Climbing Back Up
When I was 16, my friend Shruti and I were adventure-hunting on a trail when we found a breathtaking waterfall that fell 80 feet next to a small beach. We were on a cliff toward the top of the waterfall and decided we would climb down the cliff so we could make it to the beach below and go exploring.
There was a fence that stood between us and the path down the cliff with a sign that said: “Warning: No Trespassing.” But we were in search of adventure and wouldn’t let a sign stand in our way.
We climbed over the fence and slowly started down the cliff. The descent was exhilarating. When we finally got to the bottom of the waterfall, we were excited.
However, it didn’t take us long to figure out what we had done. We were at the bottom of the cliff with the tide coming in. Climbing back up looked much more difficult than coming down had been. At any time the tide could come in and carry us out to sea.
When we were at the top of the cliff we had choices. We could have kept walking on the trail, we could have gone back to the car, and we could have simply enjoyed the view. But because we chose to ignore the warnings, now our only choices were to be washed out to sea or to climb back up the steep cliff.
Our decisions in life affect us the same way. When we choose the right, we have more choices and more freedom. But when we make choices contrary to the will of the Lord, our options become more and more limited until we are enslaved by our choices and lose our freedom.
Shruti and I did what we should all do when we’ve fallen into this trap. We knelt down and confessed to Heavenly Father that we had made a wrong choice and that we needed His help to fix it.
The climb back to the top of the cliff was slow and hard, but with the Lord’s help we made it. From this experience I learned that all of our choices have consequences, but Heavenly Father is willing to help us if we turn to Him.
Remembering the Prophet
When my sister was married in the Salt Lake Temple, I went to see the movie Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building nearby. I had seen this film before, but the Spirit had never come to me as strongly as it did then. It bore witness to me that Joseph Smith was called of God, that he translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God, and that through him Jesus Christ’s Church and the priesthood keys were restored to the earth. In that instant I knew without a doubt that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‑day Saints is the only true Church on this earth. Whenever I have had doubts of any kind, I remember this witness I have received, and I am strengthened so I can press forward and endure to the end.
In Times of Need
Three years ago, my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer, and after eight months she died. The years after her death were really hard, but looking back, I discovered that I am much stronger than I thought.
What makes the experience so amazing is that I know I could never have done this on my own. When I trusted Christ and put my faith in Him, He lifted me up to a higher place than I ever imagined possible.
He’s always been there, though I had my moments of doubt. But there were other moments—pure, sweet, quiet moments—when I felt Him there right beside me. It was like the light switch was flicked on and I realized His presence in my life. Those moments gave me the strength and courage to move on when the lights went off again. And as I trust in Him, those sweet moments happen more and more often.
I love Him. I know He is my Savior and Redeemer. I know that He is always there, and He will never desert me. In my times of need, and in my day-to-day life, He will always be near. I have only to trust in Him and try my best to keep His commandments. And, ultimately, it is through Christ’s Atonement that I can see Him, and my mom, once again.
Prayerful Personal Progress
When I changed schools, I became good friends with a girl who was not a member of the Church. But after being my friend for a couple of years, she started to feel jealous of the Church because I was always going to activities and didn’t have a lot of time to spend with her. The situation became worse and worse—even though I really wanted to be her friend.
One day while I was working on Personal Progress, I started to work on an experience that included praying regularly for two weeks. One of the things I decided to pray for was that my friend would respect me and understand that the Church was very important to me. Two weeks later, when the experience was completed, I kept praying for the same thing.
Later when I was reviewing my Personal Progress, I was reminded of my experience with prayer. As I thought more about it, I realized that Heavenly Father had answered my prayers about my friend. My friend had totally changed; she no longer thought about me the way she had, and she had started to think about the Church in a positive way.
I got very emotional because I now had a testimony of sincere prayer. I know my Father in Heaven changed my friend’s heart. I also know that He will help us and will work miracles if we do our part.
Frame by Scott Snow; photo illustration by Matthew Reier
Undeserving of His Love
I was taking the sacrament one day when I suddenly felt the Lord’s love rest upon me, comforting and wonderful. I didn’t know why it came to me right then, but I thought it was the greatest feeling in the world. It was complete joy and love.
As I sat there, I started to think of how undeserving I was of His love, and I wondered why I was so blessed. I hadn’t done everything right, but still I was forgiven, time after time. I was blessed beyond measure, and I wondered how I could deserve such treatment.
In my life, I have been taught about Christ. He is perfect and deserved everything. Instead, he received the bitter cup. He went below all things and suffered so much. He did not deserve it, but He accepted it. He suffered so I, who felt so undeserving, could receive countless blessings, and so I could return to live with God. I receive so many blessings through and because of Christ. His love is so strong He was willing to suffer for me and for everyone. I am grateful for Him and his sacrifice.
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Illustration by Gregg Thorkelsen; Joseph Smith by David Lindsley