I love this verse from The Book of Mormon. Fulfillment of the first promise I have experienced, and the second part I believe will be my lot as I remain faithful.
I have always been a member of our church. My husband and I were married in the Latter Day Saint Salt Lake temple just over a year out of high school. We have always attended meetings and served in our church. As we have traveled throughout the world we have sought out local congregations where we were able to attend, which we did in many countries. We have always paid tithing, held family prayer, and attended our temple (before I became somewhat disabled). We have helped to financially support eight grandchildren as missionaries, with many more family members to follow. We speak of the scriptures often and we regularly attend Sunday School together. We still pray together every night, and I give thanks always for being so greatly blessed in time of need.
I have experienced the healing power of priesthood blessings for myself and for our children. I was blessed to be well again after a year’s fight as a child with nephritis when I almost died. Later I was promised that I would recover from brain surgery for tumor removal, and that blessing has been answered even though I have some disability.
I have an abiding faith that Jesus is the Son of God and my Savior through his atoning sacrifice. I love our Father in Heaven and our Savior, and I thank them for a long life of great blessings.
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I first read The Book of Mormon as a teenager. I made a commitment to myself to read the entire book by the end of the year I turned seventeen. On the last day of the year, before going to any of the New Year’s parties, I was still reading the book. I finished late in the evening but still had time to go to the parties. Over the years, I read The Book of Mormon over and over. During my service as a missionary in Argentina, I read The Book of Mormon in Spanish. I had a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Church, but had never received the witnesses Moroni promised. A few years later, I found myself serving in the U.S. Army in Panama. Because of the nature of my job, I had a lot of time to read. One day I decided to re-read The Book of Mormon. This time I prayed that I would know, through the Spirit, that it was true. As I began reading the book, I prayed about the truthfulness of each page and as I went through the book, I received a direct answer to my prayers that every single page of The Book of Mormon was and is true. From time to time, I reflect on that dramatic testimony that came to me, page by page, as I read the entire Book of Mormon. I not only know that The Book of Mormon is true, I know every page of the book is true.
As the years have passed since that experience, I have had many opportunities to see how that testimony of The Book of Mormon has changed the way that I looked at life. Every time I had an opportunity to serve someone, I remember that I know that The Book of Mormon is true, and that influences me to make good choices and persevere to the end of my life.
One of the things that The Book of Mormon has helped me with is having a perspective on life and the adversities that I face. There are some chapters that talk about a group of people called the Jaredites. They were present at the Tower of Babel and they prayed and asked that their family’s language would not be changed. The Lord blessed them and guided them to the promised land. They had to do a lot of preparation and worked in faith to accomplish the task. The trip was long and dangerous, and every detail in the whole voyage can be compared to our journey in life. There are times when it seems that things don’t let up and the wind doesn’t stop. It seems hard and not worth the struggle. But when the Jaredites dealt with such problems, they saw that the wind they experienced was blowing them towards the land of promise. It was helping them to get where the Lord wanted them to be. Their example has helped me in times of trials because they continued to sing praises to the Lord and thank Him for all that they had been given. They never ceased in their praising.
This passage has served me well as a husband and father. Early in my marriage, as I pondered these verses I came to realize how much Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ loved children. I sensed that in essence, children were entrusted to parents with the heavenly expectation that parents would teach them correct heavenly principles and be good examples. The rearing of children required my very best effort as a father and a husband. This was a partnership shared with my dear wife of fifty plus years, as well as deity. Yes, it has been challenging at times, but so rewarding. And these verses and experiences continue to bless us as we reach out to our thirty-two grandchildren.
I feel comfort knowing that Heavenly Father has designed this life so we might know joy. In our pre-mortal life He presented this plan where we each would have our own agency. It is a scary thing to most of us, because we knew we would make mistakes, affecting not only our own lives but also the lives of others. We knew that it would cause something called misery, and by knowing the bitter we would also know the sweet. Lucifer fought against this plan and took one third of our brothers and sisters with him. When I have been in the depths of misery, or a loved one is having a hard time, I take courage knowing that we are experiencing this wonderful plan to bring joy into our lives. By experiencing misery from our own hands, the hands of others, or even from natural occurrences, we know the bitter and it makes the joy that Heavenly Father wants us to experience a glorious thing.
I have many examples of the Father answering my personal prayers. I’ve learned through personal experience that when I’m really troubled I can go to my Father in Heaven and He will answer my prayers. For instance, when we were moving from Dallas back to our home in Utah, rather than let the movers handle them we personally packed up and set aside some very valuable papers and documents we would need when we got home. We spent a month visiting family and friends and touring significant spots in the United States. When we finally arrived home and unpacked everything in our Volkswagon bus, the papers we needed were missing. I could not remember where I had packed them, and they were nowhere to be found. That night I pleaded with my Father in Heaven to help us locate the lost items, and went to bed, sleeping soundly. Early the next morning, just before dawn I had a dream and in that dream it was revealed to me, as in a movie, exactly what we’d done with the documents and where we could find them: the night before we were leaving Dallas, a friend headed directly to Utah volunteered to save us space by taking this small trunk and holding it until we would arrive a month later. We happily accepted the offer, and in the scramble of packing and saying goodbye never gave it a second thought. None of us had remembered that transaction until it was revealed to me.
I have had many such experiences, the Spirit speaking to me in the early dawn when my mind is cleared and prepared to listen without distractions. I know He is there and He cares.