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  • Writer's pictureShelli Owen

No More Loneliness

Updated: Feb 12



““I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” – Jesus (John 14:16–18)

 



Waiting for an LDS missionary—which meant not dating for two years—while attending college as a young adult was a lonely business. As a matter of course, a lot of student activities at BYU centered around meeting potential dating and marriage partners, or they involved having a partner to do them with. These were, of course, the things the other young women and men wanted to participate in, but I felt I should refrain from attending if I was going to be “true to my man.” My introversion and tendency toward self-hatred and isolation didn’t help either.


It was during this time that the obsession I’ve mentioned truly burst into flame.


The fuel for this obsession had been gathering throughout my high school years. Remember my growing desire to be a better person? My efforts to do better at keeping the standards of the LDS Church? And the hope I’d been gleaning from the Book of Mormon and the Bible of receiving a “mighty change [of heart],” the pure love of Christ, spiritual rebirth, or of being “born again? Also, remember my personal struggles, especially with a bad temper, serious depression, and inappropriate intimacy? All these struggles along with insecurity and an intense desire to belong contributed to my longing for personal transformation.


Now, add to all this a “Fitness for Living” class at BYU that began with goal setting. This was the final catalyst that put gasoline on all this fuel, ignited what began as an ember of desire, and fanned it into a devouring flame in my soul.


Receiving a “mighty change [of heart]” or the pure love of Christ, being spiritually reborn or “born again” I equated with “receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit) as a constant guide and companion” through personal worthiness. I fully believed I could earn the Presence of the Lord’s Spirit and make myself worthy of this through my own efforts. I had been taught from an early age that one’s worthiness is tied to one’s obedience to the LDS Church’s commandments. I saw the LDS Church’s standards and commandments as being the fulness or restoration of all God’s standards and commandments on earth.


This obedience to LDS commandments was especially emphasized when we were baptized and confirmed members of the LDS church at the age of eight by worthy priesthood holders having the proper (LDS) authority from God. The worthy priesthood holder who baptized me was my dad. Other elders of the LDS Church acted as witnesses to ensure my baptism was done correctly—performed by the right and authorized (“restored”) LDS priesthood, that the right words were spoken, and that I was fully immersed with not one hair remaining out of the water.


I was baptized on a Saturday. The following Sunday, during Sacrament Meeting, my dad and other “worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holders,” laid their hands on my head and confirmed me as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Then as part of the LDS ordinance of “the laying on of hands,” I was commanded that I should “receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”


Previously and afterward, it was emphasized to me (and it is still taught in the LDS Church) that:

Every worthy elder of the Church, when authorized, may give the gift of the Holy Ghost to another person. However, there is no guarantee that the person will receive inspiration and guidance from the Holy Ghost just because the elders have laid their hands on his or her head. Each person must “receive the Holy Ghost.” This means that the Holy Ghost will come to us only when we are faithful and desire help from this heavenly messenger.

To be worthy to have the help of the Holy Ghost, we must seek earnestly to obey the commandments of God. We must keep our thoughts and actions pure.[1] 

I had received the laying on of hands when I was eight years old, but now here I was in college and I knew I had not yet received the gift of the Holy Ghost. I also “knew” this part was up to me and that it depended upon my own personal worthiness through obedience to the commandments.


Toward the beginning of my first semester at BYU, this became my one, consuming desire: to make myself worthy to have the Holy Ghost as a constant guide and companion through my own personal obedience to the commandments. (By the way, this is the very heart of legalism.)


I determined I was going to put my whole attention and every effort toward becoming worthy of the gift of the Holy Ghost. I began a zealous regimen with daily goals to keep all of God's commandments as I understood them. I equated obedience to the LDS Church’s standards and commandments with keeping God’s commandments. In my mind, my efforts at obedience had nothing to do with keeping the Ten Commandments or the Law of Moses.[2] I was only concerned with obedience to the LDS Church’s “restored” commandments. 


