“Changed by the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, February 2016, 34–37
In the Book of Mormon, we read that “the word … had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword” (Alma 31:5). Similarly, Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that the “divinely placed” messages recorded in the Book of Mormon have the power to help us “resolve difficulties in our … lives.”1
The following stories show how members facing serious challenges turned to the Book of Mormon and found divinely placed messages of peace, strength, and comfort that helped them change their lives and find happiness.
Following my freshman year at military school, I returned home intending to serve a mission but realized I wasn’t ready. I hadn’t been completely active in the Church and had never read the entire Book of Mormon. I didn’t even know it contained a promise about how to gain a testimony of it. I only knew a simple principle my mother had taught me: if I prayed, Heavenly Father would answer.
I decided I needed a knowledge of the truth of the Book of Mormon. I began to read, always starting and ending with a prayer.
One night I came across four verses that struck me:
“For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.
“For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.
“Therefore remember, O man, for all thy doings thou shalt be brought into judgment.
“Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever” (1 Nephi 10:18–21).
As I read I felt the Spirit like never before. I knew that Heavenly Father loved me. I knew that He answers the prayers of those who diligently seek. And I knew that I wanted to live with my family forever and did not want to be “cast off.”
Prepared to make the necessary changes in my life to make these desires possible, I did so and served an honorable mission. I am now a military officer with a wonderful wife and two children to whom I am sealed. I am happier than I have ever been. I know it is all possible because of a book that keeps its promise and can change the life of any who read it.
Michael Casper, Colorado, USA
I had struggled with several addictions. Finally, when the state temporarily took my children, my life fell apart and I knew I needed to change. I turned to my Heavenly Father and the Savior for help. As I knelt to pray, I felt the door to the Savior’s Atonement begin to open for me. I was living in the slum of addiction, and in one of the happiest moments of my life, I felt the Lord take my hand and pull me out.
After a long, heartfelt prayer, I found my Book of Mormon and began reading. My soul hungered—I couldn’t read fast enough. Through the Holy Ghost, the words of the Book of Mormon filled me.
I began a treatment program. It wasn’t easy, but my daily prayers and Book of Mormon study kept me going. A scripture passage that particularly brought me peace and strength offered the following promise:
“And because of your diligence … with the word in nourishing it, … behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious … ; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.
“Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you” (Alma 32:42–43).
I attended my Church meetings and met with my bishop regularly. I wanted to be worthy to take the sacrament.
I attended Addiction Recovery Program meetings, offered through LDS Family Services. Eventually, I became a program facilitator. I could now reach out to others who were struggling and share how the Book of Mormon played an essential role in my recovery.
The day I received my temple endowment was beautiful. I loved who I was becoming. My children could now trust me and look up to me. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon.
Kim Christensen Patience, Utah, USA
One Sunday, our Relief Society lesson included a discussion about Nephi’s broken bow in the Book of Mormon and how his family murmured (see 1 Nephi 16:18–32). The lesson was about increasing our faith by decreasing our murmuring, but it struck a different chord in my heart. I had come to Church fasting that day with much concern about the loss of my job and of the much-needed income for our family. To my mind, the account of the broken bow seemed to be a parable for our current situation. My ability to help provide for my family was gone just like Nephi’s bow.
Nephi was inspired to make a new bow and then went to his father, whom he loved and respected, for advice and direction about where to hunt for food for their families. I came away from this lesson with increased faith in my Heavenly Father and His deep concern for us in our daily responsibilities. I knew with surety that I could seek His help for a new job and turn to those whom I loved and respected and receive wise counsel. Three weeks later my husband lost his job. The account of Nephi’s broken bow gave us the strength we needed to face both situations with peace and renewed commitment to do as Nephi had done.
Seeking wise counsel, I consulted with LDS Employment Services and obtained a new position that has provided me promotional opportunities. My husband, our ward’s Scoutmaster, prayed for a job that would allow him weekends off so that he could attend to his Scouts. It took him a bit longer to find his job, but find it he did.
Ardith Russell, Nevada, USA
Some years ago, I was paying the price for some poor choices I had made. During this time of deep personal struggle, I turned to the Book of Mormon and found great strength and comfort within its pages.
As I read, I was reminded that “God is mindful of every people” (Alma 26:37), no matter their circumstances. “He inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female” (2 Nephi 26:33). He remembers all of His children, including me, and He loves me in spite of my mistakes.
Most important, as I read I came to know the Lord and His Atonement more personally than I ever had. Nephi wrote, “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26). I came to truly understand that as I relied on Christ and followed His example, I could be cleansed.
Just as the Liahona guided Lehi’s family, the Book of Mormon gives me direction and counsel “according to the faith and diligence and heed” I exercise in my life (1 Nephi 16:28). I can say with Alma, “I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me” (Alma 36:27).
My in-depth study of the Book of Mormon reminded me that through the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can experience joy in this life and eternal life hereafter with our families. My fiancée supported me through my struggles. After she returned from serving her mission, we were married and now have a young son and have been sealed in the Portland Oregon Temple. We will forever give thanks for the comfort the Book of Mormon brought us during our time of tribulation. It truly is the greatest book.
Benjamin D. Stores, Oregon, USA