“I Knew We Needed to Find the Book,” Ensign, Mar. 2002, 68–69
When I reached the age of 40, I decided to start an exercise program of walking every day for one hour. My walk took me along a beautiful parkway near our home in Birmingham, Alabama. During these walks, I began thinking of spiritual things and developed a desire to find knowledge of what I then called my “inner self”—of who I really was.
At that time my husband and I weren’t going to any particular church. But I had always been a religious person, so I knew how to pray. Each day before I began my walk, I prayed that I would grow spiritually during that solitary hour of reflection. Just as my body was growing stronger through my daily exercise, I wanted my spirit to grow.
Praying and meditating as I walked, I began to feel inspiring thoughts: I must keep my body pure and clean so the Spirit of God could dwell in me, so I had to stop drinking alcohol and start eating more healthily; when my life was over, what I had accomplished in my career would not be important, but how I had treated others. As principles such as these filled my mind, I felt I should get a book and write them down immediately after each walk. The words seemed to flow without my having to think about them. Days and months passed, and the pages of my journal became filled. My constant prayer was to continue to grow spiritually.
In the meantime, my husband was offered a job in Las Vegas, Nevada. After much thought we decided to accept the offer and move west. My last entry in my journal was, “We move soon to Nevada. I pray that I will become more enlightened as I start my new beginnings.”
On the day we arrived in Las Vegas, we began to look at homes. As we prepared to begin our search, I said a silent prayer that we would find a home and that I would continue to grow spiritually. To my surprise, the first home we looked at was next to a Latter-day Saint temple. It had an angel on top whose hand and trumpet seemed to extend toward me.
The next day I went to the public library, pulled out an encyclopedia, and looked up the word Mormon, as I had no idea what this church was like. I read there about a man named Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. I asked the librarian for a copy of this book, but she didn’t know what it was. I started to wonder if there still existed such a book, so instead I checked out an LDS book called Gospel Principles.
When I took the book home and started to read, I was dumbfounded. The principles therein were like those I’d been writing in my journal for the past year! My husband also read the book, and we agreed that the gospel principles made sense; however, we both had a lot of questions. I knew we needed to find the Book of Mormon.
Three months passed. One morning as I was cleaning our new home, I answered a knock at the door and was surprised to see two missionaries standing on our front porch. They introduced themselves and asked if I wanted to know more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Boy, did I! I don’t know who was more amazed as I expressed my excitement at the missionaries’ unexpected arrival and told them I had a lot of questions. Within minutes the missionaries placed in my hands a copy of the Book of Mormon. As I beheld the book for the first time, I felt a deep sense of gratitude. I had finally found it!
The elders then asked if they could come back when my husband was home. Thinking my husband wouldn’t want to talk to missionaries, I was about to answer no when the telephone rang. It was my husband calling from work to chat. When he asked me what I was doing, I took a deep breath and told him. I received my second surprise of the day when he replied, “Well, why don’t you have them over when I can talk to them too.”
The missionaries returned the next evening, and my husband and I began participating in the discussions. I read the Book of Mormon within two weeks and was again amazed at how similar its teachings were to the principles I’d recorded in my “spiritual journal.” As I shared my walking experiences with the missionaries, it dawned on me that God had helped me grow spiritually and that He had led me to the Book of Mormon, my spiritual textbook. At last I’d found what I was looking for! My husband and I were baptized six weeks later. One year after our baptism, we were sealed in the very temple on whose spire I had seen the statue of the angel Moroni.
We’ve now been members of the Church for 12 years. We’ve loved our membership in the Church and have grown through the various callings we’ve held. Throughout my years of service as a stake missionary, Relief Society counselor, seminary teacher, temple ordinance worker, Sunday School teacher, and now Young Women president, I’ve shared my testimony and the teachings of the Book of Mormon. With each calling and with each new situation I have encountered in life, I’ve found the answers I’ve needed in this remarkable book. Daily I thank Heavenly Father for leading me to the Book of Mormon.