I believed that I was automatically keeping the Ten Commandments just by being LDS and following LDS teachings. Among LDS people, this point of view was common. By espousing the “fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through Joseph Smith,” I believed I was keeping the first two commandments: 1) “You shall have no other gods before me” and 2) “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below...” I didn’t understand that keeping any one of the Ten Commandments, first, requires a total transformation of both one’s mind and heart by God’s Spirit, through Jesus Christ.[3] Or that, unless God’s Spirit is the One teaching us, we will generate and accept images and ideas of God that have little or nothing to do with Him. And, without the guidance of God’s Spirit, even good things like church, traditions, family, and national or tribal identity can become idols (or images) that replace God.


Concerning the third of the Ten Commandments: 3) “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name,” I assumed I had this covered too. When I was growing up LDS, I was taught at home and at church not to swear or use God’s name in vain. And I didn’t do either of these things—at least not that I knew of or where anyone could hear me.


Growing up, whether I liked it or not, I generally kept the Fourth Commandment, according to LDS standards of what that meant. My parents insisted we keep “the Sabbath Day holy.” My family observed a full day of rest on Sundays, doing no work (except maybe some meal preparations) or even recreation on that day. In my parents’ house Sunday was mainly a family day, except for the many church meetings we attended. Later in my life, these Sunday habits proved to be a blessing to me. But, when I was a child and a young adult, it was often just an annoyance. However, while I was at BYU that first year, I was zealous to avoid doing any homework on that day—even for my religion classes—and felt pretty righteous about that. I “encouraged” roommates and others to observe my idea of Sabbath rest as well. This also included avoiding any recreation on Sundays. On the rare occasion I was invited to do something recreational on a Sunday, you can be sure I wasn’t invited again.


As for the other six Commandments, I felt like those were a given, too. Of course, I honored my father and mother. I never thought much about what this meant. Deep inside I loved both of my parents. At the time, I assumed that was enough.


I was no murderer. But I never considered the anger and the disdain I held in my heart toward others to be a sin, as Jesus taught. I felt fully justified in having and holding onto these feelings when people were not doing what I “knew” they should.


I thought one had to be married to “commit adultery.” No problem there. I didn’t consider the sensations that coursed through my mind, heart, and body when I read certain Harlequin romance novels to be either lustful or sinful. It didn’t affect anyone else but me. I didn’t even lust after other girls’ boyfriends—most of the time. I was doing pretty well in my own eyes. I fully intended to marry someone in an LDS temple someday and be faithful to them forever. I often interpreted my good intentions to be the same as actual obedience.


I never stole anything from a store. I was taught this from childhood. Again, I assumed that just by being raised LDS, and being obedient to the injunction against stealing, I had that commandment covered. I was no thief. I always made sure to return anything I borrowed—even pencils—because I was such a good, conscientious person. I never really considered that there might be other kinds of theft.


I wasn’t quite sure what “giving false testimony” meant. I was just sure since I was making such an effort to be obedient to LDS teachings, I didn’t need to worry about it. Ignoring or denying thoughts about non-LDS things or things I didn’t understand was one way I had of dealing with such questions.


And coveting? Well, as long as I was a commandment-keeping member of the LDS Church, I believed all was well. I wasn’t quite sure how this commandment ever applied to my circumstances. I didn’t understand how, ultimately, God’s focus is on heart issues. I only gave serious consideration to my outward behaviors.


As far as keeping the LDS Church’s commandments, which had to do with programs, standards, church attendance, and such, I “understood” that at first I would not be able to keep all of them perfectly, so I also included the four steps of repentance as part of my daily regimen. These steps were to: 1) “...feel remorse or godly sorrow for misdeeds”; 2) “...confess [one’s] sins [to one’s bishop if the offense is sufficient]”; 3) “forsake [one’s] sins”; and 4) “...make restitution for wrongs to whatever degree possible.”[4] I “comprehended” that the atonement of Jesus Christ made my repentance possible. That because of what He had done in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross, my sins could be erased or forgiven—as long as I followed the steps of repentance for each one. I had no idea then, that I was committing sins against God and others I was not even aware of and so could not repent of. I had no idea of the completeness and greatness of God’s perfection nor of the depth and breadth of my own imperfections.


