WINTER QUARTERS, Neb. — Young adulthood can be a tumultuous time of life. Through a season of never-ending unknowns, Eliza Stephen, an 18-year-old member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Papillion, Nebraska, has turned to God to find answers to her questions.
From deciding who to be friends with and where she should attend school to deciding if she even wanted to stay an active member of the Church, Eliza has learned to hear the voice of God as she’s asked these difficult questions.
“I think it’s good to have questions,” she said.“It’s made me stronger.”
Although Eliza has found strength in receiving answers to her questions, it hasn’t always been easy. Because of differing opinions expressed by family members and friends, Eliza had a hard time deciding where she should go to college. She tried to make the decision on her own, but couldn’t find the answer.
“I got over my pride and turned to God and asked Him His opinion, and ultimately received revelation on where I needed to go,” she said.
As she seeks to find answers, Eliza often finds solace during Sunday church meetings.
“I rely a lot on the hymns we sing in sacrament (meeting). I find a lot of peace when I’m looking for answers while we’re just singing hymns,” she said.
Hymns sung in weekly sacrament meetings are just one way that Eliza has received answers to her prayers. Eliza said her answers often come through feelings. “It’s a confident feeling that Heavenly Father gives me to let me know that everything is going to be OK.”
Joseph Smith’s story has impacted Eliza’s pattern of seeking spiritual guidance.
“When I look for answers, I try to base it off of what (Joseph Smith) did because it worked for him,” she said.
She has found comfort in doing the same things that the Joseph Smith did as a young boy when he was trying to decide which church to join.
“I turn to my family members, I turn to my parents and I turn to Heavenly Father. I try to do the work, and then I find the answer,” Eliza said. Not only does she feel that her experiences relate to Joseph Smith’s search for truth, but Eliza has also experienced times of spiritual darkness similar to the prophet’s low moments in Liberty Jail, where he questioned, “O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?”
“I’ve gone through times where I really want an answer or I really want to feel the spirit, and God hasn’t revealed Himself to me,” she said.
During these times of uncertainty, Eliza has found solace in learning how to come to God instead of waiting for Him to come to her.
For young adults who may feel like they’re in their own personal Liberty Jail, Eliza offered this piece of advice: “Turn to Heavenly Father. Show Him that you need and want Him around. Even when you feel like you’re not getting answers, always remember that He’s there.”