Do you like to read? Do you ever listen to audio books? What is it about a particular book that makes you excited to recommend it to others? Do you ever share your list of favorites with friends or family? Have you ever seen someone you don’t know, reading your favorite book, and felt an overwhelming connection to them, simply because they were reading something so dear to you?
On Labor Day, my husband and I spent the day running errands in preparation for our son’s upcoming wedding. On our trip to the grocery store, we picked up some salted mixed nuts that my husband’s sweet mother, Margie, said she was wishing for. We stopped into the care center for an impromptu visit to give them to her, knowing how much she was craving the salty goodness of some roasted cashews.
When we entered her small apartment, Margie was so excited to see us and was thrilled at the yummy treat we presented to her, but she wanted to share something with us that was much more nutritious. She clapped her hands together and exclaimed, “guess what?! I just finished the Book of Mormon, again!” She was beaming with the Spirit that comes to a person when they have a burning love for and testimony of the Book of Mormon and she wanted to pass on her enthusiasm to us. She wanted us to feel the warm glow she was already basking in.
Margie is 91 years old. She has been a speech pathologist and teacher and just recently finished writing her third novel. She had to hire an administrative assistant to help with the editing of the last two books, as her eyesight and manual dexterity is declining rapidly. She wears hearing aides and uses a walker. Her body is getting weaker, but her mind and her spirit continue to wax strong, like that of a young woman. She has been receiving books on tape from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Disabled through the Library of Congress. She listens to at least one book per week. She always is excited to tell us about the newest saga she has “read.” She doesn’t read light material. She doesn’t have time for that, she says. She is learning all about Russian history, the saga of the American West, European History, and stories of the Great Depression. She can close her eyes and be transported through time and space.
On this day though, it was the Book of Mormon she had finished. Again. She declared to us: “I realized there are 21 tapes and if I listen to one tape every day, I CAN READ THE BOOK OF MORMON EVERY 21 DAYS!” Pause now and realize that this is a woman dedicated to the study of the Book of Mormon and the Scriptures and words of the prophets and apostles. She has read the Book of Mormon so many times, it would be impossible to count, but she is STILL reading and studying the Book of Mormon, even if she is listening to it. How many people would say, in her predicament, “well, I’ve read the Book of Mormon before, and I’m old; I’m good?”
We left her humble home that day and I was bursting with curiosity. Her spirit had communicated with mine and I felt hungry to try this for myself. The next day, while I was getting ready in the morning, I pressed the little triangle that means “play” after going to The Book of Mormon under Scriptures on the Gospel Library app on my smartphone. It took 10 minutes and I was hooked! I couldn’t put it down, or rather I couldn’t turn it off! In the last few days I have listened to it while cleaning the house, while making dinner, while driving around running errands, and in preparations for our upcoming wedding. It’s impossible to express how it makes me feel to listen to these words. It is different from reading it and while I love to read the Book of Mormon daily and study and cross reference, it has been a pure delight to just simply let the words sink in and flood my heart and mind. I have felt an increase of the Spirit. I have felt more happiness in my heart. And I have yearned for more and more and more. And so, my dear friends, I would like to share with you my renewed excitement for my favorite book, even an audio book, The Book of Mormon.
In the words of Gordon B. Hinckley from 2005:
“I offer a challenge to members of the Church throughout the world and to our friends everywhere to read or reread the Book of Mormon…before the end of this year. Without reservation I promise you that if each of you will observe this simple program, regardless of how many times you previously may have read the Book of Mormon, there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.”
I share my simple and humble testimony that the Book of Mormon is true and it is the word of God. It is another testimony of the Savior, Jesus Christ. It was written for us, for our time. I know it is true for the Holy Ghost has testified this to me. I love studying it and always have, but this new adventure of listening to it has blessed my life in surprising ways! In a world full of confusion, the voice of the Lord ringing through the Book of Mormon is strong and clear. It is my favorite book and now that I realize I can listen to it with my headphones on while flying, traveling in the car, or just in my own home, I have a new excitement for its teachings. Hearing the words and letting them flood my mind and my heart has lifted me higher. I will always read the Book of Mormon, and now I know I can do so even when my eyes fail me.
The next time I’m asked what book I would most recommend, I will smile and boldly exclaim, “The Book of Mormon, and I know you’ll love it, too!
Click on Gospel Library App Tools or download the Gospel Library from the app store on your mobile device.