My testimony of the Book of Mormon came when I was a seminary student in high school. Our teacher challenged us to read the entire book—something I had not done before. As I read, I remember how tears would stream down my cheeks as the Spirit testified to me that the words I was reading were true. I wanted to be worthy so that the Lord could say to me just as he did to Nephi, “Blessed art thou, because of they faith, for thou hast sought me diligently.” (1 Ne. 2:19.) Three years later I received my patriarchal blessing, which admonished me to read the Book of Mormon with a prayerful heart that my testimony would be strengthened. That promise has been fulfilled year after year as I have continued to study this holy book of scripture.
Because of the teachings in the Book of Mormon, my testimony concerning the necessity for and the blessings of prayer has been enlarged. As a teenager, I took literally the admonition in Alma 34:17–27 and prayed before every examination, every piano recital, and every talk that had to be given. I prayed for forgiveness and for understanding. I had faith that our Father in Heaven was always there, and he did give me peace and comfort continually.
When our youngest son, Jeff, was a toddler, I had to cry in mighty prayer as Enos did (Enos 1:4), but for a different reason. Jeff had swallowed harmful paint thinner and could not breathe. With him in my arms, I rushed frantically in the car to the nearest hospital emergency room, pleading out loud with the Lord to help him to breathe. After what seemed like an eternity, the air passage opened and he did breathe, but his body had already become blue from lack of oxygen. My prayers were answered, and I cried in gratitude.
The following five years were the most difficult of my life. We had wanted more children, but were not given that blessing. While reading Jacob 4:10, I received comfort from the statement “Seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom and in justice and in great mercy over all his works.” I had to accept the fact that the Lord knew better than I what was best for us. I finally had peace when I put my trust in Him. Having done so, we were blessed with more children. But it was according to His timetable.
Life does have its challenges, but the Book of Mormon can help us to approach each day in a positive way. Alma’s advice to Helaman has been a goal for me. He states, “When thou risest in the morning, let thy heart be full of thanks unto God.” (Alma 37:37.) This feeling of gratitude can make the whole day a happy one.
As assignments come and I feel inadequate and incapable, I turn to Lamoni’s instructions to Alma in verse four of the twentieth chapter of Alma [Alma 20:4]. Lamoni could also be counseling me: “I know in the strength of the Lord thou canst do all things.” This gives me courage to move forward, whatever the task.
The most important thing the Book of Mormon has done for me is to deepen the love and reverence I feel for my Savior, Jesus Christ. As I read and reread 3 Nephi, I only wish I could have been there to hear him as he spoke to our Father and then to see him as he blessed the children (3 Ne. 17). But by studying this great book with a prayerful heart, I too, have heard His message. My testimony has been strengthened and my life has been enriched. I know that if I do my part and “feast upon the words of Christ,” (2 Ne. 32:3) they will tell me all things that I should do.