Reading the Book of Mormon brings light to your life
In front of about two hundred young single adults gathered for worship service on a Sunday afternoon I suppressed the shyness I experience in front of crowds and shared the thought that “reading the Book of Mormon will bring a light and greater happiness into your life.” I was sharing some of the impressions I had distinctly felt after recently reading the book cover to cover in a short period of time. The Book of Mormon is a volume of scripture and companion to the Bible for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently called The Mormon Church).
About a year ago, I had read The Book of Mormon with greater urgency and focus than I ever had before, and I had noticed a number of significant changes while I read. I picked up the book and just dove in, reading as much as 30 pages a day, and as I read and turned from page to page, I noticed a change within myself. I had been feeling very stagnant in life, at work and in personal relationships things did not seem to be moving forward at all, and I felt very weighed down by this. The burdens I was carrying were being lifted layer by layer, almost as I turned the pages.
At 19, I served a two year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Northeastern Brazil. I remember telling people often that the Book of Mormon was special and unique in how it “changes the lives of people.” I knew this was true, as I had read it prior to my mission and had experienced this change in my life from reading it. When I read it at 17 I felt more positive about what I could accomplish with my life and I felt more forgiving towards other people and people noticed this. But I had sort of assumed this was kind of a one-time event, during the first time you read it. Reading it with a renewed sense of urgency, at this very difficult time about 10 years after the first time I read it, opened my understanding to how the book can be useful at any period in life.
How does it change lives?
Some people may wonder why reading the book causes such significant changes. The full title of the book is “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe the Bible to be a Testament or witness of Jesus Christ and The Book of Mormon to accompany The Bible as an additional or another Testament of Jesus Christ. Through reading the Book of Mormon you come to a better understanding of who Jesus Christ is, why He is all-important and the purpose of His atoning sacrifice. It is through coming to a greater understanding and belief in Jesus Christ whose “burden is light” that problems dissipate and lives are changed.
The core of my belief
Shortly after the publication of Book of Mormon in 1830, early church members were often asked what distinguished them from other churches, and it always boiled down to the unique nature of the Book of Mormon. Similarly, as I think about my faith in God or try to explain my belief to friends and why I choose to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it always returns to The Book of Mormon. This understanding stems mostly from my own quiet study of the book accompanied with prayer, which gives me confidence that other sincere readers can have a similar experience.
Joseph Smith, who translated the Book of Mormon, stated that it is “The most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” I know that statement is true, from reading the book and feeling the improved understanding about God and his love for each person. I cannot understate what this book has meant to me as an individual and member of The Church of Jesus Christ. Reading it has lifted burdens and added valuable dimensions and insights to life, for which I am thankful.