This last Friday was a very big day for me! I finished the New Testament for the first time in my life! It also is the day that I have completed the entire standard works, front-to-back, by myself! For some people, the Old Testament is the last that they complete, but for me it was the New Testament.
When I was fourteen years old, my brother was preparing to leave for a mission. My brother, knowing that I had never read The Book of Mormon before, told me that we were going to start reading it together. About a week later, he left for his mission and made me promise him that I would finish The Book of Mormon. I kept my promise and finished it right before his one year mark. I wrote him excitedly to tell him that I had finished, knowing that he would be happy for me. No doubt, he was very happy for me. But then came the new challenge: read it again before I come home. I chose to accept this challenge and did finish it about six months later.
While being on my mission, I finished reading The Book of Mormon for my dozenth time. Every time I read it, the spirit testifies to me that it is true. I KNOW that it is true! I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he, through the power of God, translated it. I know that it is the most correct book on the earth today.
Right before my senior year of high school, my seminary teacher gave us a summer reading challenge to read certain scriptures from the Old Testament. Around this time, an incredibly generous friend of mine gave me an iPod touch. I had decided to take this challenge of reading scripture from the Old Testament and started reading from the gospel library app on my new iPod. While doing this study one day, I decided to do a little math (I mean come on! It was summer time!) and figure out how many chapters a day it would take me to finish the Old Testament in forty days. I then made it a goal to finish it! Call me crazy, but I WANTED to read the Old Testament. Forty days later, I had completed the Old Testament. It is definitely one of my biggest accomplishments in my life.
Rewind back to my freshman year. This is my first year of seminary. I have just been issued this challenge by my older brother to read The Book of Mormon before he gets home. I was completely consumed by this challenge. It took all the will power I had to read from it, let alone the New Testament (what we were studying in seminary.). I completely missed the New Testament boat.
The years that followed in seminary, I was able to finish all other standard works (The Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price) front-to-back. Although it is somewhat sad for me to admit, it has taken me until I was twenty years old to read the New Testament front-to-back. I can say now though, that I have completed the standard works. Now, more than ever, I have a testimony that God speaks to his children through prophets. I know that he has given us scripture to help us in our daily lives. I can now say that I know that the New Testament is the word of God.
As I have taken the time in my life to study from the scriptures, the Lord has blessed me. Each time I read, the spirit confirms to me that what I am reading is true. As I have read the various books of scripture, I have felt close to God. One thing is for sure though, The Book of Mormon is the most true book on the earth. From its pages, we have the FULLNESS of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that it is a true testament of Jesus Christ. I love the scriptures!
At the end of The Book of Mormon, there is a challenge issued by the prophet Moroni. It says:
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
I know that if you will take this challenge, you too can receive the testimony that it is true! It is the most correct of any book here on the earth today! It is my testimony that it was written by prophets of ancient time for our benefit and learning. If you want help in your life, answers to questions, and to know your purpose--read the book! It will bless you more than you could ever imagine!