About two years ago I shared a special post with you, telling you about a very personal part of myself. In case you missed it, I wrote about my yearly goals, especially the fact that each year I read the Book of Mormon cover to cover.
This started as a personal and very small goal as a young teenager. After receiving my own strong testimony of the book, I committed to reading it each year, and up to this date, have been strict in following up with that promise to myself.
Last Wednesday, on the 20th of September 2017 I read the final verse in Moroni 10 , and once again was overcome with the overwhelming feeling of the truthfulness of this book.
This past nine months have been months of many ups and a few downs, and also a few changes. I have had to push myself to smile through the harder days, to try to figure out the lessons and growth I needed to achieve during the changes, and to stop and smell the roses more often.
One constant in all of these months, has been my reading and studying of my scriptures. As always it was mostly my one or two chapters each morning. But as I felt the challenges arise, I felt myself seeking for more solace and direction in the words of these holy pages. I started reading more, and committed to watching a Mormon message each morning. Soon I discovered that these messages in combination with the words on the pages held even more meaning and were answers to the questions I had. My studying in the morning started to increase, and I found myself reading, and reading, and reading even more. It was as if I was being directed to the answers and comfort I needed, and it gave me lots to think about throughout the day.
I can honestly say that this 22nd time around I have learned even more than I did in the last 21st times.
I have read and studied about families that have left their homes and possessions behind to travel to unknown places.
I have read of wars, and rumors of wars. I have read of industrious civilizations that built great cities, and were destroyed because of wicked leaders or unrighteous living.
I have read about parents and their struggles with wayward children. I have felt their struggles, and seen their pain and heartache. I have witnessed the miracles that happen when these parents chose to turn to the Lord and stay true to the religion they believe in.
And I have read many more impressive and even entertaining records in these pages.
But what has stood out to me the most this time around is, that what some might construe to be stories, are true accounts of real people. They once again have come to life for me. I have felt the realness of these women and men. I have felt their struggles, felt their doubts, concerns and worries, and I have sympathized and been there with them.
Recently I was invited to teach Seminary, a program that allows 14-18 year olds to study the scriptures on a daily basis. This year we are discussing the Book of Mormon. Whilst preparing one of my classes, I was struck by the following verse written in Mormon 8: 35. It reads:
“Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.”
I always knew the Book of Mormon was written for our time, but it hit me once again with such force that these prophets saw our time, they saw us, and because they saw the struggles of our time, they went through the painstakingly slow process of engraving their record and teaching so that we today would have the messages they felt impressed to share with us. Having that in mind, my reading and studying took an even more dedicated effort. I imagined myself going to sleep at night, and seeing my family many generations further. I imagined the life they would be leading, the struggles they would be facing. And then I thought to myself, if God would have shown me these things they would be dealing with then, these lessons I am learning now will help them later. I too would feel the urge to write it, and hope they would read it, and take heed.
I remember reading the words of the prophet Alma. He was not a good man as we first meet him in the book. And then Abinadi enters the picture. He preaches and is imprisoned by the wicked King Noah. As he is tried, Abinadi doesn’t back down, but gives a mighty testimony, and Alma’s heart is touched by the truthfulness of his account. He is moved in such a strong way, he pleads to save Abinadi’s life. Sadly, he isn’t successful, and also has to run to save himself. Abinadi is burned to death,. Alma on the other hand flees and hides to save himself. Yet whilst hiding, the first thing he does, is write down all Abinadi preached so these precious truths would not be lost. I asked myself that burning question again this year. If I was running for my life, in fear of being captured and killed, would I sit down and write a lengthy record of the words of the prophets to keep it for the generations to come? Yet so many don’t even bother to read this cherished book, or aren’t even bothered to find out what it truly contains.
Studying the Book of Mormon has one main purpose, and that is to testify of Christ. Almost half of all of its verses refer to Christ. Reading the book will help you to get to know you Savior better, and develop a personal relationship with Him.
But more so this book comes with a promise. In Moroni 10:4-5 we read this treasured blessing: “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”
As with any theory in life, be it physics, math, or even a rule of grammar, when you see it written down, you can only know it is truly real, by testing it out, by giving it a fair shot, and seeing if it gives the results it promises. The same applies to this book. If you read it, with a real intent, with a question in your heart to figure out if it is true or not, the answer will come. But you need to be willing to make the effort to actually try it.
And when such a testimony comes, you will receive a testimony of other things that will automatically follow. For if the book is true, Joseph Smith who translated it must be a prophet, and the church that he restored must truly be of Christ. It all starts with this book.
I love these words by Jeffrey R Holland, an apostle of the Lord in these days, which he spoke in October 2009 when speaking of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum who gave their life for the gospel of Jesus Christ: “As one of a thousand elements of my own testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon, I submit this as yet one more evidence of its truthfulness. In this their greatest—and last—hour of need, I ask you: would these men blaspheme before God by continuing to fix their lives, their honor, and their own search for eternal salvation on a book (and by implication a church and a ministry) they had fictitiously created out of whole cloth?
Never mind that their wives are about to be widows and their children fatherless. Never mind that their little band of followers will yet be “houseless, friendless and homeless” and that their children will leave footprints of blood across frozen rivers and an untamed prairie floor. Never mind that legions will die and other legions live declaring in the four quarters of this earth that they know the Book of Mormon and the Church which espouses it to be true. Disregard all of that, and tell me whether in this hour of death these two men would enter the presence of their Eternal Judge quoting from and finding solace in a book which, if not the very word of God, would brand them as imposters and charlatans until the end of time? They would not do that! They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.”
I could share so many of the precious lessons I learned, there just are too many of them to share all, especially in one post.
Let me end by sharing these final words by Elder Robert D Hales, another apostle of the Lord in these days. He said the following in 2006: “When we want to speak to God, we pray. And when we want Him to speak to us, we search the scriptures; for His words are spoken through His prophets. He will then teach us as we listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.”
“If you have not heard His voice speaking to you lately, return with new eyes and new ears to the scriptures. They are our spiritual lifeline”
If you have any more questions concerning my beliefs, be sure to visit this page.