A few years ago, I found myself in need of a change in my life. There was an urgency that was building, a persistent pressure on my soul that said “change something.” I knew this was a prompting from the Holy Ghost, and agreed with the direction I was receiving. Something needed to change, but what?
After pondering on the prompting to change something, even though my life was happy and not under abnormal stress, I decided I would start reading the Book of Mormon every morning for one hour. I had developed a bad habit of scrolling social media or turning on Netflix as soon as my children left for school, which would often derail the rest of the day. I decided this was the habit I most wanted to change.
On October 1, 2018, I set out a new copy of the Book of Mormon, and along with some scripture markers I was poised and ready for study. As soon as the children left for school I began to read. To my great surprise it was not difficult to start. The Spirit had been preparing my mind for several weeks and all I had to do was follow.
Then, on October 6, another surprise! On this day during the general women’s session of general conference, President Russell M. Nelson issued a specific challenge to the women of the Church. One element of his challenge was to read the Book of Mormon between now and the end of the year (Russell M. Nelson, “Sisters’ Participation in the Gathering of Israel,” Ensign, Nov. 2018). Well, I gave myself a great big pat on the back, pleased that I had already prepared, and was ready to meet the task at hand.
A few days after the challenge was issued, my ministering sister showed up with a post-it note indicating exactly how many pages I would have to read every day to complete the Book of Mormon by December 31.
This simple act from my ministering sister was the final piece of the puzzle that allowed me to see the whole picture. I was loved and recognized by my Heavenly Father, and that this was important. I was humbled. The Holy Ghost had prompted and prepared, the Prophet extended an invitation, and my friend showed up to help and support.
I spent the next several weeks feasting on the scriptures. As instructed by President Nelson, I took special care to highlight each verse that spoke of, or referred to the Savior. I used a green marker for these verses. Soon the pages were full of green. How had I not realized how often the Savior is mentioned in the Book of Mormon?
It only took 26 days to finish the Book of Mormon. And I even read all the Isaiah chapters.
As I finished the challenge there was a feeling of “what now?” Even though I had succeeded in replacing a bad habit with a good one, I wondered what would happen if I stopped reading. Would I slide back into old routines? So, I simply grabbed another Book of Mormon and started again.
By the end of the year I had read the Book of Mormon three times.
A this point in time I was recognizing the positive changes that could only be attributed to my new morning routine. Life seemed less fretful. I was sleeping better, and I was able to accomplish more during the day with less procrastination. I was more conscious of the media I was consuming and was surprised to see the impact daily scripture study was having. The days seemed easier, not without challenge, but easier.
Soon that quiet hour every morning became the best part of my day. What was happening to me? I started to wonder if I had the stamina to keep this up for an entire year. There was only one way to find out. I grabbed another Book of Mormon and started again.
For just over a year I committed one hour every day to scripture study. It was rigorous but rewarding. Before this I had only read the Book of Mormon a handful of times, and usually half-heartedly. Today I continue to make daily scripture study a priority, even if it is just for a few minutes.
There were many lessons I learned during this year of study. Many are personal and precious to me, but here are a few I’d like to share.
First, the Book of Mormon is a chameleon, a book about everything. It parallels the challenges we face today. It speaks of faith and family, heartbreak and forgiveness. It teaches us the way to find true joy and happiness, how and why we should change. It supports and reinforces our mission to gather Israel. It testifies of Christ. It is the panacea for life’s questions and trials.
The scriptures will open to you. Greater understanding will come as you consistently study. It doesn’t happen every time you open the scriptures, but on occasion your heart will be opened to new understanding and your conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ will deepen.
A Heaven-Sent Solution to Making Life More Manageable
Finally, if you are desperate for something to change in your life, I know and bear testimony that a commitment to daily scripture study can only help. I cannot describe to you the ways in which my life changed after making daily scripture study essential. My problems did not suddenly disappear. I still have sorrow, worry, and trials, but the change that happened in my life was undeniable. Life just seemed more manageable. My conversion deepened as I felt myself drawing closer to the Savior.
Perhaps the most impactful lesson has been gaining a greater understanding that I am a child of God and that He knows me personally and individually. Even if that was the only lesson learned, wouldn’t that have been well worth it?