Marcus is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths, the “Mormon Church”). Tried by adversity as a teenager, he now shares his story of healing. Marcus has also enjoyed filming a nationally televised commercial and traveling to South America.
Everyone has challenges. It doesn’t matter where we’re from, what religion we are, how much money we have or our status in society. Nothing in this world can make a person immune from the difficulties of life.
Some of the greatest challenges I have faced in my life came at an early age. At 12 I was diagnosed with a hereditary condition which caused my body to not produce enough of a chemical called Serotonin. The result of not having enough of this chemical produced in your body is depression. I was then diagnosed with severe social anxiety and had to drop out of school. My parents divorced when I was 15 years old and by the age of 17, my mother stopped talking to me. Her last words to me were “I don’t want to have anything to do with you anymore” before she moved away without telling me where she was going.
Between the ages of 12 and 18, my life was a mess. Our family physician said that my parent’s divorce would destroy me and the countless psychiatrists I visited gave up on me. Most of the time I wanted to be left alone and I stayed in my room. I felt as though I was a burden to everyone else and I was less then pleasant to be around. When my mom left, I locked myself in my room for 3 days and wept. As sad as this all may sound, it was during these times that my relationship with God and my faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ grew and strengthened.
Looking back on that difficult period of my life I now realize that I didn’t go to the Jesus Christ for help. It was the Lord who came to help me. As it says in the book of John, third chapter, 16th and 17th verses:
“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
The Atonement of Jesus Christ doesn’t only apply to the salvation of my soul, the atonement also applies to my life at every moment. I needed then, more than ever, for someone to save me and it was through the Atonement and the love of my Savior that my salvation came. At a time when it seemed as though the world was against me, I felt deep inside of me knowledge of the truth that even if the entire world despised me, the Lord came into this world with the single purpose of helping me.
Somehow, through the fog of my depression and despite the inexperience of my youth, I was able to feel inspired and strengthened. I prayed to God on a regular basis and asked him for help. It seemed as though the more I talked to the Lord, the stronger I felt. The peace and comfort that came to me began to heal me from the inside and after a few years, I was able to stop taking my medication.
When my mother left I wept but I also prayed. I told the Lord how alone I was feeling and how sad I was. It felt like a piece of me had been removed and now I had a gaping hole in my soul. It was then that I felt like I should go to the scriptures for my comfort. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly misnamed the “Mormon Church”) I read from The Book of Mormon, which is an ancient record of holy scripture that testifies of Jesus Christ. When I went to read, I happened to open The Book of Mormon, to a scripture that I must have read multiple times but constantly overlooked. 1 Nephi, 21st chapter and 15th verse states:
“For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.”
Although I hurt inside, I knew that the Lord Jesus Christ would always love me and remember me. In that moment, the healing began to take place and I have never felt alone since that time.
We all suffer and feel pain from time to time. Sometimes we can feel so overwhelmed that there seems to be no way out of that pit of despair. It’s then that the atonement can serve as a ladder for us to climb out of the dark pit and into the light of day, and it’s the Savior who extends that ladder to us. It will take energy and work but I know that it’s worth the effort and I am so grateful that I chose to make that climb.