The LDS prophets and apostles taught (commanded) the faithful to read from the Book of Mormon every day and from “the modern-day prophets” as often as we could. But that wasn’t something most students chose to fit into their busy schedules. I self-righteously began to take up this cause to promote it, as well as trying to do it myself. In my enthusiasm, I added going to every “spiritual talk” (or guest lecture) on campus given by LDS Church authorities, sometimes even attending these instead of going to my classes.


I was enthusiastic about trying to keep the LDS Church’s distinctive and often emphasized “Word of Wisdom.” The following from a current LDS publication entitled, Topics and Questions is the part of the “Word of Wisdom” that was my focus:

The Lord revealed in the Word of Wisdom that the following substances are harmful:

·        Alcoholic drinks (see Doctrine and Covenants 89:5–7).

·        Tobacco (see Doctrine and Covenants 89:8).

·        Tea and coffee (see Doctrine and Covenants 89:9; latter-day prophets have taught that the term “hot drinks,” as written in this verse, refers to tea and coffee).[5]

I was determined to go the extra mile in “keeping the faith” on these rules too. I was not only going to eat right in every respect, I was going to avoid anything with caffeine in it, including soft drinks. And with all good intentions, I informed others how they could stop breaking or also (along with me) do better at keeping the “Word of Wisdom”! This fit right in with my fitness class, I was trying in every way—as the LDS prophets were ever teaching—to live a healthier, and so more “righteous,” life. After all, one’s body is “the temple of God...[which temple] is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:16–17, KJV). This also became a platform I chose to stand on.


While I was wholeheartedly pursuing “perfect righteousness” by trying to keep, and even go above and beyond, all of these as well as other LDS commandments, I was alienating people from me—big time. Not only did my roommates, school, and church associates begin avoiding me, but also, so did my best friend from high school, Gina, who was also attending BYU. When I confronted her, we got into a big fight—one of the worst fights we ever had. I “knew” I was right. But I also knew I was miserable.


I believed increasing obedience would increasingly make me a better person in God’s eyes, but somewhere in me I also realized I should be more loving and approachable as a result of my obedience to God. I didn’t see yet, though I would, that instead of getting closer to developing a personal relationship with Christ or the pure love of Christ as I desired, I was moving in the opposite direction. I was estranging people from me, more and more.


What I was doing certainly helped to ensure my loneliness. This hurt. Terribly. It was so excruciating, so deeply painful for me, I could hardly bear it. I couldn’t understand it.


I found myself, more and more often, curled up in a miserable ball somewhere, where no one could see or find me, with my soul silently screaming in emotional pain, while my eyes poured tears. Many times, it was all I could do to refrain from seriously harming myself.


It didn’t help that I was also doing poorly in most of my classes, which also fed into the constant discouragement I was unconsciously engendering. I was not consistent about putting time into my studies. I would feel bad when I didn’t have assignments completed or ready, then I’d miss class because I felt bad. I did even worse because of missing material from class, so I’d feel even worse. And so the vicious cycle continued. My energies were diverted by my quest for religious perfection and drained because I was allowing myself to wallow in discouragement rather than doing anything constructive about it. My dorm mentor gently pointed out to me the cycle I was in regarding my classes. At first, I chose to be even more deeply hurt by her “criticism” of me, but, eventually, when I accepted the truth of it, her good counsel helped me understand I couldn’t skip classes and pass them at the same time.


She, Gina, and others—besides their avoidance of me—through their counsel, kindness on occasions when we were together, and sometimes their observations both intentionally and inadvertently helped me. Gina also even bravely invited me to change dorms and to be one of her roommates in the coming semester. However, she set parameters for me. It was on the condition that I not try to impose what I thought was right on her or our other five roommates. I accepted these conditions and was able to change dorms. While I still didn’t understand and continued confused, these kinds of things were part of what helped me to finally realize that my increased efforts to keep all the commandments were moving me further from my desire, rather than closer to it.


Though I became roommates with Gina and got along fairly well with our other roommates—on Gina’s conditions, none of them understood me nor could they relate with me, including Gina. My aching aloneness and deep discouragement were heightened by the fact that even the idea of rebirth was, if anything, a topic altogether shunned in conversation among my peers at college. I couldn’t understand this because I had been taught it was a predominant theme in the Book of Mormon. At least that’s how my high school seminary teachers had presented it. There was also a current-day, though singular, example of “a mighty change of heart” in the autobiography/

biography of the then LDS prophet and president of the LDS Church, Spencer W. Kimball. I wondered at people not having read his story, since, after all, he was our prophet.


