When I was fourteen years old, I read The Book of Mormon from cover to cover for the first time. When I began, I wasn’t sure if this book was the word of God. I remember reading 3 Nephi, Chapter 11, which talks about Christ visiting the people on the American continent shortly after He was resurrected. In verse 14, I read the invitation that Christ gave to the people, and in verse 15, I read how the people responded to Christ’s invitation.
As I thought about these two verses, I got a good feeling inside. I could see in my mind the people coming to Christ, feeling His hands and feet, and knowing that He was there for them. I prayed to God and asked Him if Christ really did visit those people after His resurrection. God answered my prayer and made it known to me that His son did visit those people. I knew at that time that the Book of Mormon was the word of God.
Many years have passed since I was fourteen. I have read the Book of Mormon over and over since then. Every time I read it, I find new insights to help improve my life and come closer to God.
Search for Tag : prayer
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.
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.
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.
When I was a youth I attended MIA (Mutual Improvement Association), a youth organization in my Church. It convened on Tuesday nights, and there were opening exercises following which the boys and girls would go to various classes depending upon age and gender. The classes for me were various Scouting meetings. In that opening portion there were prayers, songs, youth talks, and various Book of Mormon scriptures, called “ themes”, that we would memorize as we recited them at the time they were spoken. This gave the youth the opportunity to get acquainted with several scriptures during a given year. These scriptures had a profound effect in shaping my values. I remember several of these scriptures. The one that is most salient in my memory is the one quoted above. This scripture has been very motivating and encouraging for me in all aspects of my life, especially as I have accepted invitations to serve in various positions. Often the job has seemed undoable, but I have been encouraged by this scripture to know that all commandments and requirements can be done if I seek the Lord’s inspiration and help. That scripture has increased my faith in the Lord, in His Church, and in me. I know the Lord prizes me, and has confidence that I can and will do what He asks.
My soul hungered. My legs were burning from the climb. A moment’s rest at the top of the mountain was a needed reprieve. Beads of sweat pooled where my bicycle helmet met my forehead. Behind me I glimpsed the hair pin curves and twists of the narrow asphalt road exposed between the openings in the dense pines and oaks.
The view was spectacular, but my mind was elsewhere. During the arduous press up the incline, the words I had read were stirring deep in my heart. A seventeen year old boy raised in the Mormon faith, I had often heard my parents speak of the joy of the saints. I wanted to know with greater surety of the things of God. My heart was filled with desire for assurance and conviction of what I had been taught and what I hoped and professed to believe. I had felt God’s love for me and felt he cared when I prayed to him. Jesus’ teachings in the Bible were profound and brought out the best in me. My desire was to ask God about something else: the Book of Mormon.
I remembered the story of Enos, a hunter. He had been out hunting in the forest. Like me, he reflected on what his father had taught him and was filled with desire. Like him, I decided to pray. Climbing a large boulder and kneeling in the moss, I vocalized my desire to know what I believed to be true. I cried out for help. I pleaded for God to help me be a better person. I wrestled with the intensity of my soul, a wrestle that did not fully begin that day or end that day. I felt the love of God. My faith in Him and His Son grew. I trembled with the distinct knowledge of his love for me.
Like Enos, I turned my thoughts to others, and I knew of God’s love for all mankind, for each of his children. I felt strongly that God loves each one individually and I prayed for my family, my friends, and then for those I did not know, and finally for those I didn’t even like.
My conviction of the Book of Mormon solidified. I felt the truth of that book. God had given answer to the desire of my soul. I did not see angels, I did not hear a voice, but I felt deeply of God’s concern for me.
My journey that day had been a hunt that brought me nearer to God. Life is full of twists and turns and mountains to climb, replete with highs and lows, pain and joy, and sorrows and happiness. I still have much to learn and I still make mistakes. I know better that God cares about me, and that the story of Enos’s hunt in the Book of Mormon brought me closer to Him. My journey in life remains a hunt that draws me nearer to God.