My name is Austen Glen Larson. I am nineteen years old, nearly twenty, and up until about a year ago, I lived a life of sin, self indulgence, and pride. I’ve hurt the people I love the most in the world and offended the God who gave me life. I let addiction rule my mind and body from a young age, and I have felt the pain that these hooks inflict. I have hurt the testimonies of others and failed those who I was meant to uplift. Worst of all I have been the cause of a great deal of pain for our lord and savior Jesus Christ while he endured the atonement of man. I was, in essence, “the least of these” described in the scriptures. Shrunken and hardened by sin and self pity, I found my self at rock bottom, my lowest of lows. In this place, forced to my knees in weakness, The Lord began his work.
I reached a point at which my life was going to be over in one of two ways: either I was going to take it or I was going to give it to The Lord. Whether because of cowardice or my upbringing, I chose the latter and since then my life has been changed dramatically. Through strength derived from prayer,I was able to quit, cold turkey, all of my addictions pertaining to both the word of wisdom and the law of chastity. I found self worth, not in my new found sobriety or in my temporal position. I found it in the knowledge that I am a child of God, that there was one who felt my life valuable enough to endure all the pain, grief, and sin to ever appear on the earth. Through the process of repentance, I have felt The Lords love in my heart. Though I am still in the process of forgiving my self, I know The Lord has forgiven me. I feel this forgiveness in the spirit that has filled me as I write this letter. I feel it as I bear my testimony to those who are looking for the light. I know I will feel it as I share the gospel on a mission, if this be The Lords will. I have a burning desire to serve, both in recompense for the damage I have caused and because I know it would be a great experience to prepare me for the rest of my life and an eternity with God. I firmly believe that my experience with deep sin and deeper repentance has left me with the ability to feel extreme compassion and empathy towards my fellow man, which I imagine would be an invaluable tool in the mission field.
I would like to close with my testimony that I know the gospel of Jesus Christ as it has been restored to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith, is true. I know The Book of Mormon to be the word of God and have felt the change that diligent study can have on the heart. I know that because Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, endured the atonement and was crucified upon the cross without sin, he gained power over death. I know that through him all men might return again to live with our Heavenly Father. Through temple marriage, I know I will one day stand in the arms of Christ along side my Eternal companion as well as the rest of my family. I know that as long as I have this knowledge I will be happy, regardless of whether or not The Lord feels a mission call is in the plan for me. I leave these things with you in the name of my lord and savior, even Jesus Christ, Amen.
Thank you for your consideration.
You’re brother in Christ,
Austen Glen Larson