I knew the concept of spiritual rebirth, or something like it, was found in the Bible as well. Though I didn’t think of it as being a definitive example in this context, since it was in the Bible. Remember, I believed the Bible had not been “translated correctly” or with integrity. Everyone I knew and trusted backed this up. Essentially, I “knew” that’s why “the true church of Jesus Christ” had to be restored to the earth through Joseph Smith. And I “knew” the LDS Church was the only true church on the face of the earth.


With my first exposure away from my home to members of the LDS Church, I began to realize the vast majority of the people in the LDS Church didn’t hold to or in any way relate to the idea of spiritual rebirth or a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If they had ever heard of something like this, it was in a negative context from “anti-Mormon,” born-again, Bible-thumping evangelicals. This teaching seemed in their eyes, like something to be avoided. I didn’t at all equate my quest to have the Holy Ghost as a constant companion with the “born again” movement that had been sweeping the United States for over a decade. But I did know that for whatever reason, none of my LDS peers seemed to be seeing things in the same light as I was. Not even close. No one.


Not even the BYU professor who later was officially reprimanded—by an apostle of the LDS Church—for teaching students to seek a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This was the same professor who had so strongly influenced my seminary teacher—and who my seminary teacher had recommended taking classes from if we ended up attending BYU, Provo. Though this recommended BYU professor didn’t seem to understand what I was seeking, I still had the highest regard for him and his teaching.


This same professor, during my second semester at BYU, challenged us students to pray for at least twenty minutes a day in order to draw closer to the Lord and develop a relationship with Him.


This was a sorely needed glimmer of light in a very dark time. It was one little ray of hope amid all my otherwise hopeless endeavors and relationships. This professor seemed to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Christ’s love was evident in his teaching. And, when he challenged each individual in our Book of Mormon class to set aside at least twenty minutes a day solely for prayer, I determined to take up this challenge.


At first, this seemed like a super long time to pray. However, I was rewarded for my perseverance in that these prayers eventually led to a significant chain of events in my life. I didn’t see results for some time, and meanwhile felt like my prayers were “bouncing off the ceiling”—or sky. But eventually, a few lights of inspiration began to shine through.


As the cumulative things that added up to my chronic loneliness and dejection increased, so did the need I felt for a “mighty change of heart” in myself. Toward the end of that school year, during one of these times of prayer, God impressed on my mind that I should talk with my visiting teaching supervisor, Janet.


Besides the Book of Mormon professor I’ve mentioned, Janet was one other of the rare persons I knew of on the BYU campus who radiated Christ’s love in her speech and actions. I didn’t know her that well, so I didn’t feel comfortable searching her out, and I didn’t see her for a time around campus either. However, before I got a chance to talk with her, something else of major significance occurred.


It happened on a Friday afternoon, with my classes done for the week. As I was walking back to the dorms, I had a flash of realization. For whatever reason, on that particular day, the total futility of all my efforts hit me—full force.


As I reviewed my endeavors and their results over the last two semesters, I saw the whole truth that the divide between me and my goal was only growing wider and my distress greater the more I struggled. Every effort I had made only—continually—had resulted in separating me in increasing measure from my goal rather than bringing me closer to it.


In some LDS Sacrament meeting somewhere, probably in several meetings, I’d heard the teaching: “Perfection won’t come all at once, but if you can just be perfect for one minute, you can be perfect for two,” and so on. On this afternoon, I also realized that as soon as I did or learned one thing, there was another unfinished, new thing before me, a thousand things left undone, and as many, if not more things I needed to repent of. I saw that I could never be perfect in obedience, not even for a nano-second. This task I had set for myself was absolutely beyond me in every way.


I finally, clearly grasped the fact that I was never going to be able to make myself worthy of “receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.” All illusions that this might be even a remote possibility for me had been gradually, and now were cleanly, swept away. 


