Something Told Me to Stop
Ronald D. Colby, Utah, USA
Illustrations by Bradley Clark
An overnight campout with all kinds of outdoor activities had been planned for Friday and Saturday, and I was eager to accompany my son. Carl had a part-time job and had to work Friday, so I proposed picking him up Friday evening after work. We planned to park at a bridge above the campsite and then hike down.
When we arrived at the bridge, it was dark, with only a sliver of the moon and a few stars shining in the sky. The trail to the campsite was carved out of the face of a cliff that ran alongside the river. We were about 300 yards (275 m) above the river when we began our hike.
Not far down the trail our flashlight began to dim, and the trail seemed to disappear at times in the faulty light. Suddenly something told me to stop. I halted abruptly but then took two more steps forward. The feeling or voice then repeated, “Stop!”
I stopped again. Carl, close behind, almost ran into me.
“What’s going on, Dad?” he asked.
I told him about the prompting, adding that we needed to go home and that we would return in the morning.
“Dad, I can see the campfire,” he responded. “It can’t be more than a mile (1.6 km) away.”
Recognizing that the prompting had come from the Holy Ghost, I insisted that we not take another step. The flashlight had gone dead, so we cautiously hiked back up the trail. Carl was disappointed and didn’t talk much on our way home.
Early the next morning we returned to the bridge and began hiking again. At least Carl would be able to participate in Saturday’s activities. We hurried along until, all of a sudden, the trail disappeared! Then it hit us. We had arrived at the exact spot where we had stopped the night before.
“Dad, it’s at least 100 yards (91 m) straight down to the river,” Carl said. “We would have been killed!”
The cliff stretched steeply below us down to the river. In front of us there was a gap in the trail about 12 feet (3.6 m) wide, the aftermath of a recent storm.
Carl and I hugged each other as our tears flowed. Then we climbed to another trail and made our way to the campsite. We arrived just in time for breakfast.
A warning sign was supposed to have been placed on the first trail but wasn’t. Thankfully, a warning sign came to us from the Holy Ghost.
Open Your Book of Mormon
Eduard Mayer, Upper Austria, Austria
Years ago, as a member of the Vienna Austria Stake high council, I attended a ward in Vienna once a month. Because I live 120 miles (190 km) from Vienna, I often rode the train to get there.
One Sunday, after I had returned home from visiting the ward, I discovered to my dismay that I did not have my wallet. I was worried because I didn’t know if I had lost my wallet or if it had been stolen. In my wallet I had a small amount of money, my temple recommend, a credit card, and other important cards.
The next day I had a hard time concentrating at work. Over and over again I asked myself, “When was the last time I used that wallet? Did I leave it anywhere?” I called the police, the train station, and the bishop of the ward I had attended. Nobody had found it. I prayed as well, and my prayers intensified as the day progressed. I slept poorly that night.
During my morning prayers the next day, I felt a strong spiritual impression to open my Book of Mormon in order to find the answer to my problem. I ignored the feeling instantly because no Book of Mormon scriptures had anything to do with my lost wallet.
The feeling pressed me: “Why do you doubt? Faith precedes the miracle! Just open the book. The first scripture you read will give you the answer to your problem.”
I discarded this feeling as wishful thinking. But the feeling in my heart fought a hard battle and won. I got up, went to my desk, and picked up my Book of Mormon. My heart beat rapidly in anticipation. I did not turn a page forward or backward. I simply opened the book and read Jacob 3:1: “Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause.” I was overcome and couldn’t read any further.
The Lord will plead my cause! I went to work relaxed and comforted. At 11:00 a.m. I received a call from the train station police informing me that my wallet had been turned in. One day later I received my wallet. Nothing had been taken.
The Lord had consoled me in my afflictions. He had pleaded my cause. Through the Book of Mormon my Heavenly Father had answered my prayers in a direct, personal way. I have always loved the Book of Mormon, and following this experience, it has become even more precious to me.
Why I Love the Book of Mormon
Steve Rahawi, California, USA
Nearly 30 years ago I drove to Utah for the first time. I had been living a very unchristian life but wanted to change. I just didn’t know how.
The evening of my second day in Utah, I stopped at a motel in a small town in southern Utah. As the lady in the office gave me a room key, I asked if she was a Latter-day Saint. She pleasantly replied, “Yes, I am.” Beaming, she added, “Have you read our wonderful book, the Book of Mormon?” Both startled and enticed, I told her I had not.
“There’s a copy in your room,” she continued. “There is nothing exciting for you here in town, so you might as well get acquainted with this wonderful book.”
I thanked her and took my luggage to my room. Once there I saw a maroon paperback titled the Book of Mormon on the nightstand.
I casually opened the book near the center and read a few verses, but my mind went blank. I did not understand anything. Disappointed, I put down the book and left my room, feeling empty. I drove around until I found a bar—a dark, ugly place. I went inside and instantly felt miserable, lonely, and hopeless. I stood there for a few minutes and then turned around and strode out, determined to never again waste a moment of my life in any bar.
Invigorated, I returned to my motel room and picked up the Book of Mormon. I knelt before the Lord, whom I knew little about, and pleaded with Him to have mercy on me. I asked Him to forgive me for the mess I had made of my life and to help me to understand what I read in the Book of Mormon, to know if Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and to know if the Mormon Church was for me.
I opened the book reverently and read the first verse I saw: “I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell” (2 Nephi 33:6). My heart burned and my tears fell. The words stood out with a wonderful light of hope—a light of Jesus Christ beckoning me to come unto Him.
Weeping, I again knelt in prayer, begging the Lord to lead on. Then I opened the book again and began reading the first chapter of 1 Nephi. I was filled with awe at the unmatched power, purity, and truth of the words and testimony of Nephi. I read until 2:00 the next morning, the Lord opening my understanding as I read.
Six months later I was baptized a member of this wonderful, true Church. I know the Lord blessed me to find and read the Book of Mormon—the book that established my faith and testimony in Jesus Christ.
Was I Raising Children or Flowers?
Paula Schulte, Missouri, USA
When our children were young, we moved into a small house with a beautiful yard. On either side of the front door were two empty flowerbeds, and though my gardening experience was limited, I was excited to plant flowers there. I bought a gardening book and ordered plant and seed catalogs and studied them carefully.
Over the next few months I planned my garden, prepared the soil, and planted more than 200 bulbs. I knew it would be a few more months before I would see any results, but still I checked the garden often for growth. In early spring my flowers started to bloom, beginning with tiny purple irises and then daffodils. By the middle of spring my flower boxes were filled with a splendid display of tulips. I loved my garden, and I often sat on the front steps just to look at the flowers.
One afternoon our four-year-old daughter, Emily, had a friend over to play. Just before her friend’s mother came to pick her up, the girls struggled in through the kitchen door, their arms filled with heaps of tulips. “Look what we’ve brought you,” they said happily. They had picked nearly every bloom.
Tulips bloom only once a year. I was heartbroken—all that work, all that waiting. We filled my vases with flowers and sent the rest home with Emily’s friend. Later, as I complained to my mother about the disaster, she said, “Well, it’s a good thing you’re raising children and not flowers.”
I realized that I needed to change my perspective. I remembered the Primary song I had sung with my girls about gathering flowers:
I saw the ruin of my garden, but two four-year-old girls saw a gesture of love.
Planting a flower garden had required patience, and stepping back and looking at this incident through my child’s eyes required even more patience. But learning patience as a mother draws me closer to the Lord.
“I Often Go Walking,” Children’s Songbook, 202.