Many of us have strayed from the strait and narrow at one point or another. Tyler Glenn, of the band Neon Trees, recently came out with a solo music video called “Trash,” openly mocking The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, defaming religious photos and mocking sacred symbols.
I also went through a period of my life where I denied my beliefs and disavowed myself from the Church. I was 12 years old.
While the levels of accountability vary greatly between me and Glenn, as Glenn is an endowed return missionary, and I was a 12-year-old, the principle is the same.
Satan will turn us against the light if we let him. It doesn’t matter who we are, our experiences or even what covenants we have made. Satan is no respecter of persons.
I was born and raised in Utah, right across the street from a stake center. Our home was literally in the center of our ward. There was no escaping the Mormons. While both sides of my family are LDS, my family had mostly been inactive. I had been baptized at eight to meet an expectation.
As I got older, I became bitter. I was bullied at school by Mormons. I asked myself who could live supposedly high standards and be like that? I had a friend whose dad did not want me hanging out with her because I was inactive. Over time, I began to feel like members of the Church were conceited hypocrites.
I hated God. I had always believed in God, but I believed he was a vengeful being who existed to help some people prosper and to torture others.
This is how Satan works. Satan wants everyone as miserable as he is. For me, the number one way he has done that is by devaluing my body and eliminating my sense of divine nature. Eventually, I wanted to give up on life because Satan convinced me to. Because he was jealous of me. Satan is the father of lies. He knows the Church is true and that through Christ, we can be exalted. This is precisely why he will do whatever it takes to rip us apart from it. If he can get us to do small things that will diminish our ability to have the Holy Ghost with us, he can eventually push the door open before we even realize it.
Satan will tempt us to make justifications through sin. 2 Nephi 28:21 illustrates this principle perfectly. “Thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell” (emphasis added). During that dark time in my life, I had never felt so alone. So I began to pray. Eventually, I discovered God isn’t this big, scary, vengeful being, but a loving, merciful father.
It felt nearly impossible, but through the mercy of God, I was able to come back. And so I’ve stayed. Has it been easy? Absolutely not. Almost every day is a struggle.
Why do I stay? Because I understand that while this church is not full of perfect people (though some might like to think they are), this is a church for the poor in spirit. This is the church of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
In this church, we have the priesthood of God, something that blesses me daily.
I don’t know Tyler Glenn personally. I don’t know what he has gone through. But I know that to go from a faithful member having made sacred covenants to this, Satan pushed the door open for him. And it all starts with just a crack.