It made me feel like hiking to the top of a Mountain so I could declare to the world my love for and testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Bible.
I have owned 4 sets of scriptures in my life.
All four sets have included The Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. The first was given to me at my baptism by my Grandma and Grandpa Johnson. They are hardly used but I can remember feeling pretty cool about having my name on my very own set of scriptures. I also love the inscription inside the front cover. This set reminds me of my baptism, my grandparents and primary.
When I started seminary in 9th grade my parents bought me a second set. It is filled with glued in Mormon ads, and my big bubbly teenager penmanship. As I turn its pages I can see myself growing up in the chosen highlights and handwritten notes. This set reminds me of the beginnings of my testimony, just the soil that I prepped and fed and readied for planting.
When I got married I wanted scriptures that said my new married name on them so Scott got me a new set shortly after we were married. These pages hold the makings of the deep roots of my testimony that sprouted and strengthen through the years of pregnancy, nursing, sleep deprivation, little money, new callings and all sorts of parenting questions and concerns. This was my first set that is truly worn out. The pages are soft from use and touch and the margins are filled with bits of my own thoughts and understanding. The whole book is torn from the binding, a few pages are loose and if you look closely there are a few places where a toddler got a hold of them and left their own little scribbles. The markings are more steady and less dramatic than the last set but still hold evidence of lessons learned.
This last Christmas Scott got me a brand new set of scriptures to replace my 15 year old ones that were falling apart so badly that I actually had to handle them like a new born baby. They smell of new leather and the pages are crisp with the gold edging still fully lustrous. There are almost no markings and the verses that I have highlighted are done with careful new lines. I am sure when the newness has worn off a bit I will go back to just quickly filling in the good parts. The empty pages give me a feeling of excitement and anticipation for all the lessons and insight I can get from them in the coming years. If I use these as long as the last set I will be almost 50 years old the next time I get new scriptures.
I left all the papers and notes in each one as I finished with them. The only thing I transferred to my new set is the scripture size copy of my patriarchal blessing. My Dad made this little copy and gave it to me 20 years ago and it has been in my scriptures ever since. The paper almost feels like silk because it is so smooth and worn. There is a piece of scotch tape running up the middle that I put there after an unfortunate run-in with a toddler. Surprisingly the printed text is still totally legible despite a lot of fading.
I don't know everything but I do know from my own experience the peace that comes from the scriptures. I love them. In defense of the Book of Mormon Elder Holland said this:
"For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died—from Ethan Smith to Solomon Spaulding to deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so."
That statement is hands down my very favorite about the Book of Mormon. I love the scriptures they are more valuable to me than all the gold in all the world, I am so grateful for them.