In 1991 I had the opportunity to spend my summer in Nauvoo, Illinois, a long way from my home in Utah. It didn’t take me long to realize how hard it was to keep up with what was going on back home. So I was always happy to receive a letter from my family, usually written by my dad.
Dad’s letter wasn’t a personal letter—just a family letter he wrote every week and copied to send to each child. Each week, I began to appreciate those letters from Dad more and more. Even though he never addressed me directly, somehow he said just what I needed to hear. I would turn to the words of my father for comfort and reassurance. I sensed his concern and genuine love for me and each one of his children in much the same way I felt peace when I received a blessing before I left home that summer. What was impressed upon my mind during the blessing was the promise I would learn a greater love for the scriptures. That struck me as odd because I already loved the scriptures, and particularly enjoyed reading the Book of Mormon.
However, while I was away from home I started concentrating on using the Book of Mormon to answer all my questions. I had a hard time putting the book down and couldn’t wait to see what Nephi did next. I got excited when Ammon preached the gospel with boldness, I marveled at the faith of the Brother of Jared, and I cried as Mormon lamented the loss of his fair people in battle. Somehow the Savior’s visit to the Americas seemed more real than ever before. I began to notice a definite change in my attitude toward the scriptures.
Then a thought occurred to me. I was treating the Book of Mormon like letters from home. Just because they never mentioned my name or my specific problems, I thought of them as general letters that Heavenly Father copied and sent to his children. But when I began to appreciate his words, they took on personal meaning. As I read, I could feel my Heavenly Father’s love and genuine concern for me.
I’m grateful to my Heavenly Father for sending these precious letters from home. And just like Dad’s letters, I’m so glad Heavenly Father gave us chapter and verse to help us make it safely through life so we can return to him.