During the Prophet’s closing remarks at last October’s General Conference, he invited us to join in the celebration of the bicentennial of Joseph Smith’s First Vision. In the spring of 1820, Joseph Smith asked of God…and that seeking and asking resulted in a marvelous experience that changed the course of history.
200 years of light.
President Nelson invited us to “Select your own questions. Design your own plan. Immerse yourself in the glorious light of the Restoration.” That’s what I’ve been trying to do over the past 6 months.
One of the questions that he suggested we ponder on is this: How would my life be different if my knowledge gained from the Book of Mormon were suddenly taken away?
As I was watching a Don’t Miss This video at the beginning of this year, and we were studying the introductory pages of The Book of Mormon, Emily Belle Freeman invited us (anyone) to ponder on these two questions…
What have I seen because I have The Book of Mormon in my life?
What do I know because I have The Book of Mormon in my life?
And then, when the time is right and we have received our own personal witness, she invited us to sign our name at the bottom, next to the other witnesses, and write “I am a witness of this book. I know that it is true. I know because of what I have seen and experienced.”
You don’t have to be a witness of the Gold Plates in order to be a witness of The Book of Mormon. Only a select few were given the privilege to be a witness of the plates. Heavenly Father gives everyone, all of His children, the opportunity and privilege to be a witness of The Book of Mormon. This witness comes through the Holy Ghost.
“Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
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.” (Moroni 10:3-5)
I loved this idea. I have read The Book of Mormon many times throughout my life. And I do know that it is true. It came from God. I have received many witnesses of that. But I hadn’t ever really thought through the questions of “What have I seen and what do I know because I have The Book of Mormon in my life?”
I also wanted to ponder more deeply on the question that President Nelson posed: How would my life be different if my knowledge gained from the Book of Mormon were suddenly taken away?
I decided that this time, I would pay attention to thoughts, impressions, and experiences that I had (and am still having) throughout my study of The Book of Mormon.
So over the past few months, I’ve been writing things down, on the pages that have the testimonies of the three witnesses and the eight witnesses.
I’m only about 1/4 of the way through my study of the book right now, but this is what I have recorded so far:
Because of The Book of Mormon, I know that God wants to speak to me and that I can speak directly to Him to get answers to my questions. He wants a real relationship with me. 1/15/20
The Book of Mormon shows me that Jesus’s tender mercies are everywhere. I just have to open my eyes and ears and then they can’t be missed. They are everywhere. He is everywhere. 1/15/20
Because of The Book of Mormon, I know the answers to life’s most compelling questions (Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where happens after this life?) 1/16/20
There is a power in this book that I can’t explain. All I know is that when I am in the habit of daily immersing myself in The Book of Mormon and seriously studying it, I feel extra power in my life. I feel and underlying and overarching feeling of peace and joy, no matter my current circumstances. The constant state of these feelings is missing when I am not in the habit of daily immersing myself in The Book of Mormon. The void is real. 1/17/20
The more time I spend in The Book of Mormon, the less anxiety I feel and it is replaced with faith and hope. 2/7/20
As I look for the tender mercies of the Lord throughout the pages and stories of The Book of Mormon, I find them everywhere. And this search spills over into my own life. I don’t have to look far to find Jesus tenderly caring for me. He is everywhere. The more I look, the more I find. And my relationship with Jesus Christ is strengthened and deepened. 2/7/20
The more time I spend in The Book of Mormon, the more easily and more often I recognize the Lord, through the Holy Ghost, speaking to me. 2/8/20
Because of The Book of Mormon, I know that God loves all of His people in all parts of the world. He speaks to all people and desires to have a relationship with them. 2/12/20
Because of The Book of Mormon, I know about my mission in life. I know that I am here to gather scattered Israel on both sides of the veil. 2/12/20
The things that I learn in The Book of Mormon inspire me to be better and to intentionally live after the manner of happiness. 2/12/20
As I study The Book of Mormon, my true, personal relationship with the Savior is restored and strengthened. (2/17/20)
The more I spend time in The Book of Mormon, the more I remember the Lord and seek His help and recognize that help in times of need. 2/27/20
The Book of Mormon teaches me the gospel and ways of the Lord and that knowledge gives me peace in uncertain times. 3/16/20
The stories in The Book of Mormon of personal experiences with the Lord and His dealings with individual people inspire me to come unto Christ and change. 3/23/20
Because of The Book of Mormon, I know that the Lord never gives up on me. He keeps working with me, nourishing me, and pruning me, for as long as it takes, with the intent to preserve me, fully restore me, and exalt me. 3/20/20
Because of The Book of Mormon, I know that the Lord gives second (and third, fourth, etc.) chances. He has given me the gift of repentance, the chance to turn around, to try again, and to change. 3/22/20
The knowledge and perspective that I gain in The Book of Mormon makes my home and my heart into a refuge from the storms of life. When the outside world is in commotion, chaos, fear, panic, and confusion, my home and heart can be full of peace, faith, hope, love, joy, and optimism. 3/24/20
When I am consistently immersing myself in The Book of Mormon, I have greater vision and ability to see what to focus on, where to go, and what to do. 3/25/20
I look forward to more discoveries as I continue to study throughout this year.
I could definitely already sign my name on this line since I am already a witness of this book, but I think I’m going to save it until I finish The Book of Mormon at the end of this year. Whenever I finish reading it for another time, I love to go to a quiet place where I can be alone to pray. I take Moroni’s challenge again and pray for another witness of the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon. And I always receive it through the Holy Ghost.
I’m looking forward to saying that prayer again at the end of this year, telling Heavenly Father all about my experience with my study this time (because every time is a little bit (or a lot) different), receiving another witness, and then signing my name on that line.