I Can Read!

“I Can Read!” New Era, Mar. 1998, 8

I Can Read!

I wanted to read the scriptures, but I couldn’t—in fact I could hardly read anything. Then the miracle happened.

When I was a small girl, only three years old, my brother, sister, and I had a live-in baby-sitter who had a little girl of her own. Because my mother was single, she had to work.

One day, while my brother and sister were at school, I was playing with the baby-sitter’s daughter. I found her sitting on the top bunk of her bunk bed. I knew my mother did not allow me to climb to the top bunk because it was dangerous. But I saw that she was eating goldfish cheese crackers, which I loved. I climbed up, received some crackers, and leaned back against the safety rail. It came unhooked, and I fell to the floor, landing on my rear end. I was shaken but would have been unhurt. However, as I looked up, I saw the rail falling toward me. It hit me on the head, knocking me unconscious.

My mother worked at the hospital, so she raced to the emergency room after she was notified I had been admitted. She found me playing with hand puppets and a nice doctor. He assured my mom that I would be fine.

Three years later, when I started first grade, everyone started to notice something was wrong with me. I spent the next few years going in and out of hospitals having tests. I had a CAT scan. I had to stay up all night once with my mother and grandmother so that I would sleep through the next day’s tests so they wouldn’t have to give me drugs to sleep. I was prescribed six pills a day to keep me awake in classes at school. For years, the doctors could not find the problem. Finally, it was determined that I had suffered a brain injury resulting in a learning disability. My mother was told by teachers, doctors, and counselors that I would not graduate from high school. I would only be able to handle sixth-grade work, if that, and she should not be angry with me because of it.

I remember watching other kids reading with delight in class. Everyone in my family could read and did a lot of it. I once asked my brother, Rob, what was so great about reading. He smiled when he told me that when you read it’s like a whole new world opens.

I had heard the stories of Joseph Smith only being 14 when he received answers to his prayers. I wanted to experience this new world of reading. I was 13, living in Arizona with my dad. In early October, I prayed, sobbing into the sheets of my bed, begging the Lord to grant me the gift of reading. I promised that if he would grant me this great blessing, I would read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover.

Amazingly, in less than 18 days, I jumped six reading levels and was up to the same grade level as others my age. Once I had been told that was impossible. The miracle happened. I struggled but kept my promise and read the whole Book of Mormon. I have since moved on to the other scriptures.

Now that I am 15, I bear my testimony that the scriptures are so important that Heavenly Father allowed a girl with a learning disability to read. I know it is important to him that all of his children read his sacred books. The scriptures have changed my life forever.

Illustrated by Dilleen Marsh