Recently, I was asked to speak in Sacrament meeting on the topic of "How the Book of Mormon has Changed My Life." While preparing, I was feeling at a loss of where to start. I have never had an exact moment of change that came from reading the Book of Mormon. I couldn’t even think of any particularly inspirational stories involving me and a Book of Mormon.
Panicked, I wondered if it even HAD changed my life at all! I mean, I know that I've read it-- enjoyed it even. Felt uplifted? Yes. Inspired? Yes. But truthfully, I've been a member my entire life... I was exposed to the Book of Mormon from day 1. How could it really change my life if I've always had it?
Finally, I decided to just open up a copy. Where better to begin than at the source? As I was looking on our bookshelf for a particular copy I had used during my study at BYU, I found another copy. And another. And another.
As it turns out, there are 12 copies of the Book of Mormon in my house. A couple of them reside on our nightstands, two more live in our scripture cases next to Bibles where they patiently wait for Sunday, the rest (eight of them) sit next to each other on our bookshelf.
I look at that bookshelf everyday, several times a day, but it never struck me until that moment that there were eight copies of the Book of Mormon sitting there. Now that I had noticed them, I looked them over and wondered how many of them were mine.
I opened the first copy and found, stamped inside: “This book belongs to Ashley.” I opened the next copy and found my name again, in my own handwriting from college! I looked through them all and discovered that 8 of the 12 copies we have in our house belonged to me at one point in my life or another.
Anyone who knows me well can tell you how much I love books; they are, indeed, one of my passions. But I don’t own more than one copy of any other book. That thought struck me. If I own EIGHT copies of the Book of Mormon, surely that fact alone speaks of its importance in my life.
My first real copy of the Book of Mormon was given to me by my parents shortly after I learned to read. My name is stamped on the inside cover in neon pink ink. When my parents gave it to me, I remember feeling grown-up and important. I knew the book was something valuable by the way my parents treated it. They talked of it and read to us out of it, often. When I began reading it on my own, the language style was difficult to understand, but reading it made me happy. Looking at the pictures in the book and thinking about the stories they illustrated gave me the same feelings.
How grateful I am for parents who enabled those experiences and demonstrated a love and reverence for the word of God. Cheryl Lant, the Primary General President said,
“How blessed is the child whose parents base their lives on the teachings in the scriptures! There is absolutely nothing more important we can do for our families than to strengthen them in the scriptures.”One of the best things we can do for our children is to teach them from the scriptures! My daughter is yet too young to understand, but we read to her out of the Book of Mormon Stories book every night. She may not understand what we're saying, but at least she's in the habit and she recognizes the cover. ;-)
To be continued...