doing before, and apologize for your bad example. Bear them your testimony that you believe the Church is true. Chelsea Johnson, 16, Mingus Ward, Cottonwood Arizona Stake