So it turns out I haven't written in forever! I'll blame it on a combination of summer insanity and writer's block. We had a great summer. Between Young Men and Girl's camp I climbed the highest peak and the tiniest cave in Arizona, hung from a trapeze, earned massive blisters on my big toes, got completely covered in shaving cream, and of course made an awkward appearance in a skit. I sat with the youth around campfires, asking and answering questions, hearing and sharing testimony, discussing the gospel. It was awesome.
Between youth camps I played all over Utah with my family and spent a long weekend in Portland with my wife. Mountains, cabins, jet skis, mountain biking, fishing... fully spoiled. Utah definitely still has a piece of my heart. And Portland with my wife? Bliss. Eccentric neighborhoods, gourmet donuts, trees, waterfalls, the ocean, Astoria, Tillamook, fireworks on the river, and did I mention sans kids?
As summer has settled down, there's been a swelling of attention towards the Book of Mormon in my life. First, we just started studying the book in a new year of seminary. Second, one our advisors kicked off a priest quorum challenge to read it by the end of the year. Then our relief society started their own challenge to read it in 90 days. All together I'm studying in one part for seminary, another with the priests, and another with my kids each night.
The increased time in the Book of Mormon has me thinking of President Spencer W. Kimball's observation about scripture study:
"I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns."
What can I say but that this is true? It's comforting to know that even the Lord's prophet undulates in his "relationships with divinity". It's interesting; I feel strongly that I should study it everyday, but I don't always feel like studying everyday, if you get what I mean. Sometimes I just have to be disciplined. But I'll tell you this. Never, not once, have I finished studying and thought, "Wow. That was a waste of time. I wish I wouldn't have done that." It's like taking a shower. Sometimes you crave it, other times it's a chore. But you know that things get bad if you don't do it every day!
There's something especially profound about the Book of Mormon. When I'm reading it, I simply can't shake the feeling that it is true. I can't answer all the questions or resolve all the concerns people have, and I know that my evidence wouldn't hold up in the lab or in court. But I simply can't shake it. It just feels right and true. (I don't get worked up over physical evidence for or against the Book of Mormon. Maybe one of these days I'll explain why.)
I have a sneaky suspicion that a testimony of the Book of Mormon will become ever more important as we near the conclusion of God's work in the mortal sphere. I'm not sure any Latter-Day Saint can survive the Latter-Day turmoil without consistently studying the Book of Mormon. Why? Because it generates faith in Christ. With faith in Christ, you can conquer anything.