Thursday, August 29, 2013


I have been wanting to write this post for a very, very long time. 
I'm not an expert by any means, but I do have a little bit of experience in making choices that go against one's belief.  I have experienced the weight that sin brings and how hopeless it can make one feel.
My hope in writing this post is that someone who needs to read it will gain hope knowing that they are not alone and that even if it takes years to make some changes, that it can happen; it takes perseverance.

To begin, I want to explain that growing up, I was kind of a "goody girl". It's not that I was naive, because my parents were very open and honest with me, but I was the girl who almost never did anything she wasn't supposed to. I didn't like disappointing anyone especially my parents and the person I prayed to every day.

Well. Sometimes you meet a very attractive person you feel connected with and you make choices you grew up saying you wouldn't make. It happens just like everyone tells you it will if you let it: gradually and by slowly becoming desensitized. It became a constant battle and I continually experienced Cognitive Dissonance, which is just a fancy way of saying that what I believed and what I was doing weren't matching up. Whenever this happens, we either have to change what we believe or we need to change our actions. 

There were times I wanted to change what I believed. It seemed a lot easier than having to admit that was I was doing was wrong and having to repent. After a lot of internal battles I decided that I wasn't going to change my belief. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true! I couldn't deny it, and therefore, I had to change my actions.

Here are some things that helped me finally make the changes I needed to:

Going to church every Sunday. This was hard. Really hard.
 I didn't feel like I belonged. I felt unworthy. But I did it. And I'm so glad I did.

Meeting with the bishop as much as needed and being completely open and honest with him. If you aren't married, then I recommend meeting with a bishop in a Single's ward. They tend to be more understanding. My bishops are the reason I got married in the temple. I couldn't have done it without them. They gave me tasks that were really hard to fulfill, and sometimes I wondered if they were being too harsh, but their counsel always ended up being what I needed.

As far as literature goes, almost everyone has heard of the talk, "Of souls, Symbols, and Sacraments" by Jeffrey R. Holland. Or the book, "The Miracle of Forgiveness" by Spencer W. Kimball. 
Both of these texts are amazing and written by very inspired and knowledgeable men. But they didn't work for me. They just made me feel more horrible. I think that people who think they are immune to sinning or have the wrong attitude could benefit from reading these texts, but I needed something a little more gentle. I highly, highly recommend the following book:

Each time I would read from this book, I gained hope for the future and I didn't feel like I was a bad person.

Brad Wilcox is the man. He is seriously my hero. I once saw him at Brick Oven and stopped to tell him how helpful his book was. The next day, I came into work and he had personally written me a card and gave me one of his CDs. Yeah... he's great. 

Here are some top notch quotes from The Continuous Atonement:

“Perfection is our long-term goal, but for now our goal is progress in that direction –continuous progress that is possible only through the continuous Atonement.”

“In those anxious moments, the greatest comfort I have found is in knowing any effort is pleasing to God even if He and I both know it’s not my all or my best. ” pg. 108

 “Some people see a long checklist that must be completed before we get to heaven.  In reality, our willingness to plod along here on earth doesn’t earn us points in heaven, but helps us become heavenly.  We are not called human doings; we are human beings. Doing is only a means to being.”  pg. 112

“The Atonement must be used to escape sin and be comfortable with God rather than trying to escape God and be comfortable with sin.” pg. 145

Another thing that helped me was attending Institute. Here is one of my favorite quotes I wrote down while attending Institute:

Music is great. Sometimes I would blast Lincoln Park in my ear-buds to try and make myself feel better, but in the end, uplifting music is what helped. The following He is We song brought me to tears (in a good way) every time I listened to it: 

I love the part were she says, "Rip us apart; change us on the inside."
Repentance is not comfortable at all. It often feels like your heart is being ripped apart.
This reminds me of the scripture found in Alma 36 where Alma the younger states, "I was racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins."

I have felt similar feelings and it is one of the worst feelings. But you know what? I think those feelings are necessary to truly repent. Repentance is more than changing one's behavior. Repentance has a lot to do with one's attitude. And it starts with feelings of remorse.

The good news is that when you finally do what it takes to truly repent, it is worth it. It is worth the fight. It is worth the sacrifice. It is worth ripping your heart and changing. Why? Because they joy and peace you feel afterwards is irreplaceable. Alma continues to say:
"There could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet was my joy."

Please don't give up if you are weighed down by sin. Even if you don't love yourself, there are two people who will always love you. Our forgiving Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ love you. They love me. They were there every step of the way cheering me on every time I got back up after falling. And they are cheering for you too.

I am so grateful for the gospel. I am so grateful for the atonement.
I know my savior Jesus Christ paid the price so that I could repent. I know he loves me. I know that even though the world makes a mockery of what we believe, that it is true. It is true and it is worth the sacrifices it takes to live it. 


  1. Beautifully said, sweetheart. We can always change for the better - or worse. We make the decision and can't blame others for it. It is hard to go through that process but it is needed. Love you so much. Grandma Mary

  2. This is beautiful. Your testimony is inspiring. You are wonderful. And I love you.

  3. Absolutely beautiful and heart felt. Leah Lott, I'm happy that we are friends. You have such a guiding and unwavering testimony, that through your vigilance, will keep you (and your marriage) afloat and will be filled with deep meaning throughout your life. This was a beautiful, and gusty post filled with honesty and the true meaning of the Atonement; forgiving ourselves just as God as forgiven us.
    Love you

  4. Thank you for sharing. I have bought this book and have not gotten around to reading it yet. Sounds like a must read. I, like you, felt horrible all the way through miracle of forgiveness. :-P And I would say that bishops in "home wards" can also be an amazing asset. When I would meet with a particular bishop I would go in feeling like crap and leave feeling his love and the Lord's love. I never got that feeling in my singles ward. I think it just depends on the bishop. Again, thank you for your testimony!

    1. Thanks for your input, Becca! I think you're absolutely right. It does depend on the bishop. I'm glad that there are great ones in both types of wards. :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...