I cannot believe we have made it this far...it's gone so fast! But that was the point, right? To read the whole Book of Mormon really quickly--we've almost reached our goal!
I've chatted with some of you about how the challenge has gone...and I've noticed that it doesn't seem to matter if you've kept up with the reading schedule, or fallen a bit behind, everyone who has worked toward this goal has felt the benefit of the challenge. Some have gained a better understanding of the story lines and recognition of the people. Others have found a greater understanding of the doctrine. And some have felt an increased ability to feel the Holy Ghost each day. We have all gained something that we needed.
Getting closer to the end has made me reflect a bit on what has lead to this point--all that the prophets were inspired to include for us have significance and support the purpose of the book--to testify of Jesus Christ. So many prophesies have been given and then fulfilled. And today we read about one that was fulfilled in this dispensation: the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon who saw the gold plates. Awesome!
Tomorrow is moving day for me, and so today was full of packing and preparing, which left little time for sitting down to do much of anything else. So I listened to the chapters from Ether with my headphones while I packed. As I thought about the Jaredites and their story, and compared it to Nephi, and remembered bits and pieces of other stories throughout the entire Book of Mormon, the words came to me--"Remember, remember..." and "How quick ye are to forget."
Throughout the reading this past month, I have found a handful of chapters that really hit upon topics which are dear to my heart. And I don't want to forget them! I want to always be able to remember what they are and why they are important, so that I can turn to them anytime I need to. But even just after a few days, without continual review, I find I am already forgetting. It is easy for me to read and wonder how on earth those silly Nephites could forget the wonderful things that they knew. How could anyone go from such a righteous and happy people, to so much the opposite? Have you ever wondered that? Well, I think I know why--they simply let themselves stop thinking about it. That is why we are commanded to read our scriptures every day, and go to church every week, and to DO all the things we are commanded to DO. So that we won't forget. So that we can remember.
Here is a pretty cool quote summarizing why Ether is so important for us:
"The book of Ether, then, consists of instructions on and examples of faith, details on the nature and danger of secret combinations, and an account of how a nation can be destroyed by turning away from the teachings of Jesus Christ. All of this is directed at the Gentiles who will receive the Book of Mormon. The book of Ether is thus a pattern of what will happen if our generation does not repent. At the same time, it describes how we can escape destruction and details the great blessings that come to those who turn to the Savior.
In a larger context, the book of Ether serves as a second witness with the Nephite record of God’s promises and warnings to our day. Both records declare, “Inasmuch as ye shall keep [the Lord’s] commandments ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep [the Lord’s] commandments ye shall be cut off from [his] presence.” (2 Ne. 4:4; see also Ether 2:7–10; Ether 13:20–21.) Both illustrate for Latter-day Saints the need for faith, hope, and charity.
The terrifying fact is that the parable of destruction, acted out by two ancient peoples, the Jaredites and the Nephites, could be repeated in the last days. The warning is clear: learn from the past. As Moroni wrote, “Give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.” (Morm. 9:31.)" (Richard Dilworth Rust, "I Know Your Doing: The Book of Mormon Speaks to Our Times")