Living by the scriptures

And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.

And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost. – 1 Ne. 8:27-28.

I had worked in an office for several years, and had firmly established my reputation as a "G-Rated" person. No one told questionable jokes around me, and when they did swear, they always apologized to me. The ladies in the office dressed very well, and, although my clothes were neat and clean, I felt plain in comparison. I was able to interact amicably with my co-workers, but I was conspicuously left out of their after-work socializing. This would bother me from time to time, as I felt excluded, but I reminded myself that their after-work activities usually involved bars.

One day I was told that some of the ladies in the office had considered doing something with me, to which one of them commented, "There are only so many churches in Baltimore." I could feel the derision and contempt in her comment.

What really surprised me was how I was hurt by her remark. I told myself I should be glad that she knew that I wouldn't go to bars. So why did it hurt? I struggled with the stinging remark, and considered going out with them so I could fit in. I told myself I could go to the bars, and just not drink. I would belong. Still, that option didn't feel right.

As I wrestled with my hurt feelings, and the resulting confusion, a quiet voice in my mind whispered, "the great and spacious building." (1 Ne. 8:26.) I was filled with the image of Lehi's dream and the people in the "great and spacious building."

I saw my experience with new clarity as I likened this scripture unto myself. I saw myself being tempted to let go of the iron rod. I felt for a brief moment I was in danger of falling into forbidden paths and becoming lost. I felt a renewed determination that I would not heed the scorners.

I also found a renewed testimony of the importance of studying the scriptures. Only by reading and studying these sacred words can we draw upon them for strength in time of need.