December 26, 2014
I accepted a challenge from my Relief Society president (who was challenged in stake conference) to read the Book of Mormon by Christmas. This was the weekend of October 25 and 26. I wondered if I would be able to accomplish my goal, because I also had a goal to write 50,000 words of a novel in the month of November. I’m happy to say, I achieved both goals.
When I started reading the Book of Mormon, I had two things in mind. I wanted a stronger testimony of the truthfulness of that book, and of God and the Gospel. I have experienced this. I gained new insights about the nature of God, and his love for me and all his children.
I also asked Heavenly Father to bless me with a stronger testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet. Joseph Smith is still not a passionate part of my testimony of the Gospel, but I’ve come to accept him as the prophet of the restoration. I whole heartedly believe that the Book of Mormon is scripture handed down from God to his servants anciently. I believe Joseph Smith’s account of receiving the plates and translating them. I guess there are still things about Joseph Smith the man that I find rocky, but I have a testimony in Joseph Smith the Prophet.
I also had an unexpected blessing from reading for half an hour a day. In November, the only writing time I had consistently was nap time. That was about two hours every day, which I had learned from the previous year’s NaNoWriMo experience is how long it takes to write my daily quota. But I was determined to read, too. I asked God to bless me for making the sacrifice of my time. He truly did. I was faster in writing, more creative than I’m sure I would have been. It was amazing that I met my writing goal without so much as a frenzied cram time at the end of the month. With a toddler and a new baby, that is nothing short of miraculous. I chalk it up to reading the scriptures every day before I wrote, and trusting God.
I learned so much from reading the Book of Mormon so quickly. The storyline flowed so well, and I was able to understand how the Jaredites fit into everything. The numerous times the Nephites went through the pride cycle blew my mind. Couldn’t they see the pattern, historically, and change their ways? But I saw so much of what they did in my own life, as well as the world around me. It was scary. I also saw how contentions within the Church can be such a detriment to the spiritual wellbeing of its members. I learned that I must repent more often, more fervently. I need to be more accepting of those around me, and learn to be more willing to serve.
I have decided to repent and ask God’s forgiveness like I’m teaching Theo how to ask for mine. When I pray, I will say,
I’m sorry for…
It was wrong because…
In the future I will…
Do you forgive me?
This is maybe the biggest lesson I came away with. I desperately want Christ to accept me on the judgment day, and I want to do everything I can to be in good standing with him. I know I’m not perfect, but he doesn’t expect that of me in this stage of my eternal life. But he does want me to give him my heart and trust in him.
It was cool seeing more similarities between the Book of Mormon and the Bible than I’ve ever seen. They are very different, but I can better see now how one culture grew from the other.
The way I studied the scriptures as I read was underlining the names and titles of the Godhead as I went along. It was wonderful seeing all the references they make to God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.
There are so many powerful stories from the Book of Mormon. So many people who’s faith was so strong, and who worked amazing miracles in their own and other’s lives. But my favorite part was when Christ appeared to them. I loved trying to imagine myself in his presence. How incredible it must have been. And his teachings are so simple, but powerful. I know that if I follow those teachings, I will be happy.
I have a testimony of Jesus Christ, and his Atonement. I have a testimony of his role in my life, and that if I repent and come to him, he will save me. It is only through his mercy that I will be able to stand in front of God the Eternal Father with confidence, and not be ashamed. I want that so badly, and I hope that I can do the things that will keep me in good standing with Christ.
I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Reading it helped me feel closer to my Heavenly Father. I hope that I can pass down this love of the scriptures to my children, and teach them how to be faithful to the Lord.