I still have a small set of scriptures that my mom and dad gave me when I turned seventeen. I will always remember one time as a young woman when I read the Book of Mormon. I had read it before, but this time it was different. Perhaps I was more in tune with the Spirit, or maybe I had studied more diligently or prayed more fervently. This time I wanted to know for myself if the Book of Mormon was true.
As I finished Alma chapter thirty-two, with that wonderful passage about faith, I had a feeling that I recognized as a witness from the Holy Ghost. I knew the Book of Mormon was true. I wanted to tell the whole world how I felt, but I was alone. So with tears of joy streaming down my face, I wrote a big red star at the top of the page and wrote, “May 31, 7:30 A.M. This I know, as if written to me.” Then in the margin on one side, “I have received a confirmation. I know the Book of Mormon is true!” In the other margin I wrote, “One month ago I began fasting each Tuesday for a more sure knowledge. This I know.”
Since then, I have turned so often to the Book of Mormon for guidance, encouragement, and increased faith that I sometimes wonder if my great love for this book might have been passed down to me from my great-grandmother. The Book of Mormon was brought into the home of Susan Kent, my great-grandmother, when she was sixteen years old, almost a century and a half ago. After studying the Book of Mormon, Susan gained a testimony of it that was so strong that she was willing to make a great sacrifice for it.
The young man Susan was engaged to at the time would have nothing to do with anyone who would join the Mormons. But Susan did not count the cost. She chose peace for her conscience. However, her heart was so grieved that she could not eat for several days. She lapsed into a coma so deep that she seemed to be dead. Preparations were being made for her funeral when she awoke asking, “How long have I slept?” She slowly regained her health. With her sister and her parents, she joined the Church. I will be eternally thankful to my great-grandmother, Susan Kent, for her testimony of the Book of Mormon and what it meant in her life and now in mine.
Several years ago, my bishop asked me to help all the young people in our ward to read the entire Book of Mormon in a certain period of time. It was a glorious year as the young people read and reported. These young people learned that the Book of Mormon could help them conquer discouragement. It helped them conquer feelings of loneliness. It helped them conquer disobedience, anger, and lack of faith.
As we read the Book of Mormon, we come to know and love our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We learn of the Atonement and how our Father in Heaven has provided a way through the ordinances and covenants of the gospel to qualify ourselves for all his blessings. We learn how to repent, how to forgive, and how to love one another as our Savior loves us. We gain a longing to be like our Savior and to be with him one day. We come to understand the purposes of this life, and we learn to walk by faith.
The Book of Mormon is the anchor to my faith, and I thank God for that book and for my testimony, which is my most priceless possession. My greatest desire is that every young woman would study and pray about the truth in the Book of Mormon and gain a testimony for themselves of this great gift that God has given us. The Book of Mormon can then be a comfort as we climb the steep, risky trails of life.