“If you knew your life was coming to an end, what final messages would you want to share with those you love most?” This question prompted my mom’s sharing her testimony of the Book of Mormon with her children and grandchildren. I love that she’s written her testimony on various gospel topics. We will treasure her record for years to come. My parents’ testimonies are treasures to me and help me get my bearings in this vast expanse of life and space.
Everyone’s family looks different. Even in my nuclear family, some of our journeys are vastly different from each other. Testimonies are connective and the value of sharing testimony is immense—even if it’s written or expressed to ourselves and for ourselves.
MY TESTIMONY OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
by Darla Bushman, February 6, 2020
The “Come Follow Me” lesson for this week asked a question that spurred me onward to something I have been thinking of doing for a couple of weeks. The question is, “If you knew your life was coming to an end, what final messages would you want to share with those you love most?”
I had already decided that I should write down my testimony of the Book of Mormon. Delisa asked me to share it on the day of Asher’s football game, but for some reason, I declined to do it then. I do want you all to know for sure I have that testimony, and not hide it, so I will do my best to share it with you in writing.
It was on Saturday, January 18th that our bishop called late and asked me to bear my testimony of the Book of Mormon the next morning in sacrament meeting along with others. I was happy to say yes, but I was surprised when I was one of only two he asked to do that along with our stake president who was also going to speak. I had thought about what I might say but didn’t write anything down.
So now I’ll write as much of what I said as I can remember (with maybe further explanations and any other bits I want you to know).
I mentioned that I didn’t know why the bishop asked me or how he knew I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, but I do have one and I knew that my Heavenly Father knows I do.
I said that it is my pleasure to join the other witnesses of the Book of Mormon, even those whose testimonies are written in the book and the millions of others whose are not, especially our Savior Himself who declared to us as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 17:6 about the Book of Mormon, “…as your Lord and your God liveth, it is true.”
I told that I have been privileged to have the Book of Mormon in my possession all my life. Many of my ancestors sacrificed greatly to join the Church and gather with the Saints. I know that some of them were among the Gentiles Nephi saw who came forth “out of captivity” across the waters to this land, as described in 1 Nephi 13:13-20. I feel that I too would be willing to make a journey or pilgrimage or trek if I had to to be able to worship God as the Book of Mormon recommends, and I can testify of its truthfulness because of things I have seen and felt and know.
I explained that as a child growing up, I did not read the Book of Mormon with my family very much, and we weren’t so often admonished from the pulpit to read it every day as we are now. I learned about it and referred to it a lot and finally read it in seminary, but my testimony is founded on an experience I had when I was 18.
In 1965 my parents and five of their children went on a vacation, traveling all across this beautiful land of America. It was a long road trip in a crowded sedan from Idaho to New York to attend the World’s Fair, but it was wonderful! We stopped along the way at many Church history sites, including the Hill Cumorah Pageant. My father enjoyed the pageant so much that he changed our plans and we stayed over to watch it again another night.
That gave us the opportunity to be there on Sunday morning to attend a sacrament meeting held on the grounds at the foot of the Hill, and we sat on benches where the audiences would sit to watch the pageant. Several General Authorities were in attendance, but I remember only three: Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, who at that time was an assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder N. Eldon Tanner, an Apostle, and Marion D. Hanks, an assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They all spoke and bore testimonies about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and also about the fact that the final battles of two great nations written about therein occurred all around where we were sitting—that the Nephites and Jaredites walked, and fought, struggled and died right there in that expanse of land next to the Hill. The Spirit bore witness to my soul that their words were true and that is a feeling I can’t deny or ever forget.
After about 20 years, in 1985 or so, my husband and I and the six children we had at the time decided to follow the counsel of our bishop and read the Book of Mormon every day as a family. We tried hard, but for many months we only managed to read about 15 days out of 30, as I kept track of the days we read and what page we were on. Still, it became part of our daily lives and I can testify that there is a power in the Book of Mormon that can bring families closer to God than any other book.
As we kept trying to read every day, I could feel how good it was for us—some of our children learned to read with the Book of Mormon and one son who was in seminary asked and was given permission to leave a family campout and drive 45 miles home to get a Book of Mormon so he could read every day and not miss a single day.
I finally noticed that we had reached my goal of family scripture reading every day for a month when I counted over two months of daily reading just a few weeks before our fourth child left for her full-time mission, 17 years after we started this.
Is there a power in the Book of Mormon? I know there is! All eight of our children chose to serve missions, they all went on to graduate from college, and all eight will be with us in the Payson temple next week when our last child is married!
Now, we live in the days when many physical evidences are coming forth from the world to support the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I have read DNA studies that support it. I have walked on mounds that were built anciently with the same fortifications described by Captain Moroni. I have seen a ship that was built after the fashion of those built in 600 BC that made a voyage around Africa that showed how Nephi’s ship could have traveled.
I know the latitude of the southern United States is the same as that of Jerusalem and that the seeds and plants and animals necessary for living the Law of Moses could grow where Lehi and his children could use them. These and other evidences strengthen my already strong testimony that the Book of Mormon is true and powerful. I know it is God’s tangible “visual aid” given to help us spread His gospel, to teach and bring souls to Christ in these latter days. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
About Delisa Hargrove
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.