Thursday, January 23, 2014

Guess what! I finished the Book of Mormon in 30 days... a sweet finale

Here is an email I wrote to a friend who was encouraging me in my 30-day Book of Mormon challenge. 


Dear Melanie, 

Guess what!  I finished the Book of Mormon tonight!! (Which was a miracle to me.) I was reading as we rang in the new year.  The relatives left our party before midnight so I dug in.  It took me until 2 AM, but it was so sweet!  Mike and my twins wanted to stay up and support me. I kept stopping to discuss or to testify. I cried because I love this book more than ever, and know that is true more than ever. We read the final verse aloud together.  Y.U.M. I just wanted to share my fun news with you!  Hurray for God's power to do impossible things!

I forgot to mention that Mike encouraged me to read it aloud since he knows I get more out of it that way, and so they could be part of the final stretch with me, and of course benefit from hearing it too. How sweet is that. 

Mike and my twinners stayed up late on New Year's Eve to encourage me to
finish the Book of Mormon. A sweet moment. 

I'm so grateful for this spur-of-the-moment Book of Mormon immersion experience. 

On December's fast Sunday I was fasting about how to protect my family from ever falling away from the Church, which had recently happened to someone close to me and was devastating. That's when my 17-year-old son Adam told me about his seminary teacher, Brother Chang’s challenge to read the whole Book of Mormon in 30 days. I kept thinking, "That's nuts. I'm a busy mother, and it's Christmas time." But as I prayed and wrote and talked about it, by the end of the day, it felt right. It wasn’t easy. But by the end, I realized that was the very best thing God could have told me to do after learning about my loved one.  It deeply reaffirmed and refueled my own faith, testimony, and conversion. I know now more than I've ever known before that this book is true.  

I love this book more than I ever have before. 

I love the people in the book more than ever before.  I love Nephi and Abinadi, Captain Moroni, Mormon and his son Moroni. I love Samuel the Lamanite and Alma and his son Alma. I'm even grateful for Laman and Lemuel, because they taught me what not to be - a complainer or a resister, reacting to everything without the Spirit. I love Zeezrom and King Lamoni and the Anti-Nephi-Lehis who show us that there is hope for anyone to change, no matter how hardened their hearts may seem at the moment. I love these wonderful heroes, and their wives and families. I love the bazillion stories of God being a God of the impossible, making impossible things possible. Wow, that strengthens me every time. 

All I have to do is start talking about Nephi and the brass plates and my faith and courage tank fills right up, even if it seemed already full. 

I'd like to do some more posts about themes I noticed. I sat at my computer for hours and typed out about 70 themes I found this time around. It made me grateful I had taken the time to jot those sloppy notes in my journal as I found things worth noting. (Well, what's not worth noting...) 

I loved seeing the story line better than before, seeing the repetition of the pride cycle, the government corruption, the Atonement working in people's lives, and especially seeing Christ through the whole book. 

Some sweet friends who took the challenge with me and we met for lunch
to discuss what we gained from our readings. Sweet and tearful discussions. 

One friend had to leave to nurse a baby.   

What a feast. 

It's so nourishing to feast on the scriptures rather than just nibble.  To scuba dive rather than just snorkel.  To apply to myself rather than just read. 

I'd also like to do some posts about the tools and methods that have helped me gain more from the scriptures and feast rather than nibble over the years. I learned many of these tools when I taught an institute class about scripture study. My favorite book on this is this

If you ever feel inspired to take on a 30-day Book of Mormon challenge, I'd love to hear about it and be your cheerleader. You'll love it. 

Feast away. 

My new goal...

Just as I had never read the Book of Mormon in 30 days before, I also hadn't finished the entire Old Testament before. I used to skip parts. I committed to do the whole thing this year. My pattern is five pages a day, because it gives me a couple days a week to read other stuff like Personal Progress scriptures or preparing a lesson. 

I'm getting more from the Old Testament than I ever have before!  Stories and events that used to baffle me are making more sense and I'm seeing more meaning and life lessons. 

Why is that?  Because here is my new best buddy in the mornings along with my Old Testament and colored pencils. (And my Zebra pen...the best pen for marking scriptures, I must say. Okay, I'm a bit of a pen snob.)  I highly recommend David Ridges' series. I bet you'll love the Old Testament more too. 

My other favorite book that really brings the Old Testament to life is by our friend James Ferrell. Very cool. He helps you see symbols and types of Christ in many Old Testament people and stories. Using several resources, I just typed up 28 parallels between Christ and Joseph of Egypt on an insert to glue into the page of Genesis 40. The fact that Christ and Joseph were both sold for the price of a common slave of their time is just the beginning.

Happy feasting, whatever page you are on. 


Tyler and Jessica said...

I'm proud of you, what a wonderful achievement! I'm about to finish the BOM in record time of my own, but it has taken me 4 1/2 months. I agree with the increase of clarity, understanding and love that is to be gained by reading through it in a shortened timeline, but how challenging it must have been to read the whole thing in 1 month! I think my husband & I are going to read the Old Testament together this year and we are both really looking forward to doing it together. I appreciate the resources you have provided to help us get more out of our study. Thank you for all the inspiration!

Becky Edwards said...

Thank you Tyler and Jessica! Glad you enjoyed the post. Even more glad you are feeling the power of the truest book on the planet in your lives. What a gift God had given us, right?