In a sacrament meeting once, the bishop did not have a speaker, so he called out people from the congregation to come up and share their favorite scripture. I was one that was asked to come up.
I held up my triple combination and declared, “This is my favorite scripture.” I then told them that I said this because somehow the scriptures are a “living thing”. Somehow these things are intertwined in our lives. I can read something one day and the next use what I just read to help someone who is struggling. It’s as if the Lord knew where I was reading, what opportunity I would have, and who I was going to be able to share it with. Then some major event happens in my life, or with my family, or in the world, and I read something I have read dozens of times before and it suddenly “jumps out of the page” with force and clarity. I can only sit and wonder how and why the Lord can apply something so appropriate. It seems as if we are reading, but not really understanding, until “life happens.”
Recently, I was challenged to read the Book of Mormon three times in three months. I ignored the challenge many times knowing that was not in my ability. Then when faced with some personal challenges, my Stake President gave that same challenge to me personally in an interview. I was the only one in the room, and with nowhere to hide, I accepted the challenge.
The first time through I was to read and highlight every verse that shows how God speaks to His children. The second time through, I was to mark each line that was written about the Savior Jesus Christ. The last time through the markings were for me – what is this book telling me right now?
The first time through, I was just about on schedule to finish in one month, reading 20 pages per day. The next time through it took a bit longer than one month. The third time through was harder, I don’t know why. My excuse was “It was really speaking to me”. But I accomplished it.
I discovered right off that reading that much was possible to do, and that somehow I had more time to do things in my day than I normal. I also discovered that it made much more sense. If you were to watch a TV show and stop it when a commercial came on, and then start up that same show where you left off in a few days, then start it, and stop again – you would not get much out of the show. That was how I was reading before. This time however, because there was continuation of context, the Book of Mormon made much more sense.
I used three books and put a label on the spine of the subjects that are marked. I now consider these copies, all marked up, and written in the spaces in the margins, all as personal treasures. My testimony of the Book of Mormon was more alive in me than ever – or so I thought.
Later in the year, our Stake had a special Youth Conference called “The Book of Mormon Live”. My wife and I were called to be tribe leaders. We needed to be there for the youth, and to participate in reading the Book of Mormon in three days!
They asked us to write on a card before the conference what our testimony was, which I write here:
I feel this book has been the most influential book I’ve ever read. I believe it was written for us. I believe it was written for me. As I live my life – the words somehow come ALIVE and are applicable to my experiences. It helps me. These prophets who provided it were inspired of God and His Son. The prophet who restored it and translated it saw God and His Son! – I’m grateful.
OK, so this was what I had to say, even after reading it three times like I said. Probably a little light, because it was on a 3×5 card, and we just had a few minutes to write it out, on the spot.
…and here’s the AFTER:
I’ve said I had a testimony of the book. I’ve read it as a youth, young man, and adult. I read it three times in three months just recently, but I had no business saying I had a testimony! I have just had this amazing experience here in these three days. I wasn’t looking forward to this but I would not change it for anything. It was a gift, a beautiful opportunity that was out of this world. I know more now than ever, but I know I need to know more. I do know this is true. Absolutely. The Spirit has witnessed it to me personally all the way through it. I am so grateful to the Lord Jesus Christ and His Father and the spirit.
So, where am I now? Knowing what I have is true I am seeking for more knowledge and understanding. Realizing I have only had a taste, but it is a wonderful taste! I will have many more experiences left in life to apply it’s teachings to. I am still in the midst of the “line upon line” promise. In order to really understand the book, we must come at it with a topic in mind. I am reading through again, with another topic to search, and have several topics lined up for the future. I am so grateful! – Submitted by Joe Willard