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"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Moroni 10:4-5)

“Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.” (3 Nephi 1:13)

I was born in Salt Lake City and raised in the Mormon Church. I never doubted that the Gospel and the Book of Mormon were true. I always believed that Jesus Christ was my Savior and my friend.
However, as a married adult I lived in various parts of California and Illinois, and listened to newly baptized members of my church bearing testimony of The Book of Mormon with great emotion. I began to hunger to feel the same. I believed what they believed. What was different?
So at the age of twenty-seven, without telling anyone, I decided to accept Moroni’s challenge. I didn’t think I needed to ask if The Book of Mormon was true; I already thought it was. But after putting my two small children to bed, I began praying and humbly asking Heavenly Father that I might have my own personal witness of the truthfulness of the book.
Night after night I prayed diligently before reading The Book of Mormon. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. I felt increasingly spiritual and I began experiencing new understanding and knowledge through praying and reading with real intent. When I read the account of Helaman, my heart was troubled and sorrowful for the Nephites and the contention and evil that existed among them. I felt compassion and great respect for Helaman, Nephi, and Lehi, and the steadfastness of their constant pleas for the people to repent. I was overwhelmed with the courage of Alma during his missionary experiences, and the courage of Samuel the Lamanite prophesying and calling the people to repentance. I began feeling I was there!
When a day was set for Samuel’s believers to be put to death, my heart was pounding and I felt their fear, but also rejoiced in their faith. Tears dropped on my cheeks.
When I read Jesus’ words to them, “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world,” my whole body was burning, and I received my own personal manifestation of many truths through the power of the Holy Ghost. I now knew, did not just believe, that Jesus is my Savior and King. I knew that The Book of Mormon is true.
I can still testify of that with great emotion, the emotion for which I had hungered. While reading the Book of Mormon, I have time and again been blessed with personal revelation, light, and understanding from my Father in Heaven.

"Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold I am Jesus Christ. . . . Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? . . . Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh." (Ether 3:14-16)

I was raised in a Mormon family and went to church regularly with them. I loved the stories of Jesus – particularly how He loved and blessed the little children. I accepted His “reality” in the simple faith of one raised in this kind of home.
Then, one day during my teens, I was reading The Book of Mormon and found the most astounding passage in Ether chapter 3. It records an actual visit by the Savior to a man known as the “brother of Jared” whose people were preparing to leave the area near the Tower of Babel, after its destruction by God as told in the Old Testament. The brother of Jared was praying for guidance. It would be thousands of years before the Savior would be born to Mary and Joseph.
As the brother of Jared prayed, Jesus actually appeared to him! Jesus looked like a man with a body and that greatly surprised the brother of Jared. The verses I have quoted here deeply touched me and have been a strong base of my abiding faith in the Savior and His atoning sacrifice ever since. He died that we might live again!

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." (2 Nephi 31:20)

If we really try to follow Jesus’ commandments, we can live forever with our families and with Him. Jesus made it possible through his suffering for us. Because of that we will not have to worry about an end. I know that because of Jesus Christ, death will not be the end. We no longer have to worry about just simply fading out of existence, for with this belief an end is only a new beginning.

"For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." (2 Nephi 25:23)

The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. As the prophet Nephi explains in this verse, it exists to persuade us to believe in Christ, that through his sacrifice for us, we may be saved by His grace. It is also a powerful reminder that Jesus expects that we follow Him and live what He taught us.
Reading The Book of Mormon changed my life. Because of the teachings it contains about Jesus Christ, I know that He is my Savior. I know that because He died and was resurrected, I can return to live with Him, our Heavenly Father, and my family forever. Even though I am far from perfect, I know that as I work to follow his teachings, He blesses me with joy and peace.

"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." (I Nephi 21:16)

At times, I have felt that God is not there when I need Him most. I have felt forgotten and abandoned. During these times of great difficulty I am forced to rely completely on faith. The Book of Mormon, and this verse in particular, helps provide me with peace. It comforts me to know that He is there and that He does love me. He has “graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” This verse helps me to believe that I am important to Him and that He is with me even through the trials that I think may seem insignificant to Him. He does care about me and wants me to return home to Him.

I am so grateful for The Book of Mormon and the spirit that I feel when I read it. It is an anchor in my life and it keeps my perspective looking up even through my heart aches. It brings a peace into my life of knowing why we are here and what we should be doing, and that God lives, and Jesus is our Savior.

"Behold, now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked round about again on the multitude, and he said unto them: Behold, my time is at hand. . . . And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them. And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you. Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy. . . . And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their blind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him." (3 Nephi 17: 1, 5-7, 9)

I love this story because Jesus was about to leave, and when he sees that the people want him to stay longer, he stays and heals all their sick, deaf, blind, lame, and more. He is so loving and kind that he would do this. The story is about how Jesus loves everyone, and he shows his love and mercy towards others.

I know this is true because I have prayed about the Book of Mormon, to see if it is actually true, to know for myself if it is actually true. I now know that it is real.

