The Greater Gift

“The Greater Gift,” Ensign, Dec. 2009, 66

The Greater Gift

Lois N. Pope, Utah, USA

One morning as I finished reading from and pondering the Book of Mormon, I realized that I would again finish it by the end of the year. This realization brought back the memory of my brother, whom I cared for in my home during his final weeks with terminal cancer in 2005.

Oliver was determined to fulfill a promise to himself to follow the counsel of President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) and read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year.1 But by that fall, Oliver still had many pages to go. Eventually he became so weak that he could no longer read to himself.

Determined to keep his commitment, Oliver asked me if I would read the Book of Mormon to him. I was much further along in my own reading, but I was glad to begin where he had left off.

By reading to Oliver every day, I was able to help him reach his goal to finish the book by year’s end, just days before he died. By that time he could hardly speak audibly, but his mind was clear and active. With much effort, he often expressed his appreciation to me for the gift I had given him, saying he could now die in peace because he had fulfilled his promise.

I had read the Book of Mormon many times before, but I had never felt its spirit so powerfully or understood its precepts so clearly as I did during those waning months of my brother’s life. Truly, Oliver had given me the greater gift.