In response to the energy crisis of the late 1970s, the Oakland California Temple turned many of its outside lights off. Almost immediately the San Francisco Port Authority requested they be relit. The temple is located on a hillside across from the Golden Gate Bridge, which enables its lights to serve as an important reference point for ships navigating into the harbor.
Like one of those ships, I am trying to navigate my way home to our Father in Heaven. My life’s journey has taken me into uncharted waters, and like the ships entering the San Francisco harbor, I have needed a reference point that is constant and reliable. Guidance based simply on someone’s opinion is not sufficient, for my objective is too important. I have needed direction that I can count on and that is specific to my needs—for each season of my life.
The Book of Mormon has provided that guidance. It has been a conduit for the Spirit of the Lord to help me navigate through troubled times by providing specific counsel. And while the content of this book has not changed over the years, the Holy Spirit has helped me find applications to fit my ever-changing circumstances.
As a child, I learned about the Book of Mormon from my mother. She read its stories to me, and they captured my imagination. I learned about Lehi leaving Jerusalem with his family to avoid destruction. As a younger brother in my family, I delighted in Nephi’s example of leadership. Camping in the wilderness and using the Liahona sounded exciting. I also learned that obedience to the Lord’s commandments is rewarded. I discovered things that interested me for that season of my life.
When I was a teenager, my parents succumbed to the temptations of the world. They encouraged my activity in the Church, but their examples had more impact than their words. My older brothers came to my rescue. One had just returned from a full-time mission, and the other was a newlywed. They recognized that certain pressures could easily lead me in the wrong direction. It was my returned-missionary brother who rekindled my interest in the Book of Mormon. He told me stories of battles for freedom, massive destruction, and hand-to-hand combat. As I read about these battles, the Spirit of the Lord touched my heart. I also learned for myself that Moroni’s promise is true. My life changed because of my brothers’ love and efforts. They presented the message of the Book of Mormon in a way that appealed to me for that season of my life.
When I was a full-time missionary, the Book of Mormon enabled me to teach ideas with which I had little experience. Studying it enabled the Holy Ghost to help me overcome my inadequacies. I discovered that I could “liken all scriptures” to myself and profit from inspired direction (see 1 Ne. 19:23). It also helped me find patterns in human behavior. I witnessed in the lives of my investigators the truth taught in the Book of Mormon, that those who follow the Spirit are blessed, while those who follow the opinions of the world become subject to the natural consequences of their choices. The Book of Mormon helped me see these kinds of patterns so I could make successful choices and teach others during that season of my life.
When I became a parent, the Book of Mormon became a lesson manual on family life. I read about other parents rejoicing over the righteousness of a child (see Alma 38:2) and grieving when a child stumbles (see Alma 39:3). I was encouraged when I read about a father who by faith, prayer, and patience helped his wayward child (see Mosiah 27:14). Discourses on agency and accountability have comforted me as I have struggled with my own children over the answers to life’s questions (see Hel. 14:30–31). The Book of Mormon has shown me how the experiences of others can help me avoid the consequences of wrong choices. It helped me find answers for that season of my life.
Throughout my life the Book of Mormon has been a gold mine, with rich veins of spiritual truth to bless me in direct proportion to my diligence in excavating them. From its pages I have gained confidence to conquer my trials. It has whispered to me “from the dust.”
Like a ship entering the harbor, I need a point of reference that is constant and reliable. The Book of Mormon has provided that direction for each season of my life. I love the Book of Mormon!