Over the weekend my family had the wonderful opportunity to meet Jeffrey Holland, who is an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Caroline said she will never wash her cheek again.
I don't often speak directly about my faith here on Tollipop, though at the same time it informs nearly everything I do and certainly manifests itself in the way I write. I generally avoid direct references for reasons I mentioned earlier; namely, out of respect for people around the world who are nourished spiritually by different beliefs...and yet I will say I harbor a deeply resonant feeling that at the root of these beliefs lies a synthesis, what Eugenia Ginzburg remarkably calls the "Supreme Good which, in spite of everything, rules the world."
At any rate, I'm going to speak directly today about something which has been a source of great peace and understanding in my life, something which has inspired many quiet moments of reflection about the intricacies of human nature and the greater purposes for which we find ourselves passing time on this planet.
Perhaps it will not surprise you to hear it is a book.
I am referring to the Book of Mormon, a record of two separate groups of people who migrated to the American continent from ancient Babylon and Israel during a time period spanning approximately 2000 B.C. to 400 A.D. The book contains both a secular and spiritual account of these civilizations and is considered by Mormons, along with the Bible, to be holy scripture.
It would be difficult, in the space of a single blog post, to describe why I love the Book of Mormon. I suppose, in large part, it has something to do with its authors, with the men who accounted for the history of their people as it was unfolding. There is something in the timbre of their (writing) voices which resonates as if I can almost hear it--earnest, thoughtful, eloquent, human, heartfelt, empathetic, honest, wise, faithful, humble, courageous--which inspires me to be the same. They wrote so plainly of the challenges they faced as individuals and as a people, so movingly of the teachings of Jesus Christ which were revealed to them by prophets.
I generally read the Book of Mormon in the early morning after I've sent my two older girls off to school. It's a quiet time in the house and as I read, my mind is filled with wonder and appreciation for these beautifully written, thought provoking words. I identify with the struggles these people faced, I see my own human nature in their writings. I recognize the tendencies which incline me toward and away from goodness, and something about reading this book strengthens my inclination toward the good.
This is only a small part of my feelings for the Book of Mormon. I share it with respect to the variety of beliefs out there, feeling it can only enhance one's desire to become a better person.
I suppose there was something in the experience of meeting Elder Holland this weekend which added to my understanding of what that entails.