I know you are all just dying to know what I did on Monday and Tuesday. You are? Okay, I'll tell you! And I'll tell you with vigor and vim, because I am pretty darn proud of this group of girls I get to love and serve with!
As some of you might know, this year the Young Women of the church have added a new value: Virtue. So now not only do we get to strive to live the values of Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works and Integrity, we get to add Virtue to our list of goals! Awesome. I think it was a very inspired choice. And this value is unique, because there is only one thing you have to do to pass it off: read The Book of Mormon. Awesome!
I really wanted my girls to pass this off. I really wanted them to gain their own testimonies of this most amazing book -- I think a testimony of The Book of Mormon changes lives. To know how involved God is in our lives, how much He loves us, that He cares about us as individuals? That has worth beyond measure! However; I knew the task seemed daunting to some of them and I didn't want it to be cast aside. So I set my little brain to thinking... And between my dear Mother-in-law and I, we came up with a totally wild but possibly amazing idea. What if we read The Book of Mormon all together. What if we read it all together, cover to cover, in just TWO DAYS?
Could it be done? Would the girls be willing to do it? I started breaking the book down into sections, and practicing reading out loud, to see how much I could read out loud in half of an hour. It ended up being about twelve pages. So I broke the book down into about twelve page sections, depending on where the chapters ended. Sometimes it was 9 pages, sometimes it was 13 pages. But it ended up that I estimated we could read the whole book in twenty four hours. Just a hopeful estimation, mind you.
We introduced the idea to the girls during Night of Excellence. I wanted it to sound as exciting and fun as it had the potential to be, and I thought of all the rage of Team Edward/Team Jacob and thought, why not? How about we call it Team Book of Mormon? My councilors helped me put together a nerdy but radical little skit, and then we pulled out our rapping skills. We told them about our plan to read the book in two days, and darn it all if they didn't sound EXCITED about the idea!!!
Honestly, I was thrilled with the reaction we got.
So we picked our dates: December 28th and 29th. We met in the primary room at 7 each morning, and took about one hour worth of breaks each day. We read up to Alma 20 the first day and finished at 8 o'clock. They were so exhausted! We all were. I was a little nervous about the next day. In fact, I had nightmares all that night and kept grinding my teeth, a sure sign of mental malcontent. But I prayed myself there Tuesday morning. I asked that we would have the strength to do it, that our burden would be made light, that our minds could focus, that we could accomplish this most important thing.
And guess what?
The Lord answered our prayers.
We finished the book of Moroni at about 8:40 that night, the Spirit was strong, the room was silent. We had read the whole Book of Mormon in two days. In fact, in 24 hours and 20 minutes. The girls were proud of themselves. We were so proud of them. And I have to hand it to the other leaders that were there -- they were amazing. I love them all and appreciate them so much. I am so hopeful this will be an experience that will stay with these girls -- that they will take the opportunity for themselves to ask with real intent if that book is true. I know the Spirit will testify to them.
It was an amazing experience. It was hard, really hard sometimes. But I know the Lord blessed us. He answered our prayers. He made it possible. He worked miracles in each of us.
I've had the opportunity to read The Book of Mormon several times. I have asked for myself each time and know that it is true. But I have never read it like this -- I have never understood just how strong and reoccurring the themes are, I have never had such strong and instant recall and remembrance of events that happened and are mentioned again. I felt the Spirit testify to me again that this book is true. I feel again that sure knowledge that the Lord is aware of us, He cares about us, He prepared a way for us. He prepared a way for me.