“Finding Healing in the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, December 2020
When I first read the Book of Mormon at age 19, I knew I had found the truth for which I had been searching. I embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ with great joy. My testimony became a treasure that sustained me through the clouds and sunshine of my life. Still, it took me years to develop the habit of regularly feasting from the Book of Mormon’s precious pages. After President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) chastised us for neglecting it,1 I chose to read from the book every day.
Four years ago, after returning home from work, I was suddenly gripped by a ferocious pain that left me lying unconscious and paralyzed on the floor. There, I later learned, I remained for three days before I was discovered, near death, the victim of a stroke.
It was a couple of months before I regained consciousness, and even then I drifted in and out of awareness. My mind was gone. I was asked questions I could not understand, let alone answer. I could not speak or cry. I didn’t know where I was or even who I was.
I could not pray. All I could manage was to think “Dear Father.” An awful void settled into my badly broken heart. Where was my Heavenly Father and my beloved Savior? Where was the comfort of the Holy Spirit? I felt empty, adrift from time and a sense of self. Even now, the experience is still difficult to describe.
I had been taken to the hospital with nothing, so I did not have my Book of Mormon with me. As days passed, I became increasingly desperate to get it, though I knew I could not read it. I could not see except for blurry images. And I was unable to ask for it. But oh, how I wanted it! At least I could hold it.
One day some friends visited and asked what they could do for me. I managed to ask for a Book of Mormon, and they managed to understand me. It came the next morning. I hugged it to me and immediately felt comforted. I still couldn’t see the words, but I kept trying and trying and trying. Hope was growing in my heart.
One evening, as the hospital quieted, my vision suddenly cleared and I could see the words! I could not read, for I could not determine left to right or up and down, but a miracle had happened, and I determined to do my part. I would just keep trying.
As I did, another miracle happened! It seemed to me as if I were with those I was trying to read about. I seemed to see the faith of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon and the majesty of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I was filled with such joy. Heavenly Father was with me! He had not deserted me. I knew then that no matter how broken we may be—by illness, sin, or actions of others—we are never alone. He is always there! His Son, our Savior, is always there!
Healing has come slowly, but it has come. I’ve watched my mind regain all its functionality. This has been utterly fascinating. My body still has a ways to go, but I know it, too, will experience the healing it still needs. I do my part through exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating only foods that are good for me. Added to this is lots of faith and the help of angels on this side of the veil—friends, hospital employees, physical therapists, and others.
President Russell M. Nelson has reflected: “When I think of the Book of Mormon, I think of the word power. The truths of the Book of Mormon have the power to heal, comfort, restore, succor, strengthen, console, and cheer our souls.”2
Oh, yes, our dear prophet. Oh, yes!