Young women share how they overcome feelings of isolation

"Sharing is the opposite of withdrawing," said Janette C. Hales, Young Women general president, in speaking about feelings of isolation common to young people today.

As youth reach out to others and seek to develop faith in the Savior, said Pres. Hales, their feelings of love for others and themselves increase. And so does the influence of the Spirit in their lives - thus helping them overcome feelings of being alone. (Please see related story on page 8.)Following are accounts of several young women from different backgrounds who are reaching out to others and seeking to live righteously, and

who are experiencing the resulting blessings:


Daily scripture study brightens the day for Zenovia Burton, 13, and brings rays of hope to her life.

"Reading the scriptures helps me know more about Christ and what He wants me to do," she explained. "It helps me through the day."

A Beehive in the Grand Valley Ward, Grand Rapids Michigan Stake, and a recent convert to the Church, Zenovia said the gospel has given her direction in a world that can often be confusing. She has found living in the inner city challenging, but the gospel "helps me know what I should do, and gets me off the streets so I don't get into trouble."

Turning to the scriptures for strength and having faith in Heavenly Father helps her to "believe and just to try" to do her best, she concluded. "I feel good when I read the scriptures." - Sheridan R. Sheffield


From the time she was a little girl, Emily Cally watched her mother's health gradually deteriorate. For 10 years, Annette Cally suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and on May 24, 1992, she died.

Prayer and pondering the gospel helped Emily, now 17 and a member of the Parleys 1st Ward, Salt Lake Parleys Stake, cope with her mother's illness and death. But, as Emily explained, seeking the comfort and guidance of the Spirit through prayer is something she has done her whole life.

"I've always prayed," she related. "Even when my mom was alive, the Lord was still number one to go to, because no matter who you think knows you - and your parents and your friends know you pretty well - I don't think anyone knows you as well as the Lord does. First of all, no one loves you more."

In offering advice to other young people, Emily said, "The way that we get isolated from God, as far as I know, is feeling unworthy to pray and feeling that the Lord won't want to listen to us. That's not true at all. When you feel isolated, instead of isolating yourself more, the best thing is to share that isolation with the Lord. He will understand and send the Holy Ghost to comfort you."


Last summer, Jennifer Stanley's interest in learning to converse with people who have hearing impairments grew to the point where she took a class in sign language from the full-time sister missionaries.

As she learned, Jennifer, 16, of the Indianapolis 2nd Ward, Indianapolis Indiana North Stake, began going with the sisters to teach investigators who have hearing impairments and began attending a nearby branch for the deaf.

Today, Jennifer continues to improve her signing skills and plans on helping the missionaries again this coming summer. She is also interested in a career in teaching children with hearing impairments.

As a result of her service, Jennifer noticed some changes in her life. "I started to enjoy Church more. I became more spiritual. During this past summer, I started hanging out more with my Church friends."

In addition, she said: "When you serve, your testimony grows. You know that you're doing the right things, and so the Spirit will be with you. You feel good about yourself, and you want to keep that feeling."


Fifteen-year-old Jami Dudley uses the Young Women Personal Progress program to help her in her relationships with friends at school. "Some of the goals I have set are not to talk bad about people, to compliment people.

"I have a good attitude toward my school friends. I know that no one is better than anyone else."

Jami, a member of the Chattahoochee Ward, Boswell Georgia Stake, explained that Personal Progress is "a good program that helps me set and achieve goals. It also helps me build values and strengthen and realize my talents."

Personal progress is not the only thing that draws Jami to Young Women. She enjoys the many activities in which she joins, and she has many friends in Young Women also. She added that the leaders and her friends in the organization "make me feel like I'm a special person, and that I have my personal worth. They are friendly and happy. Even if I do something wrong, I know I'll always have a place here.

"I have such a love for Heavenly Father and my Savior. They love me so much. My Savior died for me. I feel like the Church is really a place of love and everyone should feel welcome."


Salwa Scoville feels there are two places where she has learned the most about the gospel - the Young Women program and her family.

Salwa, 15, of the Medicine Hat 3rd Ward, Taber Alberta Stake, enjoys playing basketball with her two younger brothers in their back yard, making bread with her mother, and going camping and waterskiing with her family.

When asked how her parents, Earl and Celanie, have helped her learn about the gospel, Salwa was quick to answer - "through family home evening and their example. My mom and dad are really strong in the gospel, and they are always doing service. My dad is always doing missionary work.

"They encourage me to read the Book of Mormon and to live the gospel principles. They support me in my activities and help me with my problems."

Salwa said she is able to talk with her parents and calls them her "friends."

"Lots of my friends don't have that," she added. "My parents always try to say something good and positive about me and about the good things I do.

"By living the gospel," she noted, "you have better relationships with your family."

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