In a recent address given at General Conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gives an address called The Hope of God’s light. In it, he tells a story of woman he calls Jane. With some very subtle changes, I am Jane. President Uchtdorf says (changes by me included):
She awoke each morning not knowing if she would survive until the next day. The people who should have protected her were those who tortured her or allowed the abuse to continue. In order to protect herself, she learned to stop feeling. She had no hope of rescue so she hardened herself to the horror of her reality. There was no light in her world so she became resigned to the darkness with a numbness that can only come from constant and unrelenting contact with evil. She accepted the fact that any moment might be her last. Then at age 17 she discovered the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The joy and hope of the restored gospel penetrated her heart and she accepted the invitation to be baptized. For the first time light entered her life and she saw a bright path before her. At last she felt liberated from an environment of darkness and evil free to enjoy the Savior’s sweet peace and miraculous healing. Years later, she was again troubled by horrible events. Profound sadness and anger threatened to destroy the wonderful light she had found in the gospel. She realized that if she allowed that darkness to consume her, her tormentor would have victory. Darkness exists, light also exists.
He goes on to discuss how Jane chose to cling to the light and love of God and years later she has had a positive influence on countless others. I missed the first part of this talk yesterday morning and had to go back and watch it. Even missing the first few minutes initially (and the story of Jane) I knew with absolute certainty this was meant for me. I have probably listened to it 50 times already (no I’m not exaggerating either). The realization that I am Jane is both depressing and encouraging. I hope that years from now, after
walking running to the light of God, I will have the same positive influence.