July 16, 2011

30 Day Challenge

As a 7-year old,
I read the Book of Mormon by myself for the first time.
My parents taught us that if we wanted to be baptized
into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
when we were 8 years old
we needed to read the Book of Mormon first
to know for ourselves if it is true.
I remember when I finished reading
 I went into my parents walk-in closet
to pray to God
to know for myself if the book was true.
No voices, no visions,
but a feeling of happiness, joy, and peace
filled me.
Some may question a 7 year old--
did you really even understand what you read?
couldn't you just have imagined and felt what you thought
your parents would want you to?
But I did not make it up or can I ever deny what I felt
and what I knew at that moment.
I knew the Book of Mormon was true
and I knew that I should get baptized.
This experience became the foundation of my testimony.

Since that time,
I have read the Book of Mormon many times
and what I knew that day as a 7-year old has been confirmed to me again and again.
But because a testimony does not stand still--
we are always either strengthening it or letting it slip away--
I have also had times of doubt or questioning,
usually when my busy life
got in the way
of saying my prayers and studying the scriptures.
But my testimony
of the gospel and of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
is rooted in my testimony of the Book of Mormon.
If I know that the Book of Mormon is true,
everything else falls into place . . .
I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God to restore Christ's church in these latter days 
I know that there is a Prophet on this earth, President Thomas S. Monson, who leads and guides Christ's church today 
I know the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true.

At the beginning of June,
I gave myself a challenge
 to do something I've never done before--
read the Book of Mormon in 30 days or less.
It's always taken me a looooong time to read it before 
because I would read a page today, a chapter tomorrow 
and so it went until
 I would finish it eventually--
which is not a bad thing to do.
But I wanted to try something different.
If I can read a book for book club in a month,
why not the Book of Mormon?

This meant about 18 pages per day.
And I'll confess that I'm pretty apt to zone out and
while reading scriptures.
That sounds terrible, but you know it happens.
So my plan was no more than ten pages at a time
and to keep a notebook and pen in hand
to write down my thoughts or summarize every few verses
to help me stay engaged.
What also helped me
was to wake up 15 min. earlier than usual to read before exercising
and then to use any other spare minutes in the day to read.
I simply had to make it a priority.
And carry my Book of Mormon everywhere--
in the car, to the park, etc.
If I missed a day,
I made time to read even more the next day.
at the end of 30 days . . .
I still wasn't done.
But sometimes you have to make allowances,
and so
I finished in 32 days!!

I had such a powerful experience
reading the Book of Mormon.
I know that it testifies of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I know that we can develop
a personal relationship with Christ by reading this book.
I was basically happy with my life before I started this challenge,
but I was much, much happier and felt peace and strength
each day that I read and studied.
I gained personal insights and my understanding grew,
especially as I kept my notebook nearby
and jotted down things that stood out to me.
I know that our Heavenly Father loves each of us--no matter what.
I know that there is a purpose for our life here on Earth
and there is a plan to help us be happy
and to return to our Father in Heaven.
I know that through the atonement of our Savior and Redeemer,
even Jesus Christ,
we can repent and we can be healed.
   I wish everyone could read this book with a sincere heart 
and feel and know of its truthfulness.
Because it is true,
undeniably true.

Now my challenge is to continue to study this book
more often than I have in the past
and to be more diligent in reading all of the scriptures.
The Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the words of living prophets and apostles complement each other
and invite us all to come unto Christ and to learn of Him.

*The Book of Mormon here.
Stefanie Hyer said...

Congratulations Laura! You are absolutly right! If you can read a book for book club, then why not the book of mormon? You have inspired me!

AnneMarie said...

Good for you! I have read the Book of Mormon in 100 days a few times (youth summer challenges with my kids), but never in a month. I just started a goal to read it before Aubrey comes home--about 23-25 pages a week. Hope I can be as diligent as you in sticking with my goal. Thanks for the inspiration and the testimony.

j2nielsen said...

You're inspiring Laura. Thank you.

Cheryl said...

I love you and I love the way you think and write! Thank you for sharing such a great experience. I especially liked the line about "sometimes you have to make allowances." That came from a book that you helped me to appreciate. Now you've helped me to appreciate the Book of Mormon more too.

I once read it in two days. We did it as a mission by reading from about 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. two days in a row. it was so interesting. I wouldn't want to do it that way again (nor could I), but it taught me that some things can't be crammed for! At the same time, I enjoyed sticking with the order of things and such because I didn't have time to forget!

Thanks again.