September 23, 2009
And oh yeah did you notice that I FINISHED THE BOOK OF MORMON! Heck yes I did! I spent 30 minutes before homework and finished. During this whole experience, I learned that the scriptures aren't as dull as I thought. They are actually quite useful when you apply it to your life.
So, after I read it, I went outside and went into the forest, hoping for a JOSEPH SMITH AHA moment. It didn't really happen, but I did almost get shot for trespassing. But the spirit told me it was true, and I believe in the Holy Ghost, so it had to be true.
Wow. What a change. I went from the beginning of this journal thinking about the boys I have liked and now I am trying to live up to my full potential.
Like I have said before, EFY starts a TON of habits, and I think they've all been for the better.
This was part of my journal entry from the day I finished the Book of Mormon for the first time. I can't remember much about it or the lessons I learned in the process of reading it, but I was so happy to finally be done. I had just gotten off of the best week of my life, but I was still struggling with some issues (petty things, really) that made this book a safe haven for me. I finished it incredibly fast and with a zeal that I had never felt before.
Prior to that reading of the scriptures, I didn't really enjoy reading the scriptures at all. It felt tedious and tiresome, and for some reason the words seemed to blend together and sounded vaguely familiar to the works of Robert Frost I liked to pretend to comprehend. After EFY, a whole new dimension of spiritual learning was added to my "arsenal" of tools to use when life got tough. I could sense the stories and skate the surface of deeper meaning; however, I failed to really comprehend or deeply study much because I was in a hurry to be done.
Like my little fourteen year old self said, I wanted so badly to have a burning witness that the Book of Mormon was true. I left the woods a little frightened (I mean, there was a guy in the woods asking, "Who's there?" Wouldn't you??) and a little disappointed. When I was pondering how I felt later, I felt a calm peace in my heart that I was beginning to recognize as the spirit. I checked off my Virtue project box for Personal Progress and began to worry about other things.
Since that time, I have read the Book of Mormon 4 or 5 times. It's not really a number to be proud of, but I have truly learned to love the book. The Book of Mormon has humbled me and has made me grateful for the Lord's completely noticeable hand in my life. Each time I read it, I feel differently about certain passages than I did before. It's an incredible thing! I have gone from hating to read, to barely comprehending, to total application and I have never felt better.
Anyway, oh yeah did you notice? I finished the Book of Mormon last night! A couple of months ago, my mom challenged the Seminary class to take a three-month challenge. Here's how she explained it on the first day, "So don't forget to take time to say your prayers morning and night and read the Book of Mormon. Tomorrow head to ALL of your church meetings, AND listen to the things being taught. Make good choices to keep the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity (that means choosing to be modest in the things you wear as well!) Write down the areas where you think your testimony is strong, and then write down where you think your testimony is weak. Then see the difference that will come in your life and testimony by taking Elder Cook's challenge." I thought the idea of reading the Book of Mormon in three months was the CRAZIEST thing. As much as I love the Book of Mormon, I don't have a ton of time in my life to sit down and read ...
OR SO I THOUGHT!
As I took on this challenge and made time for the scriptures, I could see the blessings that were promised by Elder Cook. My dedication and testimony of the Gospel were growing. I felt so happy! Happier than I have ever felt in my life! Things would happen at school and I would be really upset, but I would come home and read the scriptures and would feel such comfort. I began reading more than the six pages a day required. I began using colored pens to mark what I thought was important and to record my thoughts. It was a beautiful thing!
I read a ton of pages last night because I wanted to feel of that spirit promised in Moroni 10. I wanted to show the Lord that I loved him enough to devote my entire evening to finish reading another testament of him. And I did feel the spirit! In fact, I felt incredibly close to my Heavenly Father as I neared the end. As I marked the last page with the date (February 10th, 2013) and scrawled the end in the margins, I felt true happiness. I flipped through the pages and could visualize a journey that I have been on for the past three months and I could see the change that has occurred in my life.
The study of the Book of Mormon has brought me closer to my Heavenly Father. It has already given me missionary opportunities and has helped me to rise to the challenge of missionary work. It has helped me to feel of the spirit and of Heavenly Father's love for me. I know that The Book of Mormon is true. As I pondered the lessons I learned, I felt the Spirit testify that to me stronger than I can ever remember feeling it before. I have grown to love the Book of Mormon with all of my heart. It is a huge part of who I am!
Like my fourteen year old self, I am still trying to live up to my potential. I am still trying to become more and more like Jesus. It is a life-long process, but I can already see the difference between myself now and myself four years ago. I am excited for the changes that will come in the future. My testimony truly has been growing and as I have experimented with the "seed" mentioned in Alma 32, I have found it to be good. It enlightens me and begins to be delicious to my soul. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon.
Bear with me here ... I am about to compare my life to fitness and conditioning.
So, in gym we have been doing a LOT of conditioning -- and I love it! I love the feeling of getting stronger. Anyway, in the class, my teacher continually reminds us that there are three objectives for us to build endurance. 1.) Correct form, 2.) Number of repetitions, 3.) How fast you can do the repetitions. I feel as though this can be compared to the gospel and my own learning. I struggled learning how to read the Book of Mormon. As I learned correct form, I have been able to increase the amount of reading I have done and have been able to finish the book several times. Now is the time for me to go hard core. Now is the time for me to prove that I CAN DO IT! So I am not going to stop at one reading for this year. Since it is the year before my mission, I am going to devote more and more of my time to the study of this brilliant book. I am going to read it as many times as I can! I am so excited to do this! I am excited to build my endurance!
Ezra Taft Benson has said, “The time is long overdue for a massive flooding of the earth with the Book of Mormon for the many reasons which the Lord has given. In this age of electronic media and mass distribution of the printed word, God will hold us accountable if we do not now move the Book of Mormon in a monumental way.” I completely agree! In a world where social media is SO prevalent, it is going to become increasingly important for me to willingly choose to read the Book of Mormon with purpose. I know that the happiness I feel right now is REAL. I want that happiness to last forever, and I know that the Book of Mormon will help me to accomplish that. I am going to monumentally move the Book of Mormon and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the center of my life -- and I know that I will see the blessings that will follow.