A Robbery, a Book, and a Testimony

By Mailin Espinoza Mira

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    I live in Chile and have been a member of the Church since I was eight. I have always known that I was in the true Church, and I felt I had a testimony of the Book of Mormon, but it was a borrowed testimony. Although I wanted to, I had never read the Book of Mormon all the way through. I had never read further than 1 Nephi.

    On the night of July 4, 2002, my friend and I attended our Book of Mormon institute class. We stayed after class talking until we noticed that it had gotten late. We began walking home around 10:15, and when we got to the place where we were to split up, we stopped and continued to talk.

    Two men passed by and asked us what time it was, but we were so involved in our conversation that we barely heard them. Suddenly they came back. One of them threw his arms around me, putting a knife to my neck. Then he let me go and threatened my friend. The other man asked us for money, and when we said we didn’t have any, they were furious. They demanded our jackets and backpacks.

    I had wanted this jacket for a long time and had finally been able to buy it a month before. And I loved my backpack, which my older brother had given me. My friend had homework assignments in her backpack that she needed to turn in. I was really scared—almost frozen in place. It was the first time I had ever been robbed.

    Without hesitation we gave them our things. But suddenly I said, “Wait! Please let me take out my Book of Mormon! It’s the only thing of value I have.” The thief gave me a strange look and let me take it out. Then they fled.

    I hugged the book and didn’t care about anything else. I felt peace because I had rescued this precious book from two criminals.

    That night I decided to show greater appreciation for this treasure of mine and for all the sacrifices made by the people who had brought it to light. I started to read it, and I began to feel an indescribable peace and a spectacular joy. All of a sudden it was worth so much more to me. I finished it two months later, and I finally gained a testimony of the book for myself.

    I still don’t know where I got the courage to ask for my book back, but I’ll never be sorry that I did. I don’t harbor any ill feelings toward the men because through that experience I gained the testimony I desired.

    That testimony helped motivate me to serve a mission. I am now home from serving in Argentina, where I was able to tell people about the Book of Mormon and share with them how marvelous this work truly is.