I think many of us, regardless of gender or age or anything else, have had moments of looking in the mirror and only being able to see what we might like to change. Perhaps social media has shown us yet another a glamorized face and figure and we now feel like we are never going to be good enough—like we have failed. Feelings of confidence and contentment can be hard to find amid the ever-changing winds of perfection in the world.
When I find myself longing to feel comfortable in my own skin again, I have found a perhaps unusual source to be one of the best remedies: the Book of Mormon. The truth on those pages centers me and helps me feel calm again. So the next time you find yourself taking a ride on the body image anxiety bus, here are seven scriptures from the Book of Mormon you could try pondering to get yourself back in a better head space.
1. Mosiah 8:18
This has always been one of my favorite scriptures. It says, “Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.” Isn’t that a beautiful statement? God has provided a way for us to be a “great benefit” to the people around us. Remembering that I can really make a positive impact in people’s lives helps me be less worried about how I look. Who I am on the inside will always be more important, and that can be the source of true joy in my life.
2. Alma 24:14
“He loveth our souls.”
That is one small line from Alma 24:14, but it speaks volumes to me. I existed as a soul before this life, then when I was born, my soul joined my physical body, and then at death my soul will leave my body to await the Resurrection. And then finally, my body and soul will be reunited forever. And through all of that, God always has and always will love my soul. He loves who I am and what I will become. My time in a mortal, imperfect body is important and beautiful, but it is not my final destination. All of us are made of “the stuff of eternity” as Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf once said, and that is something to take confidence in.
3. Ether 12:27
One line in particular from this well-known verse comforts me: “My grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me.”
I don’t need to be, and in fact cannot be, perfect in this life—and that includes perfectly navigating the complexities around body image. I am sometimes going to fall into the trap of comparing some aspect of my appearance to others, and that’s OK. Christ is there to love us, help us, and lift us up as we figure things out, including how we handle the challenges and emotions that come with a mortal body. When I am feeling anxious or frustrated about body image, it is calming to remember that I have access to the enabling power of Christ to sooth me and help me reclaim a better perspective.
4. Moroni 9:6
“We have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.”
This verse reminds me that we are here living in bodies for a reason; we all have a labor to do while in our “tabernacles of clay.” Our bodies are an essential part in our eternal progression. This helps me view my body as a gift—and feel excited about chasing after and participating in the work I was sent here to do.
5. Mosiah 3:5
“For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.”
I like to remember that Jesus once lived in this tabernacle of clay too. He knows what it is like to experience the limitations and the joys of having a physical body. And as we read in Alma 7:12, “He will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” The Savior knows what you are feeling and the pressures you face. He understands the ever-present dangers of comparison and criticism. But He also knows how infinitely important and capable you are. Through the Holy Ghost, He can remind you of that in a way that will help you really believe it.
6. 2 Nephi 2:25
“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”
Our lives are so much more than the pursuit of weight loss. Or perfect-looking skin. Or keeping up with the latest fashion trends. Heavenly Father and the Savior want us to, and can help us, find joy in our lives—not be stuck on a never-ending hamster wheel of unmet expectations. Feelings of intense shame, ugliness, or inadequacy are not from God. With His help, we can find joy in things that really do matter—like serving others, developing talents, and keeping the commandments. This verse helps me remember that joy is possible and to direct my energies toward the thoughts and activities that help me feel good.
7. Mosiah 2:41
“And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.”
Perhaps what we are all looking for is greater happiness and a deeper sense of belonging. The world may tell us that the way to achieve those things is to make ourselves more physically attractive. To a certain degree that may be true—taking care of your body will help you feel better and give you increased confidence to build relationships with others. But it will only take you so far. The source of true and lasting happiness comes from keeping the commandments of God. That, as this verse says, leads us to “never-ending happiness” and a place with God.
There are many more verses of scripture that teach doctrine to help us feel grounded, confident, and assured of our value and potential—but hopefully this list has given you a start. May we all help each other never forget how beautiful, needed, and capable we are as children of God.
▶ You may also like: Bishop Caussé on the pursuit of a beautiful soul instead of a beautiful body