We have been studying The Book of Mormon throughout this year. The past several times that I (or the kids) have read and finished The Book of Mormon, I like to make it a special occasion since it’s a big accomplishment and a sacred experience.
Here are a few recent experiences/photos…
During the Women’s Session of General Conference in October 2018, President Nelson gave the women a few challenges. One was this:
“Second, I invite you to read the Book of Mormon between now and the end of the year. As impossible as that may seem with all you are trying to manage in your life, if you will accept this invitation with full purpose of heart, the Lord will help you find a way to achieve it. And, as you prayerfully study, I promise that the heavens will open for you. The Lord will bless you with increased inspiration and revelation.
As you read, I would encourage you to mark each verse that speaks of or refers to the Savior. Then, be intentional about talking of Christ, rejoicing in Christ, and preaching of Christ with your families and friends. You and they will be drawn closer to the Savior through this process. And changes, even miracles, will begin to happen.”
I had never read the entire Book of Mormon this quickly (86 days) before but I decided to accept the challenge. As I was getting ready to start, I remembered that I had had just bought myself a pink journaling edition of The Book of Mormon from Line Upon Line Co.
I was saving it for a Christmas present to myself but I figured that this would be a good opportunity to use it. I figured that since I was using this journaling edition, I wanted to take advantage of all the space to write my thoughts. So that meant that I wouldn’t just be reading. I would be slowing down…way down…and actually trying to really learn and think and ponder and wonder what things meant and how they applied to me.
I ended up spending many, many hours (much more than my typical reading) over the next 2 1/2 months, studying, pondering, and recording the things that I was reading.
When I finished reading Moroni 10 on December 31, 2018, I went into my closet and prayed to know if The Book of Mormon was truly from God. I again received a witness that it is indeed of God and that He sent The Book of Mormon to me as a guidebook for my life so I can return to live with Him.
I realized that all of those hours of studying and pondering had significantly increased and deepened my testimony of The Book of Mormon. Yes, I had read it multiple times before, but this time was different. I took the time to really understand what I was reading.
And now, 2 years later, I can see even more clearly how that particular study of The Book of Mormon changed my testimony in vital ways. My relationship with the Savior was strengthened. I became more fully converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to His church. Of course, it’s all still a work in progress, but I can now see that that experience was an important step in strengthening my foundation. And each of the times that I have read/studied The Book of Mormon since then, that foundation has been strengthened even more.
At the beginning of 2019 I set a goal to finish the Book of Mormon by my birthday in June. On the morning of my birthday, I went to the temple bright and early and finished reading it in the Celestial Room (the temple copy since I didn’t take my own copy inside). That was a really neat experience.
When Landon was 6 1/2, we set a goal together for him to read The Book of Mormon, cover to cover, (with some help from me) and finish it by his 8th birthday. After completing each page, he would write in the margin, something that he learned from that page.
This copy of The Book of Mormon is (and will increase as the years go by) one of his greatest and most priceless treasures.
When Porter was 6 1/2, he set the same goal – to read the entire Book of Mormon by his 8th birthday. Just like Landon, after completing each page, he would write in the margin, something that he learned from that day’s reading.
The night before his birthday, I set up this 8 that I made from a string of lights for him to sit in the middle of the next morning as he finished reading and then took Moroni’s challenge to pray about if it was true.
Evelyn is 6 1/2 now so towards the end of November, she decided to follow in her big brothers’ footsteps and start her goal of reading and finishing by her 8th birthday. It’s a special experience for me to do one on one reading with her and explain what we are reading, just like I did with the boys.
We have quite a few copies of The Book of Mormon at our house. This shelf only has a handful of what we own (we have 30+ total spread throughout our house) and almost all of these have been marked up and written in during my studies (and the kids studies) over the years. It may seem a little excessive to have so many copies of the same book, but each copy has become so special to me/us and I can’t bear to part with them.
Since we were all on the last chapter and the weather was super nice for the end of December, this morning we all went outside and found a quiet place to be alone, finish our personal study, and take Moroni’s challenge (praying and asking God if The Book of Mormon is true).
Roxanne decided on the back deck…
Porter chose the middle of the backyard…
Landon chose the tree fort…
Evelyn chose the oak tree (I didn’t get a picture of her for some reason)…
And I chose the chicken coop (the outside… not the inside. haha).
There were 2 main things that I focused on during my study this time around… searching for/ discovering as many tender mercies as I could find (I wrote about that in this post), and thinking about the question “What have I seen and know because of The Book of Mormon?” (I wrote about that in this post).
First, the tender mercies…
“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)
Remember how merciful the Lord has been throughout all time. He is a God of miracles and a God of mercy. Throughout this year I have been searching for the tender mercies of the Lord in the Book of Mormon. I found 1,573 of them, and I’m sure there are sill more to be found. I have also seen more than I can count in my own life as well.
And second, the things that I have seen and know…
This were the things that I wrote down throughout the year… the crazy year called 2020.
- 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
- Because of the Book of Mormon, I know that Jesus is the Christ. He is the Messiah. He is Jehovah. He is the Great I Am. (4/14/20)
- Through the words of the Book of Mormon the Lord speaks to me and pricks my heart when changes need to be made. (8/10/20)
- The Book of Mormon was written for our day and teaches about how to keep America free and what will bring her down. (8/15/20)
- Because of the Book of Mormon, I know that I am of the House of Israel and God fulfills His promises. (11/5/20)
- Because of the Book of Mormon I know that America is a covenant land. (11/5/20)
- Because of the Book of Mormon, I know that miracles come from faith in Jesus Christ. (12/27/20)
After I finished reading and taking Moroni’s challenge by praying for a witness from the Holy Ghost, I signed my name on the line. I am a witness of this book. I know that it is true. I know because of what I have seen and experienced.
In the introduction to The Book of Mormon, it says “The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.””
I have experienced this in my own life. If you haven’t, I invite you to find out for yourself.