What a month January was! Near the end of December, with a new year approaching, I decided I wanted to set a pretty major spiritual goal for the year. Since having my new baby, I had kind of put all things spiritual on the back burner. Being a new mom and finding a new routine was challenging for me, and I found myself neglecting my once daily habit of praying and reading my scriptures. Ironic, since it could have been a much smoother transition if I would have asked for Heavenly Father’s help. Oh well, ya live and ya learn!
So, I wanted to do something drastic. I decided I wanted to read the entire Book of Mormon in a month. And, I wanted others to do it with me, because everything’s better when we do it together. So via social media, I gathered a group of friends and family and we embarked on the journey of rapidly reading one of the most powerful books known to man. While my simple goal was to reinstate my habit of reading scriptures daily, it turned into so much more than that. My testimony grew by leaps and bounds. I found myself actually enjoying my quiet time to read my scriptures, rather than rushing through it as if it were an inconvenience. And, I found myself understanding the Gospel of Jesus Christ better than I have in my entire life.
Being the writer that I am, I couldn’t let this inspiration float away without getting it down on paper. So, alas, here is what I learned from reading the Book of Mormon in 31 days!
The timeline became much more clear
My husband chuckled a little when I told him I had literally never realized until now that the scriptures were written in chronological order, like a story. You guys, that is how LITTLE I understood the scriptures! After taking college level Book of Mormon classes at BYU, and studying the book in seminary, I guess I just never paid close enough attention to realize this. What in the world?! Anyway, this rapid reading made the timeline just so much more clear. Reading so many chapters a day made it more like reading a novel, and I enjoyed it incredibly. I found myself eager to read to see what was going to happen next. If the timeline of the Book of Mormon is unclear to you, or if you find yourself having a hard time understanding who all the different people in the scriptures are, read it in a month! You will learn so much.
It isn’t a “chore” to read our scriptures everyday
To be completely honest, I have always looked at studying my scriptures as somewhat of a chore in the past. I used to always rush through a couple of chapters in the morning before I went to work. I knew I needed to read, but I didn’t really enjoy it. Well, when you actually understand what you’re reading, and really study and dig deep instead of just skimming the words, reading scriptures becomes something you look forward to! I no longer view my spiritual study time as a chore. Now, this quiet time I have is actually something I very much look forward to. You know that feeling when you’re reading a really good book, and you are just so into what you’re reading it’s almost like you leave this world and you’re living in the world of your book? That is how I feel now when I am really reading my scriptures and really trying to understand them.
Despite it being written thousands of years ago, the strong themes parallel the same themes we find in the world today
I couldn’t believe how many times I found myself saying, “Oh my goodness, this is exactly what is happening in our world today!” It’s the pride cycle. It’s found over and over again in the scriptures, and currently, I think we’re at the peak of the pride cycle in our world today. The people will be doing really well spiritually, and slowly but surely, they become more and more prosperous and rely less and less and God. And soon enough, they neglect Heavenly Father completely and go the way of the world until something major happens to humble them. It happens time and time again throughout the scriptures, and it is still happening today.
Not only is the overall cycle found in the scriptures applicable, but there are so many individual verses that can bring us strength today just as they did the people in the past. The scriptures will never be out of date. It will never be some old book that is a thing of the past. Because the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, it will always be relevant.
Doing hard things with other people (instead of alone) is WAY better
Every day, on the Facebook page I created for this challenge, I would post my thoughts and inspiration from that day’s reading. Then, others would chime in with what they learned and what inspired them. This was such a powerful thing! I felt so connected to the group I was doing this challenge with. I learned so much from what they would share. This whole experience became much more memorable and powerful because of the people I shared it with. If you’re antisocial (like me) stop it! Get out there, get some friends, and do something hard together. It makes life so much better. We need each other.
There is NO WAY it isn’t a real and true book
Some of you may not believe in the Book of Mormon, and that’s ok. But let me tell you, if you ever read the entire book in 31 days, with an open heart, I promise you will have absolutely no doubt that it is a real and true book. There is no way the words are made up or false. It’s just impossible. The spirit you feel while you read it, the inspiration you receive, the power found in the words…it’s real. My testimony of the Book of Mormon is rock solid after this experience. At this point, nothing could shake it. If you find yourself questioning, please please please give this a try! Give yourself a month of devotion to studying and all questions will go out the window!
I could go on and on about how amazing this has been, but I will just leave it at that. Please, challenge yourself to at some point in your life read the Book of Mormon in a shorter amount of time than you ever have before. You will not regret it! It can help you escape a spiritual drought and once again find the intense and never-ending JOY that the Gospel can and will bring. I will end with this powerful scripture:
Alma 5:26 – “And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?”
If you have ever felt in your life like the Book of Mormon is true, if you have ever felt the love of our Savior, if you have ever had a strong testimony…can ye feel so now?