Concluding the 85 Day Book of Mormon challenge

My heart is full this evening! The week that has gone by at the conclusion of our Book of Mormon challenge has been speckled with emails, messages and social media posts from our girls, each expressing their gratitude for the Book of Mormon, and the things they learned from their study of it. In Relief Society today we wanted to give the time to the girls, to share their feelings and experiences of the Challenge. Before opening up the floor, we gave them a printed handout of the work they had done throughout the past 85 days- the study questions they had written, the summaries they had written and the verses they had highlighted from every daily assignment. From the launch lesson, we reminded them of those promises we had been given if we would make a serious study of the Book of Mormon:

You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called ‘the words of life,’ and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. … Every Latter-day Saint should make the study of this book a lifetime pursuit.                                                                                          – Marion G. Romney

 

… along with the promise we’d felt we had permission from the Lord to share with our girls after prayer, fasting and preparation:

Even if all you read for these 85 days is one verse daily, I testify that your life will change. While we fasted this week, I also felt the permission to promise you that if you will read sincerely, there will be a moment that you will find yourself in the pages of this book.  Maybe it will be the worst version of yourself; maybe it will be the best. Your relationship to the Book of Mormon will be a personal one,

 

On Saturday night, the night before this meeting, I sat and marked all of the chosen verses from the challenge in my scriptures. Essentially, I realised that I read the entire Book of Mormon in this strange-highlighted-way in just one hour. More special to me, was that I felt I was reading a personalised version- I was reading the verses that my Relief Society had hand-picked for me, and were they ever the verses that I needed, that spoke so personally to me.

 

I read,

…  I have refined thee, Hollie, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction…

… O Lord, I have trusted thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh…

… and everlasting joy and holiness shall be upon their heads; and they shall obtain gladness and joy; sorrow and mourning shall flee away…

… pray unto Him continually…

… reconcile yourself to the will of God…

… He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world…

… My soul delighteth in plainness…

… And the words which I have written in weakness shall be made strong unto them…

… Take counsel from [Gods] hand…

… Cleave unto God as He cleaveth unto you…

… I did raise my voice high and it did reach the heavens…

… He worketh in me to do according to His will…

… Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend…

… They did publish good tidings of good…

… He knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart, for by his hand were they all created…

… They did not fight against God anymore…

… Now seeing that I know these things, why should I desire more than to perform the work to which I have been called…

… All things denote there is a God…

 

During this spiritual feast, a sister from our auxilliary texted me: “Ahh… These Book Of Mormon People… it’s like they recorded it for our day!”- and that’s exactly, perfectly how I felt. I hoped that my sisters had felt that same feeling as they had read and likened the scriptures to themselves.

 

We turned the time to them and sure enough, the testimonies they shared reflected their experiences with the scriptures; this personalised schooling from God. Sisters shared how reading the scriptures had softened their hearts and enlightened their minds. They had been prompted to listen closer to the spirit; to serve their fellow man, to be inspired by prophets of old. They were cautious of deceit as they learned of Gadianton robbers and rooted for peoples of old to win battles and stand for the right. So many precious testimonies were borne, and I felt incredibly grateful to be a part of this sisterhood; to feel the mantle of my stewardship over such steadfast girls was such a gift to me. I am in awe of my sisters- they are close to God, they are flawed but willing to work hard, to try hard, to keep going. They teach me so much, inspire me greatly and bless me constantly as I learn from their examples.

 

Last night I read a chosen scripture from 3 Nephi. The Saviour visited with the Nephites and spent time with them. Before he leaves, it is written,

17:17… and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the father.

I have read this before, in the New Testament. The last thing the saviour does before atoning for the sins and infirmities of the world, is pray to the Father for His friends. Not for mankind- but for his closest and chosen disciples and family. Here too, He prays for his new flock.

 

Likening this scripture to small moments in my life, I thought of the women I served with. I thought of the times we knelt together as a presidency and prayed for our flock. I thought of the words of my sweet counsellors, who prayed to their father for the sweet women in our stewardship. The love we feel for them is something strange and pure. The sisterhood is a real thing.

 

Considering how meagre our prayers must be compared with that of our elder brother, I marvel at the love the Saviour has for us, never more apparent than in the words of the Book of Mormon. I testify the He is our advocate with a Father and Mother in Heaven. He knows us, and prays for us to His Father even today. I frequently recall that imagery so precious to me, learned last year- disciples frightened, on storm-tossed waves shake the Saviour awake and ask, “careth thou not that we perish?”, and this Lord answers in all compassion- why do you fear? I am in your boat! Christ lives to remain with us in our theoretical boats. I know that. I am grateful for that. And more than ever, I am grateful for this precious record of Him.

Here is the Book of Mormon Challenge- the assignments, study questions, summaries and highlighted verses, all written by sisters in the Britannia Relief Society. Their mandate now- and yours too, if you wish- is to share it when they are Relief Society presidents, young women presidents, mothers, teachers, institute presidents, auxilliary counsellors or secretaries. britannia-relief-society-book-of-mormon-85-day-challenge-2016

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One comment

  1. Wow, beautiful words, Hollie. You sisters put so much work into this challenge. Thank you for sharing this.

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