Do you ever look at the state of the world and get depressed? I felt that way last week. Everywhere I looked--the newspaper, television, news magazine--it seemed people were glorifying hedonism and mocking religion, all the while bemoaning the state of the economy, the school system, and the family.
I was most upset about my children's futures. There are so many pretty traps and shiny lures that lead them to believe that there are no negative consequences, that everything is relative, and that fun leads to freedom. Really, it looks like everbody IS doing it, no one will know, one time won't hurt, and you can stop anytime you want to. What used to be whispered encouragement on the brink of indecision in a dark alley is now a bright, bold advertising campaign in the light of day.
It is an uphill battle to counteract the message that immediate gratification is normal and fun. (And who doesn't want to be normal and have fun?)
So I was feeling depressed.
While the kids were in preschool I decided to go on a walk at the park.
And that made it worse.
If you had seen what I had seen, you'd know why a professor I had coined the term "underbelly of society."
After a while I sat down on a bench to meditate. A scripture from the Book of Mormon came to my mind, Ether 12:4.
Wherefore, whose believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh and anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.
And I thought, I believe in God. And I should hope for a better world.
I also thought about Jesus himself, who walked this imperfect earth and saw vice and wickedness, poverty and pain, ignorance and corruption; more than I have seen, or ever will see. He said:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
He has overcome the world. For me. For my children.
And I began to feel hope again. I began to feel light again. I began to feel peace again.
And that led to gratitude.
I am so grateful for Jesus Christ, my Redeemer. He took upon himself the pains and sins of the whole world, so that we can be repent and be made perfect, and attain eternal life. I know that he is the literal Son of God, who came to earth to fulfill the divine Plan to save us from sin and from death. He knows our challenges. He knows how to help us. If we have faith in Him and obey His commandments, we will have peace and joy--even in a blemished, tarnished world.
I am not the only voice my children will hear, but I need to be the clearest one they hear.
And I know that that doesn't mean that they won't have temptations, make mistakes, or even fall away.
We live in an imperfect state filled with imperfect people. (Myself included. Obviously.)
But through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can change and be better. I can change and be better.
And starting with myself, I can--with surety--hope for a better world.