These two books, The Holy Bible and The Book of Mormon, have given me more hope to get through my challenges than any other books, bar none. When I'm reading from these books I feel in a powerful way that Jesus Christ understands me more than anybody else. I feel His compassion for me if I'm suffering. My gratitude for Jesus Christ's example and atonement for me grows so much when I read from the scriptures. When I'm reading I feel Christ and Heavenly Father love me in spite of my mistakes and shortcomings. It is the most amazing feeling in the world to feel loved so unconditionally. These feelings fill me with hope. Hope that I can make progress in this life, and hope that I can live with my Heavenly Father and my Brother, Jesus Christ, again.
One year Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008), the leader of the church I belong to, issued a now-famous challenge and a subsequent promise to everyone around the globe. He challenged us to read The Book of Mormon by the end of the year. He promised that those who met the challenge would receive blessings unmeasured.
I wondered how I could do this. I was so chronically ill that I just didn't read, listen to music or watch t.v. I thought to myself, "When there is a will there is a way, and I need all the blessings I can get." I tried reading the Book of Mormon, but the words just blurred together and I couldn't get my mind to focus. So, the next night I listened to it on my iPod while I held the book in bed and turned the pages.
It took weeks, but eventually I was able to pay attention to the stories and started underlining the many, many verses that gave me HOPE. I sometimes got the names mixed up so I wrote a few of their names in the front of my book calling them "good guys" and "bad guys". I also wrote in the front pages, "My Book of Hope". I started this in November and finished the book by the end of December. Miraculously I started seeing and feeling blessings because of my efforts. I started recovering at a much faster pace than ever and my spirit felt 100% whole.
I am glad that I remembered this experience today. I needed to be reminded that sometimes reading just a few verses each night isn't enough. During hard times I would say it is nonnegotiable to read the scriptures with great thirst, like the same thirst you feel after a hike in the hot desert. Grab a highlighter in hand and a pen to write in the margins.