I have known this Kyle Copeland since he was a boy. He lives in my parents' ward, and it has been a pleasure to become reacquainted with him as he's become an adult. He is now married, and he and his wife recently welcomed a baby into their family.
When I heard his story, I asked him to write down his thoughts and send them to me for possible publication on Mormon Mommy Blogs. His e-mail has been in my inbox for several months.
In light of the recent discussion on what it means when a young man chooses not to serve a mission, I thought I would share his message with all of you. I also have messages from mothers whose sons chose not to serve, which I hope to share with you soon.
These things require our prayerful and careful consideration. The worth of every soul is great in our Father's sight.
I made a decision approximately two years ago to not serve a mission. It has been hard to admit that I made a mistake, but from the knowledge I have gained since then, I wish I had served.
However, to those of you who have made a similar decision, I encourage you to stay strong. Satan will continue to use the fact that you did not serve a mission to bring you down and suppress your potential. Do not let him win! He wants nothing more than for you to feel isolated and eventually fade away from the Church of Christ.
Sometimes it may seem extremely hard to move forward within the Church, but expand an unflinching testimony of Christ and the cloud will lift. If you grasp the truth and stay faithful, you will gradually find your place within the Church and become a good husband, father, and leader to your family.
This Church is a gem to the world, I love it and cleave to what I have learned from it. I wish that the whole world would see the beauty and virtue that the teachings of the Church have produced. It does not necessarily take a two year mission to produce a virtuous and great man. What produces such a man is commitment to the laws and conviction of the principles that God has set forth for the inhabitants of this earth. Seek after them, learn them, and apply them in every aspect of your life and you will find the rare treasure of true happiness.
It may feel awkward and downright difficult to openly state your conviction to God, Christ, and the Church since you do not belong to the Returned Missionary brotherhood, but doing so will fortify and enrich you and your family’s life.
Understand that Satan is real, he wants each of us destroyed, and what better way to destroy the life of a man than to convince him he is worthless.
God has a plan for each one of us, whether we served a mission or not, and He is ready to uplift us and carry us to safety. You must seek out the examples of righteous men and gain that testimony which will carry you through hell and back. Just trust God, and life will work itself out.
God is real, and His Son is Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith was called by God to be a prophet to the world, and within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints you will find simple, pure, and happy truth.
DeNae is a regular contributor and editor for Mormon Mommy Blogs.