As this understanding dawned, I became aware this also meant I would never “make it to the Celestial kingdom.” I knew, according to LDS doctrine, that since I had been given the “fullness of the gospel,” if I could never even eventually keep all the commandments, the only possible end for me was perdition (hell). Maybe others could make themselves worthy, but now I knew with total certainty, I, personally, would never be able to achieve this. Was I, then, a daughter of perdition?


The realization that I would never, ever be able to make myself worthy to receive the Holy Ghost as a constant companion or be imbued with the pure love of Christ—“the mighty change of heart”—was utterly devastating! To consider, on top of that, that I might be forever barred from the Celestial Kingdom—well, it was unthinkable. I’d so often felt like an outcast. Was this in truth what I was?


I could not stand to face the thought of losing—forever—the hope of eternal life with God the Father and my loved ones in God’s Celestial Kingdom. The terrible emotional pain, loneliness, and despair I had already suffered seemed minuscule in comparison with this gaping, bottomless hole of blackness that, on this afternoon, presented itself before my mind. Was this stinging darkness going to be my lot—forever? I could not even contemplate this removal of all my hope.


The truth was, at that point, I had come to the end of myself and my bad theology or understanding of God and His plan for our lives.


I didn’t know where to turn. In my distress, my mind went to a place of numbness. I shut off my thoughts and decided I was going to just stop and take a full rest from thinking for a while. I was just going to do whatever I needed to do and whatever came up without thinking about it at all. And that’s what I did for the rest of that day and the next. I left everything alone.


The following Sunday morning, as I started to awaken with the sunshine filling the dorm room and lighting my closed eyelids, all seemed peaceful and quiet. But as soon as I opened my eyes I was bombarded with an unseen, intense, insistent, urging not to go to church. It seemed to me that such an urging would surely not come from God; so, it must be coming from Satan, who I knew to be the enemy of my soul. To me, this meant that I should definitely go to church

—and I did.


That Sunday morning BYU was holding separate conferences for the women and the men instead of our regular meetings. Through the various sisters (as we called each other) who spoke at the women’s conference, God began to convey to my mind and heart a real sense of His love. My previously stupefied soul was stirred and then filled to overflowing by the sweet comfort and warmth that flooded it, until I couldn’t contain it anymore, and tears were flowing down my face.


 Then, as soon as the meeting was over, just as I was going in search of Kleenex, who but Janet should come walking directly over to talk to me (she also happened to have some Kleenex)! She didn’t even mention visiting teaching (it was time for giving reports and accountability); she asked instead if I would go on a walk with her. She said the Lord had placed some things on her heart to share with me.


Wow! At this point, I was even more overwhelmed by this further—obviously, very personal—intimation of God’s love. He was singling me out through Janet. Subdued by awe and wonder, I went for a walk with her.


It was a beautiful, mostly sunny, crisp spring day. Initially, Janet went into an explanation as to why she had sought me out and how she felt the Lord had prompted her to do this. At the same time, I was marveling at the love God had already poured into me that morning, and I was wondering how in the world, as I was already filled to the brim and overflowing, I could support any more of His love.


Just as I had begun to ponder this—suddenly and unexpectedly—I was seeing, with my spiritual eyes, the Christ of God! His Being emanated a vibrant, living Love and Light that was centered in Him, and yet was also in every atom and everywhere in space all at once. His Presence—Who He is—is the essence of all beauty, glory, and goodness that ever was, is, or will be, and so much more! He will forever exceed all human powers of description.


Simultaneously, with His appearance, His love and light surrounded me, held me up, embraced me, flowed through me, and washed every particle of my entire being. Somehow, His Spirit cleansed and filled me with a pure, immense, beautiful, joyous love and peace far, far beyond anything I could have ever imagined!


As soon as His Presence was revealed to me the immense sense of loneliness I had been feeling up to that time was cleanly swept away as if it never existed. I somehow knew I belonged to God and that I would never be entirely alone ever again. Yes, there would still be times I felt or believed I was alone after this, but looking back I could always see I had not been truly alone. The Lord God, through Jesus, by His Spirit has, in reality, been with me ever since this time.


All of this happened in one relatively brief but timeless, life-impacting moment.


