A Book of Mormon Story

I don’t know about you, but I love the Mormon Messages. They are so nicely done, and they are so real. I always feel the spirit when I watch them.

Today, I watched this new Mormon Message video:

Watch it! Now!!!

I love the scriptures that he quotes:

“Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.

And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.” – – Alma 40:11-12

This scripture gave him peace and enlightenment. I love this description of the power of the Holy Ghost because that is exactly how I feel the Holy Ghost speak to me. And it is also how I feel when I read those words in the Book of Mormon.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I’ve experienced a death in the family. I have had peace surrounding his situation, but my dad is who I really worry about. I wonder if he is able to feel peace.

I gave him a Book of Mormon last week. I don’t know if he has read it. I hope he does. I hope he makes it to Alma 40. I hope he can learn that Sean is okay. And that he can be, too – if he chooses to be come unto Christ. We experience so much sorrow and difficulty in this lifetime, but we don’t have to forever. I’m so comforted by this fact.

Another scripture was shared:

“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” – Alma 7:11-12

This is another one of my favorite scriptures! When I think of the peace of the gospel, I feel overwhelmed by Christ’s love. I know that the peace I experience came at a high cost! Christ suffered pains, afflictions, sickness, infirmity, and death – so that I could feel peace.

I’m grateful for the Book of Mormon and for the love I feel as I read its pages. If you have never read the Book of Mormon, I strongly encourage you to do so. I know that it is a good and true book. I can echo the words of the prophet Moroni:

“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 know that the Lord will manifest the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon to you if you read it and ask Him. I know that the Book of Mormon will change your life. It will not make difficulties magically disappear, but it will infuse your life with peace and understanding. You will be given the capacity to cope. You will see how the Savior runs to your aid. You will love it.

You can find the Book of Mormon online here. Or request a free copy here.

Obtaining a Testimony of the Book of Mormon

Note: this was originally posted over at We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ for the Book of Mormon Forum. Check out the forum this month. It is great!

One of the things that sets the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints apart from other churches is our belief in the Book of Mormon. Like many other Latter-day Saints, I have a testimony of the truthfulness and power of this book.

I haven’t always had a firm testimony in the Book of Mormon, but I was fortunate enough to be raised in the Church. The Book of Mormon has always been a part of my life. I was baptized when I was eight, and have felt the influence of the gospel for as long as I can remember. Even though I haven’t always had a testimony of the Book of Mormon, I have to admit, I can’t think of a time when I have doubted it’s truth. I had faith that the Book of Mormon was true – based on the testimony of others. However, over time, faith and borrowed light wasn’t enough. I needed to gain my own testimony.

As I got older, I started to be filled with a genuine desire to know if the Book of Mormon was true. Over time, the desire to know if the Book of Mormon was true translated into the willingness to diligently study the Book of Mormon and other scriptures.

So, I started studying the Book of Mormon. I started applying the lessons I learned in the Book of Mormon. And guess what happened? Nothing much. I prayed, and studied, and felt fine about it, but no visions, no crying, no falling on my knees.

I feel like my experience isn’t uncommon. When I was a teenager, I read the book of Mormon, and I felt like what I had read was good, and I figured it was true, but I was still waiting for my moment when I would have some kind of Heavenly Visitation or hear a voice. I was waiting until I cried a lot (I’m not much of a cryer, so it never happened for me). Because I hadn’t seen a vision, because I hadn’t cried a lot, I wondered if I had received a witness of the Book of Mormon. I continued faithful – sure that testimony is faith affirmed, and that my faith would be affirmed at some point in the future.

While waiting for this groundbreaking Spiritual experience, I was gaining a witness of the Book of Mormon – line upon line, precept upon precept. And, I finally came to realize that the witness that I’ve received of the Book of Mormon has been cumulative rather than singular. It has been a bunch of small experiences with the scriptures and Book of Mormon that have worked together to be a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

So – what is my witness? What are these small blessings?

Because I spend time each day, studying the Book of Mormon, my life is better. The book of Mormon has illuminated my soul. (See Alma 5:7.) Even though I am far from perfection, even though I struggle with sins and weakness, I feel like the Lord, in the midst of my darkness lights the path before me. And it is the Book of Mormon that has been the way that He has lightened my path. The light has come upon me like a sunrise, a little at a time, until, eventually, I’m bathed in the warm sun.

As I have continued reading and pondering the scriptures, I have had more experiences with the Spirit. For the most part, they haven’t been emotional or overwhelming in the “girls’-camp-bawl-my-eyes-out-way”. I haven’t felt my bosom burn, as many people do. Instead, I have experienced the following: “13 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy,” (Doctrine and Covenants 11:13).

