I’ve had a testimony of the Book of Mormon since the first time I read it when I was younger. But truthfully, my scripture “study” in the months preceding the October 2018 general conference felt more like casual skimming. So when President Nelson challenged the women of the Church to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year, it felt like just the invitation I needed.
His invitation came with some powerful promises too. He said, “As you prayerfully study, I promise that the heavens will open for you” (“Sisters’ Participation in the Gathering of Israel,” Ensign, Nov. 2018, 69).
As I listened, I felt excited to recommit to the book I’ve grown to love so much, and I couldn’t wait for the heavens to open for me.
And they did. In so many ways. After completing this Book of Mormon challenge, I’ve spent time pondering on the experience I had and am still having. I’m amazed by what I learned, how I felt, and who I am becoming by studying its inspired pages.
As I read the Book of Mormon at a quicker pace than I am used to, the narrative really came alive. I felt such a connection to those whose testimonies and experiences make up this book.
From Nephi’s brother Sam, I learned that quiet righteousness is noble. From Alma I learned to never surrender my faith. From his son, that it is never too late to approach Christ and experience the cleansing power of His infinite Atonement (see Mosiah 27; Alma 36). King Lamoni’s father inspired me to make more sacrifices for God (see Alma 22:15, 18). Pahoran taught me to be calm and Christlike when I feel misunderstood (see Alma 61). From the brother of Jared I learned that while action on our part is essential, it is not enough; we need Christ’s help and enabling power (see Ether 2–3). From Moroni I learned that though we may feel alone, we never truly are (see Mormon 8:3, 5).
I learned to inquire of the Lord often, to pray fiercely and with faith. I learned the importance of keeping records and bearing testimony and the proper way to repent. I learned that God is mindful, that Christ is merciful, and that They are one in purpose.
I learned that “[feasting] upon the words of Christ” (2 Nephi 32:3) provides the direction I need for my life.
I learned, yet again, that Joseph Smith did not—and could not—write this book.
Was it a coincidence that I read Nephi’s psalm (2 Nephi 4) on a day I felt bogged down by my inadequacies and weaknesses? Of course not. Was it a happy accident that I encountered King Limhi’s declaration, “O how marvelous are the works of the Lord, and how long doth he suffer with his people” (Mosiah 8:20) when I felt alone in my trials? No! With God, there are no coincidences, only perfectly orchestrated tender mercies, and I was the recipient of many as I read. I truly felt my Heavenly Father’s love for me and an incomparable sense of peace as I immersed myself in the Book of Mormon.
It was the Savior’s healing power that I felt most throughout my reading of the Book of Mormon. Verse after verse testifies of His grace, mercy, compassion, and infinite love. As I read about Jesus Christ, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for His sacrifice. One of the greatest miracles I experienced while reading was the feeling of complete forgiveness for a series of poor choices made years ago. I felt as though the Savior was speaking directly to me as I read. In my heart I felt the words, It’s time to move on. Christ literally provided the healing I needed.
Though I did not see the resurrected Christ as the Nephites did (see 3 Nephi 11), I felt His presence in my life as I read about Him in the Book of Mormon. He truly understands each one of us and our unique trials, and He has the power to save, comfort, and heal us.
As I daily immerse myself in the Book of Mormon, I am more patient, compassionate, grateful, and optimistic. I tend to be less selfish and less concerned with worldly things.
Because of the Book of Mormon and the Spirit it brings into my life, I am a better mother, wife, daughter, and friend. I am a more committed disciple of Jesus Christ.
How can one book have all the answers? How can one book accomplish so much?
Only a book designed by God has that kind of power. And I know it really is of God.
Just as President Nelson promised, the heavens really did open for me, in more ways than I could have ever imagined. So I will continue to read and study the Book of Mormon. I will continue to search its pages and find Christ there because this book really is all about Him.