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"And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy..." (1 Nephi 8:10-14)

Even though I had a belief in the Old & New Testament prophets before I visited the “Holy Land” with BYU Studies Abroad, and walked many of the paths which Jesus had walked, I longed for a similar faith building experience with the prophets in Book of Mormon scriptures.

As a family, we had listened to the dramatized recorded Book of Mormon stories on audio tape by a Latter Day Saint company in Utah. Our children know the stories by heart. My wife Judy & I traveled again with BYU Studies Abroad Professors, visiting the lands of the Book of Mormon in South America. We visited many locations associated with the stories we had listened to on tapes as a family. On one occasion, we hiked into the jungle and waked into a religious court yard. Brother Chessman, one of our group leaders, showed us a “stele” which had a carving in the rock’s weathered surface that looked like a tree with many branches. He compared the story told on this stele, with the story told in 1 Nephi 8,verse 10-14. This experience strengthened my belief in the validity on the Book of Mormon.

". . . I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness." (Mosiah 2:41)

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.

". . . thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain." (2 Nephi 2:25)

I am comforted to know that I can gain experience and wisdom from afflictions.

“. . .I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things. . . .” (Mosiah 2:41)

I learn that I can have peace and happiness in this life by keeping His commandments.

“. . .ye should impart of your substance to the poor . . . such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief . . . .” (Mosiah 4:26)

I have come to understand how vital it is to give generously to care for the poor.

“. . .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)

While this life contains trials and afflictions, we can be strengthened by trusting God and can eventually return to his presence.

“. . . 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.” (Moroni 10:4)

My career has been in university education (professor, director, dean) and in consulting. I am married, have four daughters, and now enjoy grandchildren and great-grandchildren. My father was a laborer and my mother also worked full-time in a department store. My parents sent me to our nearby church and I always went willingly. My conviction of the truthfulness of the teachings of the Mormon Church grew slowly but steadily through my high school and college years. My certainty increased greatly through my reading of the scriptures, answers to my prayers, seeing the impact of the church on the lives of new members, and hearing testimonies of others.

I believe that The Book of Mormon, like The Holy Bible, contains the fullness of the gospel. The book is replete with scriptures that have influenced my life, like those I have listed above. Through my studying and pondering of The Book of Mormon, and the promised inspiration of the Holy Ghost, I am convinced that Jesus Christ is my Savior, that he overcame physical death, and that without his sacrifice I would be hopelessly lost for the eternities.

"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)

I grew up in a home where the Gospel of Jesus Christ was taught and lived by example by my parents, five older siblings, and extended family. I remember on Sundays lying outside on a blanket next to my Mom as she read scriptures aloud to me. Mother and her siblings also liked gathering on Sundays to discuss the scriptures. As a child I was encouraged by my Sunday school teachers and parents to memorize many scriptures that have stayed with me all my life.
At the age of 15 while attending junior high school I chose to take “release time” from school for religious study called “Seminary.” Our teacher challenged each of us to read The Book of Mormon from cover to cover and to pray and ask Heavenly Father if it is true. That day we read together as a class in the Book of Mormon from Moroni 10:4-5.
This passage of scripture hit me hard. I accepted the challenge and read in my bed each night. It seemed to me that I felt happier each day and I found myself reading earlier in the evenings. My personal prayers became more intimate and I listened and felt the promptings of the still small voice of the Holy Ghost more noticeably. Even the discussions on The Book of Mormon in class became more meaningful to me because of my preparations the day before.
My personal testimony of the mission of Jesus Christ was strengthened as I read of Him visiting his followers in the Americas after His Resurrection. After finishing the last chapter of The Book of Moroni in The Book of Mormon, I knelt and prayed to ask if The Book of Mormon was true, and the feeling came over me that I had already been given that assurance. I never doubted it, nor doubted that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and restored his Gospel in its fullness to the earth.
It has been more than 45 years since those days in junior high school, but those feelings I felt at that time have been confirmed and enlarged many times over as I have read and reread The Book of Mormon all my life. I love feasting on the scriptures and I feel its influence in my life each day.

"Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness." (2 Nephi 9: 51)

Years ago, I found my boys wanting to go to the mall to play arcade games with their hard-earned money. I was distraught thinking it was such a waste of both time and money. I was searching for a good reason to help them make a better choice. While reading my scriptures, I opened the Book of Mormon and glanced at the above verse.

Instantly, I felt this thought was an answer from heaven to my prayer. Later, the discussion with my boys laid the groundwork for helping them make worthwhile and satisfying choices, choices that made them feel good about themselves and gave them opportunities to use their money wisely.