This revelation of Jesus, which is the most real and wonderful encounter I have ever had was completely in the spiritual realm. Janet did not also see Him. This quickly became evident. She continued talking about the things God had placed on her heart, which were wonderfully appropriate to my, suddenly, new life!


One thing she shared, which I still remember, was that I should always remain watchful to never love anything more than the Lord. I should not hold, esteem, or love anything or anyone so highly that I wouldn’t be willing to give up that thing or person should God call me to do so.


She also shared God’s heart that we should serve others. She eventually sent me a quote to this effect by George MacDonald, who C.S. Lewis considered his spiritual master, and who I would not become familiar with for years to come. MacDonald had a great vision of God’s love and how the Lord would have us serve our fellow humans.


Finally, she shared the importance of spending time reading, studying, and memorizing the Word or Scriptures every day and applying them to my life. These are the main things I remember. They were exactly what I needed at the time—the Lord was speaking directly to me through Janet.


This is how I—a definitely unworthy, LDS person—was spiritually “born again” (John 3) in the midst of unbelieving Mormondom, in Provo, Utah.


Meeting the living Christ of God, immediately, absolutely, and radically changed my life from that time forward. He gave me a new heart and began to transform my mind as well. Jesus has continued to significantly influence, and sometimes majorly change, my life over the years since then—often in ways I would never have imagined or thought possible.


I didn’t change into a new person overnight. I still had many false beliefs and bad habits to overcome (and God knows I still do). I didn’t immediately abandon LDS Church teachings and practices. I didn’t even consider leaving them for another twenty-eight or so years—which greatly hindered, but didn’t fully stop my progress in following Jesus. Some things changed right away, like my recognition (in my limited sphere) of what is or is not of Christ. Some things took a longer time, like victory over the tendency to depression. Without a doubt, some things are still unfinished that the Lord has yet to do in me.


The difference now is that instead of me trying to change myself without a real clue about what really needs to change—and so getting further away from the Lord the harder I try—He’s doing the work in me. I am changed by His very presence with me—His nature and character. His Presence, by His Spirit, can be with me, not because I’ve ever been worthy, but because Jesus is worthy, and He gave his body and innocent blood—His only worthy life—in my place so that I might not die or be forever separated from God, and so I can live and be with Him forever! I am sincerely grateful for this gift of pure grace from God. And to Him belongs all the glory.


Instead of striving for perfection on my own, my “work” now is to believe Him, His promises, and that He loves me and will finally sanctify me;[6] to humble myself and repent of desiring or pursuing things that are not of Him; and to seek and respond to His will, which I receive through His Word and the promptings of His Spirit. This includes forgiving others as God forgives me; keeping a pure or right heart with the help of the Lord’s Spirit; serving and ministering to others as the Lord leads; and remaining faithful to the Lord through all things. Meanwhile, He’s changing me from the inside out, and the changes are lasting and good. He’s not finished with me yet, but through His work in me, I have a real hope of Eternal Life with Him.


This Bible verse from one of the Apostle Paul’s letters speaks especially well to my “new” life and reality:

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:37)



 


[1] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Books and Lessons, “Gospel Principles: Chapter 21: the Gift of the Holy Ghost,” accessed 11/21/2023, https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-21-the-gift-of-the-holy-ghost?lang=eng

[3] See 2 Chronicles 30:12; Psalm 86:11; Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 24:7; 32:39; Ezekiel 11: 19–21; 36:25–29; Romans 8:1–8; 12:1–3; 2 Corinthians 3:3, 18; Galatians 5:16, 24–25; Ephesians 2:1–10; 4:17–24; 1 Peter 1:1–3, 14, 22; Hebrews 8:10; 9:14; 10:16, 22; 12:24a;

[4] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Institute, “Doctrines of the Gospel: Student Manual: Chapter 14: Repentance,” accessed 11/21/2023, https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/doctrines-of-the-gospel-student-manual/14-repentance?lang=eng#p30

[5] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Library, “Topics and Questions: Word of Wisdom,” accessed 11/22/2023, https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics/word-of-wisdom?lang=eng; see also: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Other Resources, “True to the Faith: Word of Wisdom,” accessed 11/22/2023, https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/true-to-the-faith/word-of-wisdom?lang=eng

[6] See John 6:28–29

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