You just never know when the Holy Ghost will touch your heart..
Last night I finished a book and, like any other time I finish one book, I became excited/nervous about picking a new one. This may be something only book nerds (such as myself...) understand, but SO. MUCH. relies on what book you pick next. You're basically deciding: will the next few days/weeks of reading totally SUCK? or will it blow your mind with awesomeness?! Sometimes the mere thought of it is too much to handle.
As I was working all day, I thought to myself, "Okay, Lauren. When you get home tonight, you will pick your next book. Make sure it will be enjoyable. Make sure it will be something WORTH reading. You know what, use that new GoodReads app to help you decide." You see, I had just spent the last evening/night/mid-morning scanning in ALL of my books in my "personal library" into this AMAZING/REVOLUTIONARY app (GoodReads) and sorting them by "read" or "to read." I came to find out that I have ~300 UNREAD books in my library! Bring it on!
But, in typical "Lauren" fashion, I kept putting it off and putting it off until... well, just now. I finally got off my butt and trudged downstairs to the "library" (okay, in reality, it WAS a man cave and is now just a laundry room with my bookshelves and a futon in it...) and set out to pick my next book. The first book I picked up was one I had just purchased at a Goodwill today - Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews. Sounded a little cliche, but readable, so I put that on the "maybe" pile. Then I reached for a book I've had since last summer - Chicken Soup for the Latter-Day Saint Soul. I think I bought this after I first discovered Amazon's option for buying used books.
To be honest, I hadn't planned on reading a church-related book. I usually reserve those books (and the Book of Mormon!) for times of need... or, in terms of the BOM, two chapters every night before bed. I certainly don't want it to seem like I'm discrediting any church-related books, especially the BOM, but I've just never really had the motivation to read one as a "personal book" yet. I apologize if this isn't making sense, so I'll try another way of explaining: I usually split my reading into 2 categories: personal and church. "Church" includes reading 2 chapters from the BOM every night (usually I re-read the chapter I read the night before and add on the next chapter), while personal is any other book that I read. There, that sounds a little better...
Either way, I thought I'd at least look through Chicken Soup for the LDS Soul and see if it was something I'd like to read for the next few days. Immediately, I felt a sense of calm and familiarity - just from the Introduction! It began by inviting every reader to feel welcome and then referenced the types of stories that one could expect to be reading in the upcoming pages. It referenced different types of church meetings and family activities that this book and the stories in it could be used as lessons and testimony builders. I was becoming surprised at how these words on a page were making me feel so happy and comfortable! It was all so familiar! But it was the first sentence of the third paragraph that really pulled me in:
While I appreciate the non-coincidence of the publishing of this book, it was really "Joseph Smith" and "the Church" that stood out to me from that sentence. For whatever reason, it was that moment that I felt the Holy Ghost reach out and tap me on the shoulder. Not literally, of course, but figuratively. I have read Joseph Smith's name hundreds of times and seen the church referenced like that just a handful of times more, but at no other instance have they jumped off the page at me like they did tonight. I felt so happy, so calm, and so sure that the Church and the Gospel are true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet.
I usually don't like to say that I am "proud" of my church or "proud" to be a member of the Church for fear of seeming prideful, but dang it, I am proud! I don't allow it be something that is obnoxious or that gets in the way of my day-to-day life with others, but I am always pleased to let others, members and non-members alike, know that this is who I am: I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and I have never been happier!