I just finished a new book that I picked up at Deseret Book the other day; Hope's Journey by Stephanie Worlton. Hope's Journey is about this young woman who made poor choices with her boyfriend during her senior year of high school and ended up pregnant. Both the young woman, Sydney and her boyfriend, Alex, were active LDS kids with so much going for them... The moment they find out that Sydney is pregnant, the two separate for most of the pregnancy and we get to experience each of their struggles individually.
As I went through everything with the characters, I started to feel a little chastised. I've always kind of looked down upon pregnant teens. It's horrible and evil of me to do but the society that we live in has put such a horrible stigma on these young women and young men that have lost their way. I'm in NO way condoning sex outside of marriage. Nothing good can come from indulging in those desires before you have made that special and sacred promise with the man or woman you are going to spend the rest of eternity with and your Father in Heaven. It's like playing with fire, it doesn't matter how careful you think you're being, you are still mocking the special power you've been given by Heavenly Father to bring life into this world. Even if you don't get pregnant, emotions will be altered. Forever.
Of course, I'm not saying that if you have fallen and made this mistake that you're a horrible, trashy person. No. You are still a beloved son or daughter of God. He loves you beyond all words can express. He knows how you are feeling and what you're going through. He will never forsake you, no matter how unworthy you feel of His attention or love. You can really find forgiveness for anything, but it won't be easy. The best things in life take time and patience and a little effort.
Anyway, this novel made me feel for the characters. They were truly repentant for their actions and knew what they had done was wrong. I found myself feeling sorry for the young woman as she dealt with the judgement of other women and families in her home ward. They had no idea the things that she was going through or the things she had done to gain forgiveness. It made me reflect on myself; I don't know the circumstances, thoughts, feelings, or steps that have been taken towards repentance. There is so much going on behind the scenes. So much hidden from the world. Who am I to judge them when I am not perfect?