I have a dear friend who is like a sister to me. Since I got married two years ago, we drifted apart a little, although we still keep in touch by email and phone. I moved from Draper to Salt Lake City and I stay so busy, arranging time to spend with her has been hard. She found a friend on my space and has been hanging out with her a lot. She started drinking and going to clubs with this friend. My friend has always had trouble with migraines and sinus infections. Now, I think she’s gotten bad news from her female doctor. She won’t talk to anybody about it. She’s even mad at me. When I asked her if she was mad at me, she told me she was and that there was no reason and apologized. I hate the fact that she has gone the opposite direction from me. She’s really upset with life and wants to die. I’m so worried about her. What can I do to help her. I think she got mad at me when I invited her to church with me, so I feel I will alienate her more if I bring up the Gospel. What do I do?
Candice, from Salt Lake City, Utah
Apparently your friend is not a member of the Mormon Church, and you are interested in helping her accept the gospel. You may yet be a powerful influence in her life, but there is one principal of the gospel that you must consider, which is key to the achieving of your objective, and that is the 11th Article of Faith—
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
You must respect her beliefs, and demonstrate that respect by the accepting way that you associate with her as her friend. When she comes to understand that you really like her as she is, she may be able to listen to some suggestions for her continued joy and happiness. She also may be willing to accompany you to some church function as your friend if she does not feel threatened by your attempts to convert her. If the example of your life demonstrates the joy and happiness you feel by keeping your standards, she may be interested in learning more about what makes you the desirable person that you are. Answering her questions about what makes you so happy and fulfilled is a much better way to interest her in the gospel than preaching to her would be. Also, since our Father in Heaven is much more interested in her eternal welfare than we could possibly be, it would be well to continually and earnestly pray to Him to soften her heart toward the gospel. Your faithful, earnest and continuous prayers in her behalf could be a most powerful force for good in her life.