Monday, April 3, 2017

Endure to the end

"You will have those who take issue with your determination to follow the will of the Lord.  We see it all around us as attacks on religious freedom increase.  Stay the course, brothers and sisters.  Hold fast to the Lord's commandments - even in the face of challenges from unbelievers."
- Elder Ronald A. Rasband

When I was in high school, I was one of 9 members of the church.  We had over a 1,000 students so needless to say, I was REALLY a minority.  Everyone knew who was a Mormon.  Everyone also seemed to know the basics about what Mormons "COULDN'T" do.  I am not sure why, but one boy in particular seemed to single me out and harass me about my religion.  He was an atheist, which is someone who does not believe in a God.  He believed in science and that we were part of evolution from the "Big Bang".  He was on the track team with me and so I had the opportunity of seeing him every day after school.  He continually questioned me with things like, "How can you believe in a God?  Have you seen Him?  How can you be such a fool to believe in a story a 14 year old boy made up?  How can you believe that Joe Smith actually found gold plates?  You are a smart person, it surprises me how dumb you can be.  You really are ignorant."  I found myself constantly having to defend my religion.  It was hard because I was the only LDS person on the team and everyone around would listen to my answers.  It was very stressful and I found it being rather embarrassing.  Many kids on the team would say things like, "I didn’t know that you believed in that!"  After a few weeks of this constant harassment and persecution, my friends and acquaintances from the team started defending me without me asking.  They started defending my faith and my right to choose to believe how I wanted.  I soon found that I had many people on my side, unlike I thought in the beginning.  The boy never fully left me alone and always hated me throughout high school.  Enduring this harassment was difficult and exhausting.  This experience strengthened my foundation to my testimony.  The more I had to defend what I believed, the firmer my conviction in the truthfulness of our church became.  "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." - Matthew 10:22  I know that if we can endure the hardships that face us because of what we believe, we will not be able to count the blessings that we receive.  

- Love, Sister Landers

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