What AM I Doing Wrong?
I recently listened to the Face to Face with Elder Rasband and other youth leaders that was broadcast on January 20th 2016 on LDS.org. The Face to Face programs are live broadcasts with the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the youth of the church. There is a live audience and it is broadcast over the Internet to thousands of youth all over the world. The youth can ask questions of the leaders that are there with them. Most questions are submitted through Facebook and Twitter prior to the event and the leaders answer the questions live on the broadcast.
On this Face to Face meeting Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Sister Bonnie L. Ocarson, Young Women’s general president, and Brother Stephen W. Owen, Young Men’s general president were the leaders that answered the youth’s questions. The questions they were asked covered topics such as prayer, keeping the commandments, how to stand up for what you believe in today’s world, and how to help family members that are struggling with their faith. I was impressed with the love and encouragement that all three of the leaders when they responded to the questions. Their answers were inspiring and uplifting.
Two of the questions have caused me to wonder how I would have responded. One youth asked: “When I pray I don’t know if the answers I am getting are just my thoughts or if it really is the Lord’s and many times I don’t feel that he answers me at all. What am I doing wrong?” The other question was “When I go to church on Sunday I feel strongly that I want to do the right things and keep the commandments, but when I get to school and around others it is hard to keep those feelings. What is wrong with me?”
While I loved the answers that were given, I would have liked to have said: “There is nothing wrong with you” or “you are not doing anything wrong”. I think sometimes our youth feel that when answers to their prayers don’t come when they want them that they are not praying hard enough, with enough faith, or that they are doing something wrong. We need to remind them that they are doing the right things by continuing to pray. Don’t give up, keep praying until the answers come.
Everyone has a different experience when it comes to the spirit and how we receive answers to our prayers. Some may hear a voice or have the “burning in our bosom” experience, but most of us just feel right or confused when the answers come. We all have to learn to recognize the spirit when he speaks to us. I believe that when we do our answer can be one of three responses. 1-Yes, 2-No, and 3-No answer. If it is the first one, the Lord confirms our decision is correct and we can on with faith we are doing the right thing. In the second He is telling us no, our decision is not right and we need to study and ponder some more. The third response is the most difficult to recognize and understand; that is when we receive no answer.
When we receive no answer the Lord could be telling us one of three things; first it could mean that we are not asking the right question or we have not put enough study and pondering into it. The second reason is that He trusts us to make the right decision. It may not matter what we choose, but He knows that whatever we decide will be right for us. The Lord might also be saying you decide and then go forth in faith. If it is right, then the confirmation comes or if it is wrong then the confusion and stupor of thoughts come that tell us to stop and evaluate what we are doing.
Elder James B. Martino of the Seventy speaking receiving answers to our prayers gave this advice:
“These personal religious habits—obedience, scripture study, prayer, and fasting—strengthened the sons of Mosiah. The lack of these same personal religious habits was a major reason that Laman and Lemuel were left vulnerable to the temptation to murmur and doubt.
If you have been tempted to murmur, if you have had doubt that leads to unbelief, if trials seem more than you can bear, turn to Him. If you are one who has turned away or rationalized your behavior, turn to Him. Can you remember when He did “speak peace to your mind … ? What greater witness can you have than from God?”20 Ask yourself, “Am I as close to living like Christ now as I was before?” Please, turn to Him.” (“Turn to Him and Answers Will Come”, James B. Martino, General Conference, October 2015)
For the second youth that was having a hard time keeping the spirit during the week I would loved to have said: “There is nothing wrong with you, these experiences and feelings are normal and we all go through them.”
The purpose of this life is to be tested and to prove to ourselves and to the Lord that we can keep the commandments and return and live with Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and our families. We are part of a fallen world and are put in situations where we must make the choice between the Lord and Satan. If we are making incorrect choices and giving in to Satan’s temptations, we do have a need to stop and ask “what is wrong” or “why am I doing this?” Once we recognize that we are on the wrong path, we must turn around and get back on the straight and narrow path that leads us to Christ and his forgiveness.
If we strive each day to stay on the path and hold to the “Iron Rod” we do not need to feel inadequate or that there is something wrong with us. Last week I talked about “staying on the bus” even when we do make mistakes, as long as we stay on the bus it is moving in the right direction, home where we belong.
So to the youth of the church and anyone that is asking “what is wrong with me?” or “what am I doing wrong?”; my answer is unless you are not keeping the commandments of God and doing the things you know to be right, there is nothing wrong with you. Keep doing what you know to be right, stand up for truth, continue setting the example and you will be blessed to know you are on the right path. You will receive the answers to your prayers. God loves you and trusts you and has sent you here at this time because he knows you can handle the difficult times and will prove yourself worthy to return to him.
Your comments and questions are welcome.