“I invite you to read the Book of Mormon between now and the end of the year.”
President Russell M. Nelson, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gave this challenge during the women’s session of its semiannual general conference.
As soon as he said this, I felt my heart drop a little. It’s already October 6, I thought to myself. There’s no way I’m going to finish it.
Immediately after I thought that, President Nelson said this:
“As impossible as that may seem with all you are trying to manage in your life, if you will accept this invitation with full purpose of heart, the Lord will help you find a way to achieve it,” (Sisters’ Participation in the Gathering of Israel, Oct. 2018 General Conference).
Well now, how could I say no? When I was 10, President Gordon B. Hinckley, then the president of the Church, issued the same challenge. I didn’t even attempt the challenge because I felt my age excused me. I went to church every Sunday and heard my friends talking about where they were in the Book of Mormon. In the end, I felt guilty for not attempting it and promised myself if a similar challenge ever came again, I would do it.
So, thank you, 10-year-old Kaisey.
I started immediately getting my habits in place to complete the challenge. I found a reading schedule to help keep me on track and a reading chart to color in. I began the social media fast at the same time, so now I use my morning social media time for scripture study. What I don’t finish before work, I finish before bed.
I’m amazed how much easier it is to read, study, and follow along in the scriptures when I read more at a time and more consistently. I understand the stories and teachings more. Before this challenge, a chapter per day was considered a good habit — and it still is — but I found I needed more than one chapter to keep me focused.
In his address, President Nelson encouraged us “to mark each verse that speak of or refers to the Savior.” I decided to use a yellow pencil. Even this simple act of marking scripture has been eye-opening. I knew there is a lot about Jesus Christ in the second half of the book when He comes to the Americas, but I didn’t realize how much is in the first half.
One month ago, I didn’t think I’d be halfway through — I knew I should be here, but I didn’t think it’d happen. Maybe I just didn’t realize how fast I could actually get through it when I read consistently. There have been days where, in the past I may not have read because of how busy things got. I went out of town for a weekend, but I brought my scriptures along and continued to make the effort to complete the challenge.
The 10-year-old girl in me is still there — so happy to follow our prophet’s challenge even though it’s a different prophet and 13 years later. I’m in Alma now, and I’m still learning and growing as I continue to complete this challenge. I’m excited to hear from others about where they are and what they have learned this far and as they continue to read the Book of Mormon.
After all, we’re all trying life.