This is bold for me....like totally out of character BOLD! But after today...and this month...and the last 6 months, I really can't have a blog entitled Stuff I Love and not include this.
In October, our Stake President spoke in our ward. He is a very direct man...kind of like how I imagine King Benjamin (only not as old)...But really, what Stake President isn't direct? Probably it's the calling and not the man. Anyway, he gave an incredible talk which included several things we should be doing personally, but then he also gave us a challenge as a Stake to read the Book of Mormon in it's entirety by the next Stake Conference (February 5-6).
I have been given challenges like that many times in the 17+ years that I've been a member of this Church. Sometimes I've been successful and other times, not so much. But every other time I have taken on the challenge just for the sake of the challenge...because everyone else was doing it, because I wanted to make the challenger happy, because I didn't think it was an option not to take that kind of a challenge. There is never a BAD reason to read the Book of Mormon. And even if your intentions aren't exactly where they should be, just the very act of being IN the scriptures is beneficial. But this time, I wanted to really READ the scriptures...not just get to the end in the allotted period of time. So I found the Book of Mormon CDs and started listening to one a day (usually three days a week) sometime in the beginning of November. Each CD lasts about an hour and covers about 10 chapters.
As of this morning, I have 4 CDs left and one week until Stake Conference. I am thrilled to have (almost) accomplished the goal of reading the entire Book of Mormon, but I'm even more excited about my testimony that has increased because I've REALLY read it.
I just finished 3 Ne 6-16 today...the account of the Savior's visit to the Nephites. I can't imagine that anyone could read that and not believe more completely in the Savior and recognize his hand in all things. I am grateful for those faithful people who believed first, and then got to SEE and FEEL and KNOW that what they had believed in and hoped for was actually true. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and that through Him we have the opportunity to magnify our callings, live to our fullest potential, and receive indescribable joy.
I have never read the entire Book of Mormon in such a short time. I don't remember ever reading it with as much clarity and understanding. And I certainly don't remember ever having such a strong testimony about it's truthfulness.
"It is a reality known to every student of the scriptures that when we read the scriptures searchingly and prayerfully, we feel the presence of the Lord." (Dallin H. Oaks, "Studying the Scriptures" Nov. 24, 1985
"There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the Book of Mormon. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path." (President Ezra Taft Benson, Nov 1986)
I am grateful for the time that I have during the day to devote to studying the scriptures. The blessings have been immense. My prayers are different. My perspective is different. My motivation is different.
I am grateful for the increased testimony that I have of the Savior and his teachings. And I'm especially grateful that we have a loving Heavenly Father who knows us.
"...for your Father in Heaven knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask Him" (3 Ne 13:8)
I wrote this today because I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I don't know if I really knew that before this experience, but it is one of those things that is forever sealed now. Once again, I am grateful for the ability that we are given to change our minds and to change our hearts.