"I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7)

This verse of scripture has always helped me find the courage to do the right thing. Sometimes it’s scary trying to make the right choice when you’re faced with a hard decision and don’t know exactly how things are going to play out. It’s hard to stand up for what’s right when others don’t agree with you. It’s hard to go outside your comfort zone to talk to someone who needs a friend. It’s hard to make good life plans and move forward not knowing if everything will work out the way you hope. But just like this verse of scripture promises, every time I’ve tried to do the right thing and follow the example of Jesus, a path has appeared, I’ve found the right words to say, and things in my life have eventually worked out for the best. I know the Lord will take care of the things I can’t control when I’m trying to do the the things he’d have me do.

"I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever." (Ether 12:41)

Beautiful art hung on the walls of my home when I was growing up. However, it was a small framed print placed on an easel that captured my attention almost daily. Carl Bloch’s ‘Nativity’ sat in a prominent place in our dining room where I chose to do my homework. The dark rich colors surrounding the golden glow highlighting the focus of the painting, baby Jesus in the manger, enhanced its importance. An unmistakable reverence radiated from it, and I felt it in a powerful way. I believed in Jesus Christ. I believed that he was the Son of God. I was taught that he came to atone for the sins of men. I remember thinking as I looked at the painting that I wanted to be a follower of Christ.

When I left home for college, my desire to know Christ became stronger. I wanted to know what he meant to me personally. I read the New Testament. I read the Book of Mormon. Everything I read and studied brought the same warm peaceful feelings I felt as a young teenager.

My desire to know Christ and be his follower is still my greatest desire. I now have hanging in my home my own copy of Carl Bloch’s ‘Nativity’, and it still occupies my thoughts and beckons me to seek him. The scripture I have quoted above from The Book of Mormon about Christ has deep meaning for me. I believe that as we seek to know Jesus Christ we will feel his love for us personally. And when we feel his grace, we will try hard to live a life that is reflective of his teachings.

"And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things; and behold, their names shall be blotted out, that the names of the wicked shall not be numbered among the names of the righteous, that the word of God may be fulfilled, which saith: The names of the wicked shall not be mingled with the names of my people; for the names of the righteous shall be written in the book of life, and unto them will I grant an inheritance at my right hand. And now, my brethren, what have ye to say against this? I say unto you, if ye speak against it, it matters not, for the word of God must be fulfilled. For what shepherd is there among you having many sheep doth not watch over them, that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock doth he not drive him out? Yea, and at the last, if he can, he will destroy him. And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed. And now I, Alma, do command you in the language of him who hath commanded me, that ye observe to do the words which I have spoken unto you. I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life." (Alma 5:57-62)

Growing up as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I never felt I really needed to be “converted” to the teachings that I had grown up learning. It wasn’t until my Junior and Senior years of high school that I really felt like my belief in the Church was being tested. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at the age of sixteen. Being told that not only did I have a serious pain condition but that it would also stick with me for life, led to my developing a serious case of depression. I allowed myself to become bitter and angry with God, and got myself mixed up in a crowd that wasn’t conducive to the standards the Church had in place. However, I began to feel empty inside. I was happy, but I didn’t feel whole. I began to wonder if having the Lord back in my life would help me to feel complete again. While reading the Book of Mormon, I found many verses that talked about abandoning sin, and coming unto Christ, but Alma 5 particularly stood out. Not only did it encourage me to abandon living the life of frivolity that I was currently participating in, but it compared all of us on earth to sheep being watched over by “the good shepherd”. The line, “the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; . . .that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life” was the tipping point in turning from the life I was currently living, and coming unto the Savior That was the best decision I have ever made. I have never felt as peaceful, jovial, and simply content with who and where I am in life, as I have since I decided to make the decision to abandon the person that I was and become a member of the fold which is actively watched over and protected by the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

"My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever. And may the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power, until all things shall become subject unto him, be, and abide with you forever. Amen." (Moroni 9:25-26)

I cannot even imagine my life without the Book of Mormon. I love it so much! It has taught me about Jesus Christ and has brought me closer to Him. It has made me want to be like Him, and I have made the majority of my goals and choices because of this desire. There so many amazing verses that it is difficult to say which ones are my favorites. But the above verses have really meant a lot to me.

Most of us will have struggles and trials in this life. Few, if any, get through it unscathed. And I believe everyone will be tempted and will sin. No one is perfect. At a particularly difficult time in my life, these verses brought me peace and gave me the hope I needed to endure. As I read “but may Christ lift thee up”, I felt an extra support and knew that as I learn to listen and depend on my Savior, Jesus Christ, I can do all things. I felt these words to be true just at that moment when I needed to hear them the most. I have often felt Christ “lift” me up and support me through my trials, and I know that I would never be able to get through them without Him to ease the burden. Because Christ suffered for us, because He is so merciful, because of His grace, we can repent and return to live with Him and our Father in Heaven again.