Instant Messages

By Adam M. Shorter


Tuning In to Happiness

When I turned 13, I became infatuated with the sound of metal music. The louder the singers and guitars were, the more I loved it. It wasn’t the lyrics I liked; it was the sound that had me hooked.

Soon, I was buying clothes and products so I could mimic my favorite rock star guitarist. It seemed like my only source of happiness came from the most recent CD I bought.

When I was 17, I had the chance to see one of my favorite bands. I fought to get to the front row. Here came the moment I had dreamed of. I stood less than 10 feet away from my guitar hero. These guys played an awesome set, and I had so much fun. When they finished, they packed their instruments and walked offstage.

After that, I thought, “That was so awesome! But now what? I’m not as happy as I was when that band was jamming up on stage. Where will I go or what will I do to get my happiness back?”

A month later, I got the chance to go to Especially for Youth (EFY). The happiness I felt there was stronger than anything I had ever felt before, and it didn’t pack up and walk off the stage.

At EFY I asked the Lord if what I was taught was the happiness I had been searching for. The Spirit bore witness to me, “It’s true.” And I felt an embrace from Heavenly Father saying, “Welcome back, my son.”

Spotlights go dim, applause dies, musicians stop touring, but the love of God and the happiness of the message of the Restoration are eternal!

Blessed to Perform

Once when I was chosen to be in a play, I had one of the lead roles. I was very excited because it was my first chance to be a lead. One day before one of our performances, I got extremely sick to the point I couldn’t even stand. I managed to go with my mother to see my director, and my mom explained my situation to her. The director told my mother to take me home with my costume and makeup and, if I felt better, to bring me back dressed and ready to go. Meanwhile, the director would try to find a replacement.

After I got home, I asked my father to give me a priesthood blessing. Even though I didn’t feel better immediately, I did 20 minutes later after a good nap, and I was able to go on and perform. After that experience I always ask my dad for a blessing when I need help, and through the years my testimony of priesthood blessings has become stronger.

[photo] Photography by Comstock

Lead Thou Me On

My favorite hymn is “Lead, Kindly Light” (Hymns, no. 97). I love the way this hymn sounds. One Sunday, when I was 14, I was playing the piano. I turned to this hymn and began to play and sing. It was then that I felt a great feeling of hope and peace. I later found out that this hymn was one of my grandfather’s favorites. So now when I play this song I feel my grandpa with me even though he is gone. My favorite line is, “The night is dark, and I am far from home; Lead thou me on!” That line just makes me glad for the opportunity to pray.

One-on-One Testimony

For many years I’ve known a girl who has become a very good friend of mine. She isn’t a member of the Church, but she respects it and what it stands for. We had never talked much about religion. I assumed that she believed what she wanted to believe and wouldn’t change. However, I had prayed for a long time that the opportunity to teach her would come.

My prayer was answered at a sleepover for my 16th birthday. When most of the other girls had fallen asleep, my friend and I moved to an adjacent room so we wouldn’t wake them, since we planned on staying up a little longer talking. Eventually our discussion turned to who we are, what we are doing here on earth, and where we are going after this life. My friend was curious to know what our religion says about these questions. I was a little apprehensive, so I started out slowly telling her a basic version of the plan of salvation.

As I talked, I started shaking. I couldn’t help it. I felt the Spirit so strongly that I paused often to catch my breath. She seemed to sense something different and asked me what was wrong. I told her that this plan made me feel so happy inside. I then bore my testimony to her, and we were silent. All I could think about was how it felt to truly know for myself the truthfulness of the gospel. I had never borne my testimony like that before, and I will never forget the experience.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Sam Lawlor