It was just a month before Christmas in 2017, and Bekah Sorensen was wondering what to say to her friends and family who didn’t know if they believed in their faith anymore.
The experience got her thinking—why did she believe what she believed?
Around the same time, Sorensen was asked to sing a song in her congregation’s Christmas program. But rather than pick a familiar hymn, Sorensen decided to do something a little more unconventional—she wanted to write her own music.
Sorensen had dabbled in songwriting on the piano and guitar since she was a teenager and had even composed music while serving a full-time mission in Las Vegas, Nevada. So, the idea of writing a song wasn’t as daunting to her as it might be to some. Still, it was usually a time-consuming process—so when the lyrics flowed effortlessly into her mind one day while she was at work in Salt Lake City, she knew the composition was inspired.
“It definitely wasn’t me,” she says of the experience. “Heavenly Father … made that happen.”
A full two years later, on November 30, 2019, Sorensen released her music video, “Choose to Believe,” on YouTube and is confident that its message is one Heavenly Father wants her to share.
Starting out with Christmas overtones and referencing a star, angels, wise men, shepherds, and the Christ child, one might assume “Choose to Believe” is all about the upcoming holiday. But it’s about much more than that, Sorensen says. By covering a range of topics including miracles performed by Jesus Christ and His suffering in Gethsemane, at the song’s core is the concept of choosing to have faith even when one doesn’t have all the answers.
“Anybody from any walk of life, it doesn’t matter who you are—we have this opportunity and this ability to choose to believe what we want,” Sorensen says. “We get to choose whether or not we’re going to act on it or believe what we’ve felt or seen or heard or experienced. And I think that’s probably the biggest thing with those who are struggling, was whether or not they want to believe in a God or in a Savior.”
Although Sorensen has wanted to share her music in the past and plans to share more in the future, this project was a bit of a stretch for her, she says. Since this is the first music video she’s ever recorded, the process felt awkward to her at times. But as she followed the promptings she received, it ultimately all fell into place.
“I felt this impression and this push to just share it in a more active way or intentional way,” she says. “I definitely have a testimony that if Heavenly Father asks me to do something, He’ll also give me the means or provide a way to make it happen, and even better than I could do myself.”
Still, Sorensen isn’t a complete stranger to the stage. In 2015, then-Bekah Pence won the title of Ms. Virginia at age 29, just after she returned from serving her full-time mission. Shortly afterwards she competed in the Ms. United States competition for ages 26 to 39, where she was recognized for dressing modestly, even if it meant asking for alterations to outfits she was required to wear as a contestant.
But unlike many other contestants in the pageant world, Sorensen had never participated in a competition prior to claiming the title of Ms. Virginia. According to a Deseret News article, participating in a pageant wasn’t something she had planned on, and she never expected to win. Instead, Sorensen participated in the pageant because she wanted to share a message that would help empower youths.
Once again, it’s the youths of the Church Sorensen hopes to reach out to and encourage with her song “Choose to Believe.”
“The youth are … still coming out of their childhood. They’re sponges,” Sorensen said. “If I could reach anybody, if I had to pinpoint an age group, I would say the youth because that’s when their testimonies are in the nurturing stages and the growing stages, and I just want them to learn ... how to feel, how to figure out how they receive promptings from the Spirit, and then how to act so that when they feel things … they can later choose to believe.”
Sorensen acknowledges that it isn’t always easy to believe. In her own life, there have been times where she has hoped for blessings or has desired change and it wasn’t the right timing. At moments like these, Sorensen says it’s critical to put your trust in God and keep moving forward, believing that He is there, even if you don’t feel Him as strongly in the moment.
“Any time that I would have another heartbreak, or any time that I would have righteous desires to live certain dreams or to live in a certain place, and I kept feeling like it wasn’t time … I would have to every single time just like, ‘Okay, Heavenly Father, I’m going to have to just choose to believe in those promises, to just trust that you have my best interests in mind and that you are still there, even though this is really hard,’” she says.
And while some might mock believers for trusting in God, by actively choosing to believe in Christ and His promises, individuals invite the blessings that come from His Atonement, Sorensen says.
“I want that relationship with a loving God I believe in. And so when I actively reach out and try to talk to Him, He talks to me and I get answers,” she says. “I just absolutely know that there’s a loving God and a Savior who died for us and He lives for us today. And I love the concept that as we study every day, as we pray to Heavenly Father, we literally invite the Lord to minister to us personally. And He ministers to me daily.”