“Book of Mormon Story,” New Era, Jan. 2003, 27
It was not a good time. Questions swirled in my head that seemingly didn’t have answers. For months I had been struggling with who I was and what direction my life was taking. To remedy this problem I began attending many different churches, searching for the truth. But it seemed I always ended up at the church my family went to. Somehow, though, it never felt quite right. As I thought about my feelings, I just assumed I felt this way because my life was so mixed up. I was also associating with the wrong crowd and allowing these people to influence my life, which didn’t help matters. Deep inside, all I felt was utter loneliness.
I realized I needed to change my life. I stopped hanging around with people who were a bad influence on me, and I stopped putting myself in situations that would force me to choose between God and my friends. Even with these changes, I didn’t feel like I was receiving any answers or encouragement from God, and I sometimes wondered if He really was there.
In December I graduated from college, and I decided to move back in with my family in Utah. Those plans changed when my dad took a job in another state. Since I had already accepted an internship in St. George, Utah, I decided to stay. In St. George, I began going to my church, but once again felt alone and desolate. It was as if part of me were dead or missing.
One night in my room, I cried out to the Lord and asked Him for guidance and direction. I started to tremble and cry because I so desired to have Him in my life.
At that moment, I heard something or someone say, “Read the Book of Mormon.” It wasn’t a booming voice; it was gentle, quiet, and peaceful. This prompting confused me. I had been exposed to the LDS Church before and had no desire to learn about it. In fact, a high school friend had given me a copy of the Book of Mormon, and I had given it away.
I tried to brush off the voice, but it came again: “Read the Book of Mormon.”
“Why would I want to read the Book of Mormon?” I thought. The prompting came again. “It’s the perfect time. You’re on your own now.” As crazy as this seemed, I suddenly felt a strong desire to get a copy of this book, and I figured the visitors’ center at the St. George Utah Temple was a good place to start. I went on a tour with Sister Pang, a missionary serving in the center, and afterward we watched a movie and talked. The feeling of a presence—a holy presence—was so apparent that I had to fight back tears. It was like I was on the verge of discovering something wonderful. Sister Pang gave me a Book of Mormon as I left.
I went straight home and immediately began reading. As I studied 2 Nephi 27, I began to feel very tired. I almost closed the book, but again I knew I had to press on. I said a prayer that I would be able to understand what I was reading, and I continued. As I re-read the passage I decided to compare it to Isaiah 29 and 30. For me, these scriptures were the key that unlocked knowledge and understanding of the gospel. I knew then without a doubt that the words in the Book of Mormon were true. They were another testimony of Jesus Christ.
I rushed out of my room and told my roommates the Book of Mormon was true. To see the shock and excitement on their faces was great. I rushed to the visitors’ center, but Sister Pang wasn’t there. So I met Sister Taylor, and we talked for hours about the gospel. I asked the missionaries to teach me the discussions, and I set a baptism date after the first discussion.
It wasn’t all easy after that. For the next couple of weeks I received letters and phone calls from my family and friends telling me what to do—and what not to do. I didn’t mind giving up my friends and my lifestyle. But my family’s dislike of my decision made this time in my life very difficult. I decided to stop taking the discussions, to stop praying, and to stop reading. For a week I turned away from everything. I felt so alone and confused. Then one day I called my dad and told him I was determined to be baptized. He told me he loved me and then he hung up the phone.
The joy and peace I felt at that moment cast out everything else. I immediately prayed that Heavenly Father would comfort my family. I began the discussions again, and soon I received a letter from my father. He again told me he loved me no matter what, and I would always be his daughter.
The Lord had taken care of my family and led me to a new life. I’m so thankful for the missionaries, and I’m thankful for my friends who strived to live the gospel principles. Mostly, though, I’m grateful to be a child of God. Every day I’m amazed at the love and the comfort the Lord brings to me. To be recognized by Heavenly Father is so precious.