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.
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Many of us have moments in our lives when we wonder if we should stop trying to achieve a goal we once felt was extremely important. In The Book of Mormon, Ammon and the other three sons of Mosiah experienced those same feelings. They wanted more than anything to help the Lamanites come nearer to God. But the harder they tried, the more hostile the Lamanites became. At a moment of real discouragement, Ammon recounts, they heard the words of the Lord quoted above.
Ammon and his brothers were men of God, but they still became depressed because of the difficulties they were experiencing. I have always found it astonishing that Ammon used the word “comfort” to describe how the Lord helped them, because the Lord did not give them what we would call comfort today. He asked them to return to the hostile Lamanites and try again.
So they returned and got spit on, stoned, put in prison, and run out of town. But eventually they baptized thousands of these once hostile Lamanites. They had astounding success.
So when I am disappointed, or when I become discouraged, I think about Ammon and his brothers. I have never been stoned, or spit on, or run out of town. No one has ever attempted to murder me, as some of the Lamanites did to Ammon and his brothers. So I pray, and fast, as did Ammon and his brothers. And then I have confidence that the Lord will give me success as he did them.
I have experienced the benefits of prayer and fasting. I know that the Lord can give us help when we need it. I love The Book of Mormon. It has answers for the problems we face in our lives.
As a teenager became increasingly interested in how people treated other people. I started to pay more attention to the behavior of societies and governments and develop my own ideas of how things could be. The Book of Mormon significantly influenced these ideas of equality, fairness and serving. One section of the narrative describes how after Jesus Christ visited, the people lived in full peace and prosperity for 200 years. It was not just the utopian dream of fiction, but a real functioning society that overcame stubborn problems to become an extraordinary place and time to live.
I know that I can work towards creating such a society, even in small ways. The Book of Mormon gave me the vision of how I want to behave in the world.
In college I was terrified of messing up big decisions. I would get really worked up about what boys to date, what job to take or what major to pursue. I had a strong desire to do what is right, but fretted over what was the best route. I remember one night I was particularly anxious about a decision and I had a thought to look to my scriptures. I opened the Book of Mormon to the above verse. Even though this was written hundreds of years before my time and the man who wrote it was facing trials totally different than mine, I felt like God was speaking me. I had felt lost and unsure and this scripture offered a plan and a promise. I have always felt it important that it tells me to do my part by preparing my mind, not just wait around for an answer. Adequate preparation combined with both faith in God’s love for me and a little bit of patience has become the equation that helps me resolve any problem I come across. I truly come back to this scripture whenever I am feeling overwhelmed and it simply gives me peace. I love the Book of Mormon. I love the feeling of comfort and peace I get when I read this scripture. I am so grateful to feel God’s love and guidance through the Book of Mormon.