By Marci Damon
Emily sat on her bed, staring out her window. She had just read her Sunday school lesson about faith. It spoke about how we use faith every day. You have faith that when you drive a car and press on the brakes, the car is going to stop. When you make arrangements to meet your friends at the movie theater to watch a movie, it is faith that makes you believe that your friends are going to meet you there, or else if you didn’t believe that, you won’t go. The lesson also spoke about faith as being a strong belief in something that cannot be proven. Faith is a trust, or a confidence, that there is God and His Son, Jesus. Your faith in God and Jesus influences your actions. When you have faith in God, then you want to do what God has said; you want to keep His commandments.
Emily’s mind wandered as she thought about the faith of the Saints of old. She remembered her grandmother talking about the Saints at Kirtland, Ohio. Emily recalled how her grandmother had talked about all the things the Saints had done to build the House of the Lord, otherwise known as the Kirtland Temple. Her grandmother’s words rang in her ears. "The Saints believed they could build a temple, even though they had never done anything like that before. The men would work one day a week wherever they were needed. Some men worked in the quarry, carving out the giant stones that would make up the foundation of the Temple. Other men labored with wood to produce beautiful carvings that went inside the House of the Lord. The women were also busy helping wherever they could in this important project. Some women sewed work clothes for the men, others sewed the curtains that would hang in the Temple, and still other women gave up their china so that it could be broken and mixed in the mortar. This caused the outside of the walls to shine in the sun." Emily remembered that grandma went on to say that because of the faith of the Saints, they were willing to do whatever needed to be done to build the Temple. Emily wondered if her faith was as great as the Saints in Kirtland.
She closed her eyes as she remembered another story that her grandma had taught her. This story was from the Book of Mormon and told about the Lamanites. She could hear her grandma’s voice saying, "A long time ago there was a Lamanite King named Lamoni." All of a sudden, in her mind, Emily found herself in the Lamanite village that her grandma had talked about. There were people all around her. They seemed concerned about something, but Emily couldn’t hear what the people were saying. She drew closer to a group of men that were standing in the doorway of a home. The sun shone brightly, and a nice warm breeze was gently blowing, but the men seemed uninterested in the beauty of the day. There was much excitement in their voices.
Emily moved closer until she finally heard one man say, "What shall we do? We can’t fight them, we have given our promise to God." Another man spoke. "It is better that we die than our Lamanite brothers. We have faith in a God in which our brothers do not believe."
Emily looked around and saw that many people were talking to each other, trying to decide what to do. Finally a large man walked into the middle of the street and began to talk. "Brothers and sisters we need to act now, we must make a decision. We know that our Lamanite brethren are coming tomorrow to battle against us because we believe in God and Jesus. We made a promise to God never to go into battle again. If we fight against our brethren, we will be breaking our promise to God. If we do not fight against our brethren, they will surely kill us. What should we do?" the large man asked.
The crowd was silent, each person pondering the words which were just said. Emily saw herself standing there, asking herself, "What would I do?" She began to hear people whispering, "What will you do?" "Are you going to fight?" "I’m scared." "I want to have faith, but I am afraid."
Emily watched as the people began to gather around in a circle. They clasped hands, bowed their heads, and began to pray. Each person asked God to strengthen their faith and help them to make the right decision. When everyone was done praying, they all quietly walked back to their homes. The shimmering red sun dipped below the western horizon. The next morning Emily saw the people, old and young, men and women, begin to gather in the center of the town. They were whispering one to another but Emily could not hear what they said. Next she heard someone yell, "The Lamanites are coming!" She turned and could just see a group of men coming over the hill. The men and women of the town walked out a little ways and then laid down on the ground. They were quietly praying as Emily watched the Lamanites come up to them. The Lamanites were angry and began to kill the people from the village, but as this happened no one that was lying down ran away. Emily questioned whether she would be willing to be killed because of her faith in God. While she was thinking about this, she realized that she was back in her room. She then remembered the rest of the story of how the Lamanites’ hearts were softened as they saw that their enemies were willing to die instead of turn away from God. Many Lamanites were converted that day.
Emily considered her own faith. She realized that it was the action of the Lamanites that believed in God which caused their brethren to stop their killing. Did her actions show to people around her that she believed in God and Jesus? She thought for a moment, "I believe in God and Jesus, I was baptized, and I go to church every Sunday. That is good. I say my prayers every night," Emily continued. "I go to camp, and I help with Vacation Church School each year," she added. But the longer Emily thought about her faith, the more she realized that her faith must become an action; it was the things she would do, just like what the Saints in Kirtland and the Lamanites did.
While Emily thought about this, she remembered the other day in school when she saw a classmate praying over her lunch. Several other kids began to point fingers and say mean things about the girl who was praying. Emily just sat there. She didn’t stand up for the girl who was praying, and she didn’t pray herself. She was too scared to do anything. Emily had thought that since she had not gone along with the people making fun of the girl, she had not done anything wrong. Suddenly Emily understood that her faith had been tested, and it failed! Emily closed her eyes and began to pray, "Dear God, please forgive me for not having enough faith to do what was right. Help me to be strong enough to always do what you want me to do. Please help my faith to be strong. Amen." She recognized that even though her life may never be in danger for believing in God, that every day she would still have opportunities to demonstrate her faith. She hoped that she would never be too scared to show what she really believed again.