At this point I'm sure you're all wondering what kind of education my poor home-schooled children are getting, if their mom doesn't even know how many days there are in a week. I just had to find a way to squeeze TJ's testimony in. He truly is the spiritual leader of this family and I'm so grateful he took the time to share. His account of how the Book of Mormon helped him in our early years of marriage is totally new to me, so that makes me really glad I asked!
Because I teach scripture to teenagers for a job, (I’m an LDS seminary teacher) I’m in the scriptures for hours every day. You might think that the scriptures would get tiresome, but after 5 years of teaching I’ve found it to be just the opposite. You also might think that I would get my fill of them at work and would not want or need to study them personally at home each day, but I’ve also found that to be untrue. In my personal life I RELY on studying the scriptures each day, and especially the Book of Mormon. Why especially the Book of Mormon? It is hard to quantify, but I can answer by simply stating that it just works best. This doesn’t surprise me considering what Joseph Smith boldly declared, “a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than any other book.” I have many theories as to why living the precepts of this book in particular works best.
Perhaps, most importantly is the frequency, depth, and clarity with which it testifies of my Savior Jesus Christ. Its central purpose is clearly and explicitly to bring me to Him. Its success in doing so is demonstrated in my feeling about my favorite scripture. Yes, I do have a favorite, a one and only favorite that will be so forever! 2nd Nephi 26:24 states: “He (Christ) doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him.” This one simple phrase, this beautiful doctrine revealed in the Book of Mormon, that he doesn’t do, or in effect say, feel or even think, for that matter, ANYTHING except its express purpose is to benefit me and mankind brings such astounding clarity to the character of God as to motivate me to complete devotion to Him. The realization that he does NOTHING unless it is to help us startles me with wonder into a deep sense of gratitude and desire to please him. I am inspired to love him with all my heart, might, mind and strength as I learn of his infinite love for me in the Book of Mormon. Because of what I’ve learned in the Book of Mormon I dedicate my entire life to His service. What else could bring me closer to God than such a desire?
The Book of Mormon also works for me by solving my daily dilemmas; over and over I receive inspiration that is exactly what I needed with my struggles. I can think of many examples. One of my favorites is when Kari and I were engaged we had decided to have children right away, even though I was scared out of my mind about providing financially for a family. We both only had two years of college completed. We did have some money saved, but between the two of us we had only one part-time job because we were moving to Provo as soon as we got married. My worst fears about money and providing were realized day three of marriage; on our honeymoon our car broke down and was totaled. We had to spend almost all our savings on a new car. Now our resolve to have children right away was really put to the test. We felt strongly that God did not want us to delay having children and so we took a big leap of faith. The first months of marriage were scary for me as I worried about the future. I had 3 years of school left before my career as a teacher began, so I was going to school full-time and could barely work at all, and once a baby came Kari would have to quit her new job and then it would all hit the fan. How was this going to work? I will never forget the answer I found in Mosiah, chapter four, where King Benjamin promises that if we are faithful, “ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked.” I couldn’t believe it. God was answering my prayers, telling me that He would make sure I could provide for my family if I moved forward in faith. As I pondered over this promise my fears about the future were swept away. I knew the future was bright. We successfully had 2 children before I graduated, and I consider it a miracle that we now have 5 children, a big beautiful home in our dream town, and no student loan debt, all on a teacher’s salary and without Kari having to work a day outside the home since our first baby. The promises in the Book of Mormon really work.
Another example is that recently I’ve been feeling like I don’t have the time to complete all that I need to do. I’ve been stressed as I try to balance the many demands on my time. It doesn’t help that I’m a perfectionist. I often fret and worry about how my efforts don’t provide the outcome I’m looking for. Once again, my problem was solved in the Book of Mormon. Moroni 7:33: “And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever is expedient in me.” This came as a revelation to me. Yes, through faith in Christ I will be made equal to any task, but I learned that I am only made equal to the tasks that God deems expedient. I learned that if I fail at something or if things don’t turn out like I had hoped, it just wasn’t expedient. In other words it didn’t really matter in the big picture of my eternal progression. This principle brings tremendous comfort to me as I continually battle my fallen hopes.
Just this week I’ve been struggling again with the same issue and found another scripture that deepens my comfort when things go awry. 2 Nephi 32:9 “…pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.” With this promise in mind, I can’t lose! No matter what the results of my efforts, if I will be prayerful then God will turn it for my good! I am now constantly reminded of God’s infinite wisdom, concern, and help in my behalf. I feel like He’s always there with a big safety net ready to catch me. Even though I fall, and--I do fall--He is there to catch me and ensure that everything will be okay in the end.
Wow! God is so good to me! I feel like much of what I know about Him comes from the Book of Mormon. I rely on this book to bring me closer to my Savior Jesus Christ. It works and I love the results!