There­fore speak I to them in para­bles: because they see­ing see not; and hear­ing they hear not, nei­ther do they understand.”
- Matthew 13:13

When I mar­ried my sweet­heart at the age of 19, my jour­ney as a man begun. No more was I to think only of myself, for now I had anoth­er human being to care for and to love as much as or even more than I loved myself.

A short time into this jour­ney there came a knock at the door. Two LDS mis­sion­ar­ies intro­duced by my wife’s father had brought me a gift. It was a “mar­velous work and a won­der”. It was called the Book of Mor­mon. It came in a box.

The inter­est­ing thing about this box was its work­man­ship. It was sim­ple yet had an attrac­tive­ness about it that made me want to keep it along with the book. The box was some­what big­ger than the book, but I thought it might be good to keep the book safe­ly stored in it, and there was space for oth­er inter­est­ing things that might come a long, so I placed it on my study bookshelf.

The study where the book­shelf was, had a com­fort­able chair. When time per­mit­ted, I would sit in the chair and immerse myself in this Book of Mor­mon. It felt com­fort­able read­ing and pon­der­ing and answers to ques­tions came and life was good.

It wasn’t long before anoth­er won­der­ful event occurred, the most beau­ti­ful that we could have imag­ined, our first child, a girl. As we con­tin­ued our jour­ney, four more beau­ti­ful events occurred. Two boys and two more girls. Life was good. Dur­ing this time, expe­ri­ences in life were learnt, some won­der­ful and some dif­fi­cult. When time per­mit­ted I was able to sit in the study and read the Book and the chair became even more comfortable.

As the jour­ney con­tin­ued I noticed some items col­lect­ing in this box along with my Book. These items seemed to con­tra­dict what was being taught in the book. I don’t recall how they got there, only that from time to time one would appear. These items didn’t both­er me at all as I had plen­ty of room in the box and the Book of Mor­mon would fit in the box and cov­er them eas­i­ly and I didn’t real­ly pay them any attention.

As life went on, being a hus­band, a father, and serv­ing in the church, I came to rely on the time I could sit in my com­fort­able chair in the study read­ing the Book. How­ev­er more con­tra­dic­to­ry items appeared in the box. Some of these items appeared when I had helped oth­ers strug­gling in their lives and tes­ti­mo­ny. Some items I was able to remove and some I could not, but still, they did not both­er me great­ly, espe­cial­ly after read­ing the Book in my com­fort­able chair.

More recent­ly, some larg­er heav­ier items were dis­cov­ered as I helped some of my now adult chil­dren with their own strug­gles. Although there was still enough room in this box for my Book of Mor­mon, I had noticed that the shelf where the box was kept was start­ing to sag from the weight of the extra items. For some rea­son I could not emp­ty out those items that were adding the weight. Now I found that even the Book of Mor­mon was dif­fi­cult to put back in the box.

What could I do? Per­haps I could check with the own­ers of the Book. Yes, they did have an answer to my prob­lem. It came in the mail wrapped in a plain brown wrap­per. It didn’t have my name addressed on it. There was no name of the sender on the back. It did how­ev­er have the LDS church logo in the top left corner.

I opened the let­ter that came with it and it start­ed with “To whom it may con­cern”. There was a lot of infor­ma­tion in it that cov­ered a lot of the prob­lem items that were accu­mu­lat­ing in my box, but it was so heavy and cum­ber­some. The infor­ma­tion was some­what vague and con­fus­ing, but because it was from the church, and it was to help me with those items in my box, I put it in the box. Now there was an even big­ger prob­lem with the shelf. It was sig­nif­i­cant­ly bow­ing now due to the weight. I need­ed more help.

I went to my lead­ers in the church and shared my prob­lem with the box on the shelf. They didn’t have any imme­di­ate answers, but advised me to take the Book of Mor­mon out of the box and sit in my chair and read it as I had done before. As I did so I start­ed to feel com­fort­able again. The chair was shaped to my body from all the time I had spent in it in read­ing the Book of Mor­mon and once again, I start­ed to feel at ease. But the shelf with the box came into my view. The sag­ging shelf was so obvi­ous. I couldn’t keep my mind on the Book. The prob­lem had to be fixed.

I tried to take the items out of the box so the shelf wouldn’t sag. I took out all the items except for the infor­ma­tion that the church had sent, but for some rea­son the church’s item was the heav­i­est item of them all. Hadn’t it been put in the box to help me?

Some friends noticed my shelf when they came to vis­it. They felt sor­ry for me because they could see that the sag­ging shelf was out of place in my home. They offered to help. Some pro­vid­ed me with shelf brack­ets that I could place under the box. It straight­ened the shelf but the brack­et itself became an eye­sore and the heavy church item still con­tin­ued to cause pres­sure on the shelf.

Church lead­ers and close friends con­tin­ued to encour­age me to go back to sit­ting in my chair and read the Book of Mor­mon. Some sug­gest­ed that I turn the chair around so that the shelf wasn’t in my line of sight. This worked well whilst I sat in my chair read­ing the Book of Mor­mon. How­ev­er, every time I got out of my chair, the unsight­ly shelf came to view. The only thought that came to my trou­bled mind was; I must emp­ty that box.

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October 19, 2018 6:32 am

I can’t believe i wast­ed my life read­ing that …

Roger Agness
Roger Agness
April 8, 2018 3:24 pm

I would­n’t call it “anti-Mor­mon” so much as “his­tor­i­cal evi­dence” or “dif­fer­ing view­points.” Don’t want to wave a red flag in front of a bull.

Roger Agness
Roger Agness
Reply to  John Krok
April 8, 2018 7:38 pm

Ah, I was not aware that the term “anti-mor­mon” was a com­mon­ly under­stood phrase. The cul­tur­al dif­fer­ences are vast.

Dave Mack
June 29, 2016 10:50 pm

I have found the Book of Mor­mon to be the foun­da­tion and the key­stone of my faith. The mantra that the Book of Mor­mon is the key­stone of the reli­gion and that a per­son can grow clos­er to God by study­ing from its pages, I find to be absolute­ly true.
I rely on the Book of Mor­mon to hold the shelf up not to weigh it down.

Dave Mack
Reply to  John Krok
June 30, 2016 5:55 pm

My assump­tion of what was caus­ing pres­sure on the shelf was anti mor­mon lit­er­a­ture, messy church his­to­ry, polygamy, etc.