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. . . whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.” (Alma 36:3)

“. . . by small and simple things are great things brought to pass . . .” (Alma 37:6)

“O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.” (Alma 37:35)

“See that ye are not lifted up unto pride . . .” (Alma 38:11)

“. . .see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness.” (Alma 38:12)

“Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward . . . .” (Alma 41:14)

One of my goals in life has been to be a good father to my children. I have watched the example of others, read many suggestions in many places, and listened to counsel as to how best to do this. It seems that the learning curve is slow so that by the time one learns how to be a parent, the children are soon gone from the home. It is my belief that fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness. In The Book of Mormon I found some wonderful chapters in Alma 36-42 where Alma gives instructions to his sons that have helped me in doing this. I have tried to pattern some of the things that I teach my children as a father after his words. Those I have quoted above, and many other instructions given by Alma to his sons, have made this book very valuable and special to me. I have received a personal witness that The Book of Mormon is true, that its teachings have helped me as a father and in every aspect of my life, and that it has helped me draw nearer to God.

" . . . the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer. . . ." (Mosiah 18:30)

Because my father was a National Park Ranger, I spent part of my youth hiking and climbing in Grand Teton National Park. While there, I began reading the Bible each morning. I was completely overwhelmed by Christ’s teachings on the Sermon on the Mount, and realized that his instructions for us to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek, to do good to those who treat us unkindly, are truly divine. What would the world be like if we all followed such a high path! Later, I found the same teachings in the Book of Mormon.

As I read in Mosiah 18 about the small church that Alma founded in the wilderness, near the waters and forests of a place called Mormon, I realized that those ancient people felt the same way about their spiritual awakening in the wilderness as I did about my spiritual awakening in the Grand Tetons. The mountains, lakes, and rivers of the Tetons are very beautiful. Each year I try to hike to the spot and pray where I first felt the presence of Heavenly Father and learned for myself that the Book of Mormon is true.

"O how ye ought to thank your heavenly King!" (Mosiah 2:19)

When I was fourteen, it was my freshman year of high school. I was really struggling to get good grades and make friends. I was also beginning to have doubts about participating in church activities. Life was miserable and I wished for a change but I didn’t know how to make it.

One day in my math class I heard that if you write down three things you’re thankful for every day, you will get better grades. I thought why not give it a shot? So I started to write down three things I was thankful for every day.

At first I didn’t notice but I began to get gradually happier. Although I was getting better grades, I hardly noticed because everything else around me was going so well. I began to have better relationships with my family members and my Father in Heaven. I did so by studying my scriptures, not just reading them. I also started to make my prayers more meaningful. I would talk to my Heavenly Father and express how thankful I was for the many wonderful things he had given to me. I would talk about how life was going and asked for help with whatever struggles I was having. I also asked questions. I learned that prayer is a powerful yet simple way of connecting with my Father in Heaven.

As I continued this pattern I became more happy every day. I was sooo thankful for all that Heavenly Father had done for me. I gradually started making regular trips to the temple.

Although at the time I had not read the scripture verse I have quoted above, I now know how powerful its words are, because thankfulness had such a huge impact on my life for good. Before, I would never have realized how doing one little thing could be such a blessing in my life. Now I am sixteen, and I keep a small notebook by my bed in which I write things I am thankful for every day. I feel that being thankful is a powerful way to become happy in life. I’m so thankful for my Heavenly Father and that He blesses and cares for me every day. I love this gospel, and I’m thankful I’ve continued to attend church meetings through all my doubts. I invite others to “experiment upon (the) word” (Alma 32:27), and come to know of its truthfulness.

"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." (Ether 12:41)

Reading this scripture comforts me. It reminds me of the power of God. It tells me that with belief, hope, and faith I can anchor my soul, be steadfast, and make a difference with good works. When I am discouraged, it reminds me that by trusting in God we can all with surety hope for a better world.
I love the Book of Mormon. The stories tell me how to live and love. They bring me hope beyond the moment. The stories testify of Christ, his redeeming power, and his great love for each individual. The teachings of the prophet remind me not to judge. They convince me that it is never too late for me or others to turn to righteousness, and therein find light and happiness. No matter what circumstance we find ourselves in, our Heavenly Father loves each of us and desires our happiness.