In a new video released Thursday by the Church, Elder Peter M. Johnson tells a story of being chased by a gang in Queens, New York, as a young boy. In the video, young Peter runs into an auditorium and is suddenly on a stage facing himself—now a grown man, Elder Johnson is a General Authority Seventy who is currently serving as president of the Manchester England Mission. Elder Johnson walks viewers through his growing-up years, which included the divorce of his parents and his own involvement in a gang, before explaining that it was his coming to know Jesus Christ that allowed him to see what he was capable of becoming.
“There [are] those that attempt to deceive us—to distract us from who we can become. And in the midst of being deceived and being distracted, we can be discouraged. We can lose hope. We can forget our true identity, and not only our true identity but who we can become. Because if we don’t know who we are, it’s very difficult to realize who we can become,” Elder Johnson explains.
“When you have feelings of deception or there [are] things that are distracting, or [you] have feelings of discouragement, we will feel those things. And it’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with being discouraged. That’s part of this life. There are times and moments that we’ll feel discouraged, but we don’t have to stay in that condition or in that moment. We can overcome those moments in time by strengthening our relationship with our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I’m grateful that I had those moments of discouragement, but they don’t define me.”
Watch the full video here.