Today, we are lucky to hear from Catania Larson of the blog That Good Part.
One of the things that sets the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints apart from other churches is our belief in the Book of Mormon. Like many other Latter-day Saints, I have a testimony of the truthfulness and power of this book.
I haven't always had a firm testimony in the Book of Mormon, but I was fortunate enough to be raised in the Church. The Book of Mormon has always been a part of my life. I was baptized when I was eight, and have felt the influence of the gospel for as long as I can remember. Even though I haven't always had a testimony of the Book of Mormon, I have to admit, I can't think of a time when I have doubted it's truth. I had faith that the Book of Mormon was true - based on the testimony of others. However, over time, faith and borrowed light wasn't enough. I needed to gain my own testimony.
As I got older, I started to be filled with a genuine desire to know if the Book of Mormon was true. Over time, the desire to know if the Book of Mormon was true translated into the willingness to diligently study the Book of Mormon and other scriptures.
So, I started studying the Book of Mormon. I started applying the lessons I learned in the Book of Mormon. And guess what happened? Nothing much. I prayed, and studied, and felt fine about it, but no visions, no crying, no falling on my knees.
I feel like my experience isn't uncommon. When I was a teenager, I read the book of Mormon, and I felt like what I had read was good, and I figured it was true, but I was still waiting for my moment when I would have some kind of Heavenly Visitation or hear a voice. I was waiting until I cried a lot (I'm not much of a cryer, so it never happened for me). Because I hadn't seen a vision, because I hadn't cried a lot, I wondered if I had received a witness of the Book of Mormon. I continued faithful - sure that testimony is faith affirmed, and that my faith would be affirmed at some point in the future.
While waiting for this groundbreaking Spiritual experience, I was gaining a witness of the Book of Mormon - line upon line, precept upon precept. And, I finally came to realize that the witness that I've received of the Book of Mormon has been cumulative rather than singular. It has been a bunch of small experiences with the scriptures and Book of Mormon that have worked together to be a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
So - what is my witness? What are these small blessings?
Because I spend time each day, studying the Book of Mormon, my life is better. The book of Mormon has illuminated my soul. (See Alma 5:7.) Even though I am far from perfection, even though I struggle with sins and weakness, I feel like the Lord, in the midst of my darkness, lights the path before me. And it is the Book of Mormon that has been the way that He has lightened my path. The light has come upon me like a sunrise, a little at a time, until, eventually, I'm bathed in the warm sun.
As I have continued reading and pondering the scriptures, I have had more experiences with the Spirit. For the most part, they haven't been emotional or overwhelming in the "girls'-camp-bawl-my-eyes-out-way". I haven't felt my bosom burn, as many people do. Instead, I have experienced the following: "13 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy," (Doctrine and Covenants 11:13).
I have felt enough of this joy and enlightenment, and feel it whenever I read the Book of Mormon, that my soul truly hungers for it. I don't mean this in a self-righteous way. In fact, my soul hungers for the enlightenment and joy of the Spirit precisely because of my weakness and affinity toward sin.
Because of the joy and peace I feel as I study the Book of Mormon, I hunger for the edification of the Spirit. It helps me make sense of my life. I feel rejuvenated and nourished. I feel able to "make it." Studying the Book of Mormon fills me with peace and hope. I have felt the love of God pour on me as I've studied the Book of Mormon. And I've come to know that there are only a few other things we can do to feel this kind of nourishment, love, peace, and hope. Not everyone has a temple nearby. We can't always spend our time at Church; however, we can access the blessings of peace that the Lord will bestow upon us daily through the Book of Mormon.
This blessing, I have come to know, is my witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon: the blessing of an illuminated soul, an enlightened mind, and joy. It is what we hunger for.
Many people in the world today hunger for this joy, but don't understand how to find these blessings. They look for it through drugs, sex, or some other kind of way.
Yet, we can access these blessings daily through scripture study. I have been able to access these blessings through daily study.
Experiencing these blessings, these miracles, is how I've come to know that the Book of Mormon is true.
Catania a stay-at-home-mom of four cute children living in Northwest Arkansas. She has lived in California, Texas, Utah, Pennsylvania, and Arizona before moving to Arki-land. There is a squirrel in Catania's head that is always thinking of new projects, ideas, and things to do. Catania loves studying and thinking about the gospel you can find more on her blog at http://thatgoodpart.wordpress.