I have felt enough of this joy and enlightenment, and feel it whenever I read the Book of Mormon, that my soul truly hungers for it. I don’t mean this in a self-righteous way. In fact, my soul hungers for the enlightenment and joy of the Spirit precisely because of my weakness and affinity toward sin. Because of the joy and peace I feel as I study the Book of Mormon, I hunger for the edification of the Spirit. It helps me make sense of my life. I feel rejuvenated and nourished. I feel able to “make it.” Studying the Book of Mormon fills me with peace and hope. I have felt the love of God pour on me as I’ve studied the Book of Mormon. And I’ve come to know that there are only a few other things we can do to feel this kind of nourishment, love, peace, and hope. Not everyone has a temple nearby. We can’t always spend our time at Church; however, we can access the blessings of peace that the Lord will bestow upon us daily through the Book of Mormon.

This blessing, I have come to know, is my witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The blessing of an illuminated soul, an enlightened mind, and joy is what we hunger for. I know that many people don’t understand how to find these blessings. They look for it through drugs, sex, or some other kind of way. Yet, we can access these blessings daily through scripture study. I have been able to access these blessings through daily study. Experiencing these blessings, these miracles, is how I’ve come to know that the Book of Mormon is true.

You can find out more about the Book of Mormon here.

Giving Away a Book of Mormon

So…I sent a Book of Mormon off to someone today. I guess I “placed” it. I don’t know what to say, but it is on it’s way.

I’ve given away a few Books of Mormon. In ninth grade, I gave a Book of Mormon to my teacher Mrs. Dellapolla. She taught my World Cultures class. As I look back, I think that she was my favorite teacher. She had actually lived life before teaching. She was a refugee from Hungary. And somehow she had decided to deal with a bunch of ninth graders. I’m grateful for that.

I’ve given a book of Mormon to a college professor, a couple of colleagues, and even a door to door salesperson. None of them were really all that “scary” to give away. I was open, and tried to give them the Book of Mormon with my testimony only (and no expectations) – I figure I can let the Spirit work on them after I bear testimony.

Today was a little different. Today, I gave a Book of Mormon to my dad.

It’s funny. I’ve known him for 33 years, and yet I’ve never attempted giving him a Book of Mormon. I’ve never really felt right about it. It isn’t that I was ashamed, it’s just that I hadn’t felt the spirit prompt me to before. I’ve always wanted to give him one, but I didn’t want it to be done in vain.

So, I’ve waited.

And this year, the right opportunity has presented itself. Things have been hard on my family – my dad most of all. And my heart aches for him. I’ve been praying for him. I feel comfort knowing that my ancestors have the gospel. I know that there are many people both here and beyond the grave who are “rooting” for Him.

I don’t want to air his dirty laundry, but I can say that I have been through some of the things he’s going through – so I have empathy. Additionally, he is experiencing things that I can only imagine – but I feel like I can sympathize. One thing I know, as I’ve struggled in life, I’ve been able to turn to the scriptures, especially The Book of Mormon for support. It truly is like a friend – who comforts, illuminates, and uplifts. So, I sent my dad a Book of Mormon.

I hope he will read it. I don’t know if he will. If anything, I hope that he reads the letter I wrote to him, and realizes that

  • Heavenly Father loves him, personally. – Adversity is proof that Heavenly Father Loves us – He, like a father, is allowing us to gain the experience we need to “walk on our own two feet”. This doesn’t come without some stumbling.
  • We can find strength during our trials. – We will always experience trial, but we don’t need to experience them alone.
  • The Book of Mormon can bring us happiness. – I don’t mean skippy, bouncy, tra-la-la happy. I don’t mean pleasure/ecstasy. I mean deep, abiding happiness. Hope. Peace. The kind of happiness that can comfort us even deep in the pits of our despair.
  • The Lord pleads with us – to Heal us. – Is there any more hopeful message – that we can be healed?

Everything is working out – nearly serendipitously. (Even though I know it isn’t serendipity…) I’ve been working on this Book of Mormon forum, The October Ensign is all about the Book of Mormon, Elder Scott gave an amazing Conference talk on Scripture – especially the Book of Mormon, and my brother’s (who passed away earlier this year) birthday is Friday. It is the perfect time for me to send it to him.

So I did.

Lehi’s Dream

I love Lehi’s Dream. It is one of the most informative and uplifting vision in all of recorded scripture. If you are not familiar with it, you can read it 1 Nephi 8. A few years ago, I “illustrated” Lehi’s dream – using mixed media. I’ve decided to post it here. I hope you enjoy.

Lehi’s Dream

“And it came to pass that while my father tarried in the wilderness, he spake unto us, saying: Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision…

And it came to pass that I saw a man and he was dressed in a white robe, and he came and stood before me…

And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.” – 1 Nephi 8:2, 5, 7