“A Lamp unto My Feet,” Ensign, Oct. 1993, 68
Sleep seemed beyond reach that night. I could find no way to turn off the procession of disturbing thoughts that troubled my mind. Seeking peace, I prayed, asking the Lord about my concern: How I could fulfill my commitment to be a good wife and a good mother amid the iniquity of the world? I was especially worried about helping my one-year-old daughter grow up uncontaminated by the immorality we so often see or hear in movies, music, television, or other media, even when we are careful in our selection.
As I prayed, suddenly I remembered a bit of counsel from Mormon, words he had written to his son Moroni after reviewing the horrors of war and wickedness among the unrepentant Nephites. “Be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written”—(and I thought at this point, or the things which you have seen, or read, or heard)—“grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may … the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever.” (Moro. 9:25.)
It was exactly the counsel I needed during that sleepless night. The Book of Mormon had come to my rescue again!
For me, the Book of Mormon has always been a powerful way to eliminate depressing or negative thoughts. More than that, it has been, as King David said, “a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105) through life.
I read the Book of Mormon for the first time about a year after I joined the Church. I remember well the night I obtained my testimony of this sacred record. Nephi’s vision of events that were yet future for him—in chapters eleven through fifteen of 1 Nephi—was impressed with amazing clarity on my mind, and I felt I could testify of everything he wrote. [1 Ne. 11–15]
While we were studying the Book of Mormon in seminary, I read it through in a month, and I learned by heart some key references that have always come to mind whenever I need them.
Since that time, I have read the book many times, especially after our prophet declared that we should study it continually. (See Ensign, Nov. 1986, p. 5.) The teachings of the Book of Mormon are the lamp by which I examine my life’s decisions.
As a missionary, I found that the Book of Mormon confirmed what the Indians of my country already knew, through legends and traditions, about their ancestors and the ministry of the Savior among them. During my mission, I had to draw spiritual support from the book since members of my family, who had not approved of my decision to serve, offered none.
Later, when I took some university classes that seemed to contradict gospel teachings, the Book of Mormon was my iron rod; it strengthened my faith, and I had the opportunity to share both the book and my testimony with some of my classmates.
Before I married, I worked as a teacher. One day, having no class scheduled for an hour, I closed my classroom door and started to read the Book of Mormon. Although I consider myself generally a happy person who tries to see the good side of situations, on that particular occasion I felt very depressed, tired of some of my struggles in life. I had never thought of suicide and did not consider it then, but I remember thinking, It might be nice to pass through the veil. If the Lord called me now into his presence, maybe things could be better.
Then I read the words in Alma 5:15: “Do you look forward with an eye of faith … to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?” As I continued reading, each line penetrated into my mind and into my heart, especially part of verse 27: [Alma 5:27] “Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ … ?”
Immediately I was ashamed of my childish thought that my mission on this earth might already have been fulfilled. Since that occasion, I have received abundant blessings in this life, and I now know that I still have a lot to learn here.
For my husband and me, the Book of Mormon is an important part of our marriage. It is present in our everyday conversation with each other. But most of all, we rely on it when we analyze problems or make important decisions. We try, like Nephi, to “liken all scriptures unto us.” (1 Ne. 19:23.) We like to keep as our ideal and our goal the description that Jacob gave of our ancestors, the Lamanites of his day: “Their husbands love their wives, and their wives love their husbands; and their husbands and their wives love their children.” (Jacob 3:7.)
After our marriage, surgical treatment was necessary to help make it possible for me to bear children. I was afraid of the surgery because during my teens I had suffered problems with my heart; even though I had been given reassurances by my doctor, I feared anesthesia, thinking it might somehow affect me adversely. The night before the operation, my husband stayed at the hospital with me and we read the Book of Mormon together. As I started to feel the effects of the medication I had been given, I prayed to the Lord to help me control my fear. These words of Mormon came into my mind: “Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power … ?” (Morm. 5:23.)
Awakening after the operation was an unpleasant experience. I could not talk. I heard my husband’s voice and wanted to speak, to thank him for his support, but I couldn’t. My physical faculties were so limited that I thought about Alma the younger when he fell down, chastised by an angel, and spent two days unable to talk or move. (See Mosiah 27:10–23; Alma 36:5–23.) I remembered that the prophet was born to a new life at that time, repenting to fulfill his important mission, and I realized that I was suffering through my own experience to fulfill the important mission of being a mother, to participate in giving life to our Heavenly Father’s children.
The Book of Mormon has been a guide for me in every facet of my life. I know that it is a record for our days, and many times I have shed tears of gratitude for those great and noble men who wrote it—Nephi, Alma, King Benjamin, Helaman, Mormon, Moroni, and all of those others who were faithful to the command of the Lord. They produced a work to save the souls of people in these last days, a people they did not know but nevertheless saw through the eyes of their strong faith. (See Morm. 8:35.)