Starting in my junior year of high school, my life began to get off track. I went to church only to pacify my parents, not because I wanted to. Towards the end of the year, I felt I had hit rock bottom. Nothing was going right, not at school, not at work, and especially not at home.
One day I went to my sister’s house. At that time my brother-in-law, Gerry, was in the bishopric. I began to tell them all the things in my life that were going wrong. After patiently listening, Gerry suggested that I start reading the Book of Mormon 30 minutes a day. I figured I had tried everything else and nothing had worked, so I decided to give it a try. Gerry promised me that if I truly tried to read for 30 minutes a day for a whole month, things would start to change for the better.
I started reading that very night. I think it was the longest half hour of my life. The next day was just an average day; nothing great and nothing horrible happened.
But change takes time. The next week was not an easy one. I missed the extra half hour of sleep, but I stuck with it. Soon I started to notice little things just happened to work out for the better.
At this time, I received the biggest blessing I have ever had in my life, although I didn’t recognize it at first. I had the opportunity to go to Ireland to work for the summer. I was already two weeks into my month of reading, so I decided to continue the Book of Mormon test while in Ireland and read it every day. And I did.
My life began to change dramatically. I began to love the things that I used to detest. I looked forward to going to church at my little branch in Galway. I gained a more positive outlook on life, and my testimony began to grow in leaps and bounds. One day I wrote in my journal:
Today was the most wonderful day. I woke up and went to church at 10:30. Today was our branch conference. It was the most spiritual meeting I have ever attended! I don’t think that I have ever felt the Spirit so strongly before. The people here in Galway are the friendliest, most generous, righteous people I have ever met. They give me strength. They are so firmly rooted in the gospel; I learn so much just by their examples. I think that today is the first time I have ever known or felt absolutely positive that the gospel is right and true.
Reading the Book of Mormon was no longer a chore. It was something I began to look forward to every day. My time in Ireland was soon up, and I had to return home. I knew that facing my old home life and my old friends was going to be a great challenge.
When I got home, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. My mom and I actually saw eye to eye on a lot of things, and I grew to love her with all my heart. As the wrinkles in home life began to iron out, so did things with my friends. I stopped hanging out with some of my old friends and started associating with a different group of girls. This was hard, but I had a lot of support. My life took a 180-degree turn.
Throughout this whole process I had the scriptures and a sister who was sent straight from heaven. My sister always knew when things were getting rough, and she would write me little notes of encouragement. She gave me a compass to remind me every day of the changes I had made in my life and to keep going in the same direction.
A few months later, time became harder to find, and scripture reading became shorter and shorter. I soon found myself with my compass cloudy. My sister wrote me this note:
You know, Trish, I feel like you are in a major war for your soul, and as much as I would like to be there on the daily battlefront and as much as I talk about fighting for you, I realized last night when I was thinking about you that you are the only one who can win your war. You are the only one who can put on your armor every day by reading the Book of Mormon.
Once again I turned to the scriptures, increasing my reading to 30 minutes a day. And again, things turned around.
I know there is a battle raging each day for our souls. Satan wants to have us, but we have been given the tools to fight back. I know from experience that reading the Book of Mormon every day will keep us headed in the right direction. I know it helped me. I have a testimony of the power of the scriptures and all they can do for each one of us. Take the challenge and find out for yourself.