09242_000_014The answer to my prayers wasn’t a sudden flash of inspiration. It just took time.
“This time, I’m really going to do it,” I told myself. “This time, I’m going to make it all the way through the Book of Mormon.”
In the past I had read a chapter here, a chapter there, but now I wanted to say I’d read it from cover to cover. “I’ll put Moroni’s promise to the test,” I told myself, eager to get started. “I’ll finally learn whether the Church is true.”
For the next 90 days, I diligently devoured the book’s contents. Exultant with joy as I closed with Moroni’s farewell and amen, I scrambled to my knees.
Brimming with anticipation, I posed my question: Was the Book of Mormon true? As I waited for a response, a cricket chirped. The air conditioner switched on. My watch intrusively ticked off the seconds as they passed. There was no burning bosom sensation, no chorus of angels, no flash of knowing. Nothing.
I was somewhat perplexed. “Do I just need to read the book again?” I thought to myself. “I guess it couldn’t hurt.”
Three months later, again finishing with Moroni’s testimony, I leapt to the floor, doubly sure I’d done my part, doubly sure an answer would come. But my hopes were disappointed when, as before, my inquiry was met with silence. Unsure of what else to do, I got off my knees and started over. Again. But even after a third reading, there came no reply. I was confused. Where was the answer I’d been promised?
Not to be defeated, I picked up my scriptures, now with a fraying front cover, full of red highlighted verses and with random pages beginning to slip from the binding. “Okay,” I said to myself, “once more.”
When at last I finished the book for the fourth time in a 12-month period, I didn’t immediately drop to my knees. I sat for some time, reflecting on the year. Truly, it had been a remarkable period of growth and change. I smiled, noting to myself that it was common these days for me to feel happy.
I thought about friendships I had formed with wonderful peers who strengthened my faith. I thought about how my family relationships had taken a dramatic turn for the better. I hadn’t fought with my siblings in months, and my parents and I seemed to communicate with amazing ease. What’s more, schoolwork seemed less stressful, odd jobs had been available to provide extra income, and even my physical fitness had improved.
But the most significant change had been in my spirit. I now looked forward to attending church, gladly paid tithes, fasted and prayed with much greater faith, and could list many times when the Spirit had prompted me to avoid danger, express kindness, or voice truth.
All told, there was little in my life that wasn’t drastically better now than it had been just 12 months earlier. “That’s so cool!” I said out loud, slipping to my knees.
Bowing my head, I couldn’t even ask the question. “I get it,” I said to the Lord. “I get it. The truth of this book isn’t always manifest in burning bosoms and visions of angels; it’s manifest in the lives of the people who read it and put it to use. I don’t need to ask anymore if this book is true. I experience its truth every day I live its teachings.”
This wasn’t the answer I had anticipated when I first set out to put Moroni’s promise to the test. It was far better. The Lord could have given me a single flash of confirming peace. Instead, He had given me a whole year of it.
Photo illustration by John Luke