Marilyn Nelson, a restricted accounts specialist, encouraged students to “stand with the Savior” during the May 26 devotional.
Nelson has served as a Primary president, Young Women’s president, and as bishop’s wife three times. She has been married for 42 years and has three daughters and 12 grandchildren.
Nelson began her talk by saying that the enabling and strengthening power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ gives us the power to do more than what we could if we were left to our own abilities and strength.
As a child, Nelson’s mother would not allow her daughter’s bare feet touch the ground. Nelson said that she noticed her mother acted differently than others.
“Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, otherwise known as O.C.D., is an anxiety disorder, a chemical imbalance in the brain,” Nelson said. “This illness consists of obsessions that produce uneasiness, fear or worry.”
Nelson said her mother had the disorder even before Nelson was born.
She referenced the talk by Jeffrey R. Holland “Like a Broken Vessel,” which spoke of broken minds and hearts being healed by the nonjudgemental actions of others.
As Nelson’s mother’s behavior got worse, her parents got a divorce.
“I thought my life had ended,” Nelson said.
Through the following nine years, Nelson lived in the basement and complied to her mothers rituals, which included sleeping on the left side of the bed, standing on a newspaper to move through the house, and only being allowed to enter the house once a day.
“I desperately wanted her to change,” Nelson said. “I asked her to change, and she said she would change tomorrow. The next day she would be the same, or worse.”
Nelson said the best times she had as a child were when she would ride her “speedy blue bike” with her friends. These friends included one which had an established habit of family prayer. Nelson said that she longed for her own eternal family to pray with. She began to sing primary songs to herself and pray to the Lord, pleading with Him about her situation. She had hope.
“Satan wants us to feel embarrassed, defective, by any kind of disfunction.” Nelson said. “He will not comfort us — he will leave us in despair.”
Nelson continued by explaining that the Lord will never leave us with our trials. He knows of our trials because he experienced them.
Eventually, Nelson moved in with her aunt, where she learned many new lessons, including how to enjoy life. She married in the temple, and she received the prayerful home she wished for as a child. Nelson’s parents received their temple endowments later in life, and her mother accepted psychological treatments.
“Through the enabling and strengthening power, we can be healed,” Nelson said.
Nelson concluded by assuring students that as they stand strong as His witnesses, they can endure to the end.
To watch the full talk click here.