Since my childhood I have heard members of the Church bear testimony of the Book of Mormon. I thought the words “I know it is true” were just traditional words that every member recited. It wasn’t until I entered the mission field to serve in Nigeria that I learned the truth behind the words.
One night my companion and I were returning home. We were riding our bicycles on a dark, untarred road that had deteriorated because of rain. Due to the water and the condition of the road, my companion crashed and fell off his bike. His clothing, his scripture bag—everything he had—was stained and wet.
When we finally reached our apartment, we carefully cleaned and dried everything damaged in the accident—except for the two copies of the Book of Mormon that remained in his bag after our day of proselytizing. I thought we didn’t need to worry about those copies because we had so many more in our apartment.
Several months after the incident, I was looking for a way to fix my torn hymnbook cover. I came across the stained copies of the Book of Mormon we had abandoned on a shelf and saw that the covers would be good for fixing my hymnbook. But as I was about to cut the covers off the books, I was pierced in my heart: “Is this not the book you are preaching about? Is this the way to treat it? What would your investigators think?” I sat down and pondered for a long time. Then, instead of cutting the covers, I cleaned them with soapy water, dried them, and carefully placed them back on our bookshelf.
From this experience I came to know that for a long time I had been living on a borrowed testimony of the Book of Mormon, even though I had attended seminary and institute. I have since come closer to this book, and I value it much more. I realize that our conviction of the sacredness of the Book of Mormon comes as we get to know it through experiences of the heart. By reading, pondering, and applying the teachings of the Book of Mormon, I have come to know it is true.