“I never did find reading very exciting,” Ensign, Dec. 1972, 32
“I challenge you to read the New Testament in its entirety during the coming year.” As our stake president issued this challenge in stake conference that beautiful September morning, I recall thinking how wonderful it would be if only I could do it.
I have been a member of the Church since I was eight years old, but I had never completely read the scriptures. In fact, I had often felt sad about how limited my knowledge was of the gospel I professed to believe.
Also, I never did find reading anything very exciting. It seemed that my hardest part of getting through school was my slowness in reading. Although I did well in school, every assignment took me twice as long as others.
Many times since my youth I had started to read the standard works, only to become bogged down after the first few chapters. So I had continually relied upon my returned missionary husband for answers to gospel questions.
But the challenge kept coming back to my mind. At each stake conference the stake president reminded us again of the challenge. But by the end of May—eight and a half months later—I had read only into the book of Mark. Not a very good record, yet something had happened to me. I knew I had to read the New Testament!
I soon found myself “hooked” on scripture reading. As the days progressed I began to find real joy in reading the scriptures.
I remember the tears that came to my eyes as I read the beauty of the teachings of Jesus: the sorrow I felt for those who were bereaved at his death; the empathy I felt for Peter as he realized he had betrayed Christ; the strength I saw manifest in Paul as he traveled and was undaunted in the things he knew, felt, and taught.
Yes, I accomplished my goal. And what a wonderful feeling came to me as I did so! In addition, other beautiful things happened along the way. I found spiritual things to discuss with my children; I showed my husband I could increase my knowledge of the gospel on my own; I found in context the many things I had been taught over the years; I proved I could start, follow through, and finish a task that in the beginning had seemed impossible.
Best of all, my testimony and love for Jesus Christ increased. There is no doubt in my mind that he lived upon the earth, that he lives now, and that if we draw near to him he will draw near to us, to guide and influence our lives.