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My Army

I sit here in front of an old, failing computer, trying to come up with witty sentence structures and complete paragraph topics that might actually catch the attention of the random “Mormon Mommy” who happens across my badly written article. All I can think about is the Styx song playing on my mp3 [Come Sail Away, by the way. Brilliant] and the new "Office" season [which is way too far away], and I realize that I’m not really sure I, a sixteen year old junior, could really write anything here of importance.

I read over previous posts posted by actual Mormon Mommies for some assistance, and I see that most of you have written about your children, or hilarious social experiences, or amazing service opportunities. I don’t have children, or social experiences [seeing as I’m as anti-social as they come], and my service opportunities extend to painting wooden toys for under-privileged children at Youth Conference and picking up garbage on a highway.

Which is where I see: I’m still a young lady [not a kid, thank you]. My writing skills [though I love to write very much] aren’t as artistic and great as some of yours because you’ve probably been writing longer than I’ve been alive [which is a good thing, I promise], and I don’t have half the experiences any of you do to actually write about… and frankly, I’m completely lame. And in total honesty, I’m a little different from other teenage girls and guys my age.

Okay, so I’m not completely “different” from other “regular” teens, but I really don’t relate to most of them.

I’m the weird, antisocial girl in the back row with her nose in a Laurie Halse Anderson novel ["Speak", anyone?] or Harry Potter book. I'm the one who sits in the library during lunch because being around all those people is honest-to-goodness painful. I collect old books instead of Teddy Bears. Most of my friends are actually in books [I have an amazing connection to Ronald Weasley, by the way.] I’m not even kidding. But like everyone else, I like to watch movies and eat junk food and [on occasion] actually hang out with a human being.

So, I’m a little different from other regular teens.

However, the “irregular” teenagers I hang out with are the ones I go to church with [and a couple of very rare exceptions; my best friend for instance]. Basically none of them are shy, and they’re athletic and fun to be around; not like me at all. But I think that I’ve become such good friends with them because we all have the same standards, we all know what to shy away from in the world. In my mind, I sort of depend on my Mormon friends because they keep me away from all the freaky and scary things out there. I think about it, and I realize that I’m staying away from other people because I think that I’m afraid that with one hint of peer pressure, and I’ll succumb. Having Mormon friends is exactly what keeps me strong.

I realize I have an army with me. Sure, I may only have five or six actual friends, but they’re the ones standing by me, helping me and teaching me how to fight off the peer pressure, or drugs and alcohol. We’re seeing together what happens when you relent under the pressure, what happens when you’re the druggie, when you’re the one people take advantage of.

Now, when you have something very specific that is keeping you strong in the church, it’s keeping you strong in general. It might not be your church friends. It might be a talk given twenty years ago by a general authority, one that has stayed with you all this time. It might be someone you were once close to, someone you saw give in to temptation and stray far off the path. It might be something completely unrelated to the church.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, I know I’m only sixteen, but I want you to acknowledge what’s keeping you strong and on your feet, and I want you to take that thing and keep it inside of you. Because being without your “Spiritual Army”, as I like to call it, is exactly how Satan will drag you down.

Alyx is a 16 year old Laurel from south-central Missouri. She is the second of five children. She loves to write, read and play music. It is her plan to be a band director, or an author, or maybe something else. She is not sure yet... and that's OK.

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