NFL Hall of Famer and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young gestures to fans as his No. 8 is retired during a halftime ceremony at the 49ers' NFL football game against the New England Patriots on Sunday, Oct. 5, 2008, in San Francisco.
Editor's note: This is an excerpt from "Why I'm a Mormon" edited by Joseph A. Cannon, which includes the testimonies of 53 influential members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
When I was young, I had trouble leaving home to go to school. In second grade, my mom had to walk me to school and then stay in class so that I wouldn't run home. Home has always been a centerpiece in my life, both as a physical place and as a state of mind. For many years I have contemplated, even yearned, for an eternal home and have made it a quest to find it.
I was born into a long and storied genealogy of faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but it has become the core of who I am through the rigors of my life.
Every time I have been pushed to my extremes — whether in discomfort, fatigue, depression, anxiety, frustration or through mistreatment or resentment — in those times, I have always found a sense of home through my Savior Jesus Christ and the calming influence of the Holy Spirit. My entire life I have found comfort and peace, or at least patience and perspective, giving me strength to go forward in faith. That sense of home is never further away than an act of faith.
As a Mormon, I am inspired daily by that which is plain and simple yet incomparable in its depth and personal impact. Through the gospel of Jesus Christ and through Christ's Atonement in Gethsemane, my sins are paid as long as I believe in him, take his name, humble myself and repent.
And I have been repenting my whole life. Repentance is an invitation from the Creator of this earth to participate with him in the Atonement. I believe that I need his sacrament weekly to renew myself. This constant renewing process defines my life and is the greatest gift that I have ever been given. Without it I am left to myself, alone, powerless to overcome a fallen world. In other words, I cannot get home by my own wits and guile. And I want to be home.
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I have always strived to see how good I could be — whether in educational or professional endeavors. But my quest to return home also applies to the most precious and vital relationships that define me: husband, father, son, brother or friend. I cannot embark on a quest to be my best in these roles without a Savior, without his gospel, without scripture that teaches me how the Holy Ghost works His heavenly science to wash away sins and renew me. I've always wondered how I could ever come close to fulfilling Jesus' invitation to "believe in me." Only by constant refinement, by qualifying for the Atonement through faith and obedience, can I walk that path.
Steve Young was a San Francisco 49ers quarterback who was named Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl XXIX and in 2005 was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is currently the managing director and cofounder of Huntsman Gay Global Capital.
More excerpts from "Why I'm a Mormon":
Larry Echo Hawk
Cecilie "CC" Lundgreen