“How the Book of Mormon Found Me,” Ensign, Jan. 2001, 68–69
Years ago I walked into a bookstore in Kumasi, Ghana. As I moved from shelf to shelf, pulling out one book after another, I spotted a book with a light blue cover, worn and faded. It carried the title Book of Mormon. I picked it up, dusted it off, and read a few sentences. I did not understand what I read, and I could not relate it to the Bible. But as I held the book in my hands, I had the impression it was scripture. However, as I had with other books I had picked up, I put it back on the shelf and continued looking at books.
A few minutes later, I found myself in the same area of the store, and I once again noticed the blue book. This time I looked at the table of contents and found a lot of strange and unfamiliar names. I thought, If this is scripture, why do I not find this information in the Bible? I tried to read a couple of verses but could not understand how it fit in. As before, I put it back on the shelf.
I looked at one book after another until, for the third time, I came upon that Book of Mormon. I opened it and found a section called Mosiah. Is he in the Bible? I wondered. My knowledge of scripture began and ended with the Bible. This blue book confused me. I felt as though a battle were raging inside me. I had never heard of the book before, but I felt I already knew it. A moment later I found myself paying for it.
For many years the Book of Mormon remained unread on my shelf. I tried to read it a few times, but I simply could not relate to it.
In time, I moved to Germany. When I arrived, I began looking for a place to worship. I attended a number of churches but never felt at home. Finally I began to pray and fast to know where to worship. A whole month passed before my answer came.
People from many different countries lived in my apartment building. Distinct among them was a gentleman and his wife who sometimes visited my friend. They were not rich, but they cared for us in many ways. Then one day they invited my friend to go to church with them, and he extended the invitation to me. I asked, “What church are we going to?”
He replied that we were going to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I told him that as long as they preached of Christ, I would go with him.
The day arrived, and we went to church. I looked around at the sea of strange faces. My first impression was of warmth and a sense of belonging. I was also happy to see young men administering the sacrament. I had never seen anything like that anywhere.
After sacrament meeting, those visiting for the first time were invited to attend the Gospel Principles class. The topic of discussion that day was the eternal nature of families. I was thrilled with all I heard. All too soon the class was over. I asked the teacher if he was going to continue with the same topic next week, and he said yes. I decided to return the following Sunday.
The next session was priesthood meeting. The lesson was about managing family finances. What a church! I thought. The gospel and home management all in one!
After priesthood meeting, the couple who brought us to church, recognizing my interest, asked if I would like to hear lessons on the restored gospel. “Sure,” I said. And then, while I was basking in the spirit of the day’s meetings, I suddenly remembered that shop where I bought an old, worn copy of the Book of Mormon. The incident in the shop, which I considered rather insignificant at the time and had long forgotten, now took on great meaning.
My lessons began and continued without a break. It was a joy to learn the gospel from these couple missionaries. They looked upon me not only as a brother but as a son. Lessons completed, I was baptized.
I have meditated often on these two connected but separate incidents. Why would anyone walk into a shop, find an old book with an unfamiliar title, read a couple of sentences he couldn’t understand, and then buy the book? Does that make sense? Still, I believe that much of what reason alone cannot explain actually makes a lot of sense to the Lord. He prepares our path, and when we are ready to receive His word He leads us to the right people and into the right situations. Often, long before we start searching for God, He is looking for us.