This is another post in our series, with people sharing their personal feelings about and experiences with the Book of Mormon. (See previous posts here and here.) Today, Kathryn shares her powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon, and how it impacted her at a critical time in her life. You can find Kathryn at Well-Behaved Mormon Woman and on Twitter at LDSNana. You can read the entire post, The Book of Mormon and Me, on her blog.
I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when I was 10 years old, but our family rarely ever attended church. I was exposed to the teachings of Mormonism mainly through other family members and my hit-and-miss association with the Church. I credit my grandmother and one particular aunt for their religious influence in my early years. Because of their teachings, I knew what the Spirit felt like — although I didn’t realize what it was at the time. In some interesting way, although I rarely attended, I felt that I belonged to the Mormon Church.
I was still 17 when I graduated from high school. During this time the Latter-day Saint missionaries had found our family when they were out walking the streets. My mother started going back to church and my step-father was converted. In fact, most of the family started attending the LDS Church — everyone living in the house, except for me. By this point in my life I was looking to be independent, live my own life, doing what I wanted — finally, and ready to move into my adult life.
But something kept nagging at me, not to ignore the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I realized that I needed to reconcile the feelings that were stirring inside of me. I made an abrupt decision to go to church one Sunday, which shocked my entire family. I’ll confess, that prior to this I had been quite rebellious about going churchy! My heart was softening. It felt good to go into the church and feel the love of the Mormon people. Seriously, these are the nicest people!
I had a decision to make. If the Mormon Church was really true, I had to change my life and commit to live the teachings of Mormonism. For a cute 17-year-old-girl, this was a serious life change at a very critical time in my life — or so it felt. I knew about the Book of Mormon, but I had never read even a page of it. I became aware of the promise that is given by God to those who would read it and sincerely inquire if it were true. The promise is that the Holy Ghost will testify to you that it is true, if you will read it and pray to know.
At night, before I went to bed, I began reading the Book of Mormon. I did’t understand everything that I read, but I couldn’t deny that I was feeling something. One afternoon I decided to gather my courage, get down on my knees and ask God if the Book of Mormon was really true? I knew that if I received an answer in the affirmative, that this also meant that Joseph Smith — who produced the book, had to be a true prophet of God. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect, but something inside of me urged me to continue…
To this day I have never forgotten, nor can I explain, exactly what happened to me when I knelt to offer up that prayer. But I can tell you this, a sensation of light began at the top of my head and radiated throughout my entire body. I had a feeling as if I were filled with warmth and light. This manifestation remained with me as the thoughts in my mind confirmed with certainty that the Book of Mormon was true. I’m not sure how much time passed before I was able to rise from my knees and acknowledge that something life changing had just happened to me.
I felt no fear. On the contrary, I was completely peaceful and felt as if I had known this all my life. From that moment forward it was simple to accept everything I was learning about Mormonism. I looked forward to following living prophets and living my life the way I knew God wanted me to. No longer did I feel that keeping the commandments was going to be difficult.
For the first time in my life, I knew without a doubt that I had a loving Heavenly Father that heard my prayers and loved me in a way that I had never previously understood. I began to learn more about the purpose of life. Being a child of divorce, having my family torn apart and not having much of a relationship with my father, this was very comforting for me. I became determined to make the kind of choices that would bring the happiness that I so desired for my future.
Everything good about my life, and there’s a lot of it, goes back to that prayer when I came to know that the Book of Mormon is true!
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