From age five through fifteen, I was subjected to extreme abuse at the hands of my stepfather. I struggled for years with feelings of great unworthiness. I was quite inactive and bitter as a Church member. My heart became quite hardened. I suppose you could say I was spiritually bruised and broken. I couldn’t bring myself to pray to someone in heaven who was supposed to be my father. I rejected priesthood blessings because even the touch of worthy priesthood holders was a threat. I got so lost in my deep, dark place that I got to thinking that life would be better off without me.
But, as I later learned, others were praying for me. On a strange impulse, I accepted the challenge to just do two little things each day for my spirit: read one verse from the Book of Mormon and pray for one minute. Though I was disgusted with myself for agreeing to do this, I kept my word. It may seem like almost nothing to do these two things, but for me they were not easy! I read one verse from some random spot in the book and then stared at the clock in a kneeling position for the remaining minute.
I continued this routine for many weeks before my heart began to soften. A miracle was taking place. One verse became two, then three, and then chapters. A hunger was awakened, and I feasted on the word of the Lord. I found myself praying to my Heavenly Father as I would talk to a friend. He became real. I knew he was listening to me. I knew he was answering my prayers. I came to realize that he cherished me.
I have turned my burdens over to the Lord, and he has included them in his atonement somehow. They are gone. I’m free of the wounds and anger that once haunted me night and day. Twenty-five years of therapy did not do for me what the gospel has done. The Savior is the ultimate therapist and the ultimate healer.