Come Unto Me
Throughout my teenage years, I had an addiction to pornography. When I tried overcoming my problem, I only shifted my addictions to the use of dangerous substances like prescription pain medication, ecstasy, and marijuana. I experimented with everything I could get my hands on. I thought it could muffle the pain and guilt I felt.
When I was 19 years old, everything in my life seemed to spiral downward. I was studying at the university and living at home, but I felt that my parents and Father in Heaven didn’t love me anymore because of all the things I had done and was continuing to do. My parents and friends couldn’t trust me, I was failing my classes, and I was turning more and more to my addictions, searching for a refuge but finding none. I allowed the adversary to take me so far down the wrong path that I didn’t believe I could ever return to the goodness I once knew. I was deep in my addictions and felt I was a condemned soul. I believed there was no hope for me.
I did all I could to hide the truth from my family. Even when my father confronted me about everything, I lied and told him I was fine. My parents could see right through me, and it ripped me apart. I felt it would be easier for everyone if I just ended my life. I knew it was the adversary’s cruel answer for things, but I wanted to give in.
I immediately went upstairs in tears, telling my father I wanted to go for a drive with him later. I had intentions of telling him everything so that he would kick me out and tell me I wasn’t his son anymore. I thought that God had already given up on me, so why wouldn’t my father?
It was very dark that night. As my father drove, I told him everything and then waited for his answer. I stared silently at the dashboard as the tears fell. I braced myself for the inevitable. Instead, he stopped the truck and said a prayer; then we talked. For the first time in years, I felt the tiniest flicker of hope. If my dad was willing to help, then maybe God hadn’t given up either. My father later said of that night:
“I remember the night Skyler asked me to go for a ride. The Spirit prompted me to just listen. As Skyler poured his soul to me, I felt the power of the Atonement enter into our relationship stronger than it ever had. There was no anger, no wanting to condemn—just a feeling of love for my son. I was proud of him and his willingness to come to me in his moment of despair.”
Over the next year and a half, I met weekly with my bishop. I began the process of repentance by confessing about my addictions, and then getting the help I needed to forsake them. As I obeyed, the power of the gospel gave me the strength I needed to overcome. It was a glorious process of healing as God humbled me enough to find faith again in Him and in the saving power of His Son.
As I chose to live worthily, I soon began to experience the happiness of having the Spirit in great abundance in my life. I know I experienced the power of the Savior because I was seeking, knocking, and asking for it. His grace and mercy flooded over me. I saw my weaknesses as problems that could be solved and wisdom to be gained.
These experiences have now become the deep well from which I draw my testimony as a full-time missionary. I am so thankful for the trials that God allows us to go through and for the strength that comes through obedience. I have learned valuable lessons of self-mastery and humility, and have applied them as a missionary and a disciple of Christ. I love the opportunity I have every day to teach about the doctrine of Christ and His Atonement. As the Savior taught, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32).
I know I wouldn’t have the life I do now without going through the trials I did, but I have elected to be His servant. I want to do the best I can to always be worthy of His Spirit. I know that my Redeemer lives, and He has come to me with open arms as I have humbled myself and come to Him.