This same scripture is one I remember when my choices seem unclear. When my direction is pointed to Christ and I am feasting “upon that which perisheth not,” my ability to make better choices increases and “I delight in fatness”, being filled with things that God would want me to do. That is when I truly feel God’s love and blessing in my life.

"And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;" (Mosiah 27:25)

In my life, this verse from The Book of Mormon first became very important to me when I was 8 years old. When I was 8 years old, I made the decision to become baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This was the single most important decision I ever made, and it affects me every day. This scripture helps me every day by reminding me that it is possible to repent. When I make a mistake and sin, I can simply ask God to forgive me, and can partake of the sacrament in my Sunday meetings, and can become changed from my carnal and fallen state to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God. After reading The Book of Mormon, I gained a very special witness of its truth. I firmly believe that The Book of Mormon is true. The words written in it testify of Christ, and his atonement that gives all of us the opportunity and blessing to become changed from our carnal and fallen state to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God.

"And when my brethren saw that I was about to build a ship, they began to murmur against me, saying: Our brother is a fool, for he thinketh that he can build a ship; yea, and he also thinketh that he can cross these great waters." (I Nephi 17:17)

This verse is about how Laman and Lemuel murmur about building a boat. To most people, that scripture might not reach their hearts, but strangely I love that scripture. It teaches me that if I murmur or complain, I will not succeed. If Laman and Lemuel helped Nephi, the boat could have gotten done faster and the boat would have been more precise. So I believe that if I just do stuff I’m supposed to do without complaining, my life will be better. That is how the scripture and The Book of Mormon have helped me.

"Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it." (Alma 56: 47-48)

I like this scripture because it talks about how two thousand stripling warriors did not fear death, and they thought more about the freedom of their fathers than about their own lives. And they talked about their mothers.

I think that is great that they did not fear death. I mean, think of how courageous they would have to be to go into battle with only two thousand men and not be afraid for their lives.

I know that when I have prayed and read a passage of scripture, the Holy Ghost has touched my heart and told me if it is true.

"Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves – It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea it beginneth to be delicious to me." (Alma 32:28)

This thoughtful, instructive admonition is the way that anyone can find out for themselves if the Book of Mormon is truly inspired scripture. When I read The Book of Mormon and have followed this scripture, I have been blessed with a good feeling, and it has helped me increase my faith in my Savior Jesus Christ.

I accept the Holy Bible as the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. I also have faith that The Book of Mormon contains the word of God and his prophets, and will help us come unto Christ. I love the spirit I feel as I read The Book of Mormon.

"I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love." (2 Nephi 1:15)

I have always loved The Book of Mormon. As I grew up, our family would read it or the Holy Bible every day. I learned scriptural principles just like I learned my letters and numbers, little by little, each day building upon the one before. My well of faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world was being filled by learning and living what my parents and the scriptures lovingly taught to me.

Fast forward to my 7th grade year in school. Something happened in one of my classes and I was met with the decision to be honest or silent. I chose honesty. In so doing, I lost all the friends I had since childhood, and threats of bodily harm started coming daily. I was lonely and scared. I didn’t tell my parents because I mistakenly thought that it would make things worse. I found a place to hide outside during lunch and decided to read The Book of Mormon to calm my troubled heart.

This became my lunchtime routine for a couple of months. During this time, I journeyed with the Book of Mormon prophets who kept the records of the Lord’s work among His children. Prophets like Nephi, whose own brothers tried to kill him for doing what was right, but whom he “frankly forgave.” (See 1 Nephi 7:21) Or Enos, a record keeper, who prayed all day and night not only for himself and his family, but for his enemies “that . . . they might be brought unto salvation . . . .” (See Enos 1:11-17) Or Alma, a wicked priest who (at the peril of his own life) repented of his many sins and taught his people so that many became desirous “to come into the fold of God, and to be called His people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens that they may be light . . . and stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places.” (See Mosiah 18:8-9)

It was a welcome and peaceful escape from the nervous worry that I felt daily. My constant companion in this journey with the prophets was the Holy Ghost, whispering to my heart that I was not alone, nor was I the only one who had suffered or been threatened for choosing right.

My greatest friend that I quietly found journeying with me was Jesus Christ. I came to know Him and His yearnings for us. His desires became my desires as well, and I found that I could face those who were bullying me with a courageous but forgiving heart. Though I am far from perfect, through The Book of Mormon I have felt that the Lord has “encircled me about eternally in the arms of his love.” (2 Nephi 1:15) I know that I can always count on Him to be with me when I open my scriptures to find answers or peace.