Friday, January 10, 2014

The Book of Mormon Saved My Marriage

I realized the truth of this a while ago as I was preparing for my Sunday School lesson. As I pondered the scriptures and the influence they have in my life, I knew I had to share this with my class. About a year and a half ago, I reached a crossroads. My husband and I had separated, and the evening he left, I felt an outpouring of love. I received comfort from a source outside of myself, one that I could not see. I also had the impression that getting a divorce was my call, that it would be okay if that was what I needed. Over the next few days, I turned to where I always turn when things are really bad, the one place I know provides solace and direction, often instantly: the scriptures. I don't remember if I just opened the Book of Mormon to where I had already been reading, or if I simply said a prayer and parted the pages with a hope in my heart that I would open on the spot I needed right in that moment. (This actually works sometimes by the way. Not always, but sometimes.)

Either way, I opened to Alma chapter 14. Do you know what happens in Alma chapter 14? Men that believe in Christ are separated from their wives. Then, to punish them, the wicked in the land take their wives and children and burn them to death. I've read this story at least a dozen times. On occasion it has touched me. More often it has probably angered me. But this time, it spoke to my heart like no other scripture had before. I knew their pain. I felt the heat of those flames raging around me. I knew my children felt them too. I knew my husband stood at a distance, suffering in his own way at the separation, being apart from us, unable to do anything about it.

I kept reading. There are a few mentioned characters in this story. Alma and Amulek are the preachers. They have to stand by and witness this awful scene. Then there is Zeezrom. If you go back a few chapters, you find that he was a vocal opponent to Alma and Amulek, a lawyer so full of himself that he stands boldly against two men called of God, accusing them and persecuting them. His actions contributed to this horrible event.

As I read, I tried to remember what happened to Zeezrom. And I couldn't. I wondered if this was the man who was trodden to death after denying the Christ. That's when I asked God to show me the way. I looked to this man as a symbol of what I should do in my life in that moment, in my current struggle. Alma chapter 15 tells of what happens to Zeezrom. Having left the land of Ammonihah, Alma and Amulek find Zeezrom in the land of Sidom. He is not trodden down and killed. He is sick with a burning fever, caused in part by the guilt from his actions and the ramifications that came as a result. He asks Alma to heal him. He changes.

I read that story and knew God was speaking to me of the hope that still existed for my marriage.

Why am I writing about this? Because it's true. The Book of Mormon saved my marriage. I can honestly and openly testify to the power of this book of scripture. It does what it says it can do. And I'm grateful.