There is a power in the [Book of Mormon] which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called “the words of life” (D&C 84:85 ), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance. — President Ezra Taft Benson.[i]
I used to think that reading the scriptures was just one more thing to DO and check off my “I’m-Trying-SOOO-Hard-to-be-a-GOOD-Person” list. But, then, my weaknesses and the weaknesses of others broke me in two. No, better put, mortality shattered me into pieces–a million pieces. Putting my life, my sanity even, back together would have been like trying to reconstruct the body of one of the astronauts lost in one of the space shuttle disasters. That was what my life was like when I began this in-depth search of the Book of Mormon in the late 1980s. This was no “casual” effort to keep up with a reading schedule. This was the slow, pondering study of someone looking for an antidote for malaria, a cure for their own spreading cancer.
At that point, I knew I had to find God on a gut-deep, heart-deep, walking-talking-counseling, personal revelation basis, or I was going to spin right off the planet, much less right out of the Church. Everyone and everything I had believed in and participated in as part of the outward structure and appearances of the Mormon way of life had not been able to stop the holocaust of watching addiction in various forms destroy my first marriage and lead the majority of my children away from the Church I love.
That was when I started reading the Book of Mormon as if my very life depended on it. That’s when Joseph Smith’s testimony that this book would get me closer to God than any other book in the world pierced my heart. That’s when I began slowing down and peering into the depths of each verse of this sacred record as if each one were a deep pool of water where jewels and gold was waiting to be discovered. I began to sit still long enough and be still and wait upon the “words of Christ” to open the verses to “the eyes of my understanding.” And under the tutelage of His Spirit I began to awaken to the truth that the Book of Mormon and is truly a survivor’s manual for these last days that are so plagued by addictions and afflictions of every kind.
[i] “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 4.