How can I feel less nervous about leaving home to serve a mission or go to college?
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“If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30). One of the best things you can do to prepare to leave home is … to leave home. Go on an organized weeklong camp or some other extended activity that takes you away from home and parents. These are often safe places to learn skills of independence and to gain confidence in your ability to cope with a different environment on your own.
Start doing things for yourself—like laundry, cooking, cleaning, and shopping. Talk to your parents about ways you can do this. Then you’ll be more used to it when the time comes to leave home.
Look for a job. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, strenuous, or even formal. Any sort of job that helps you learn responsibility and hard work will give you greater confidence about moving on to a mission, college, or other situation.
Talk to your parents and Church leaders. They want to help you prepare. Listen to their advice. And pray for help. Heavenly Father will listen to you. Through the Holy Ghost, He can help you feel at peace.
How can we explain things in the Book of Mormon that I’ve heard didn’t exist in ancient America?
Some scholars have, in fact, put forward many plausible explanations for the things in the Book of Mormon that may seem inconsistent with what we know about the ancient New World (see, for instance, fairmormon.org or bookofmormoncentral.org). But the best answer to this question is simply to be patient.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught, “Don’t suppose … that a lack of evidence about something today means that evidence doesn’t exist or that it will not be forthcoming in the future.” He pointed out that research eventually showed that certain supposed “errors” in the Book of Mormon actually weren’t errors (Laban’s “steel” sword, for example). Then he said, “Where answers are incomplete or lacking altogether, patient study and patient waiting for new information and discoveries to unfold will often be rewarded with understanding” (“The Prophet Joseph Smith,” BYU–Idaho devotional address, Sept. 24, 2013, byui.edu/devotionals).