Another Testament of Jesus Christ: ‘The Lord Is Speaking to Me’
How One North Texas Researcher Studies The Book of Mormon
Frisco, TX — As one who has read the Book of Mormon cover to cover nearly two dozen times in half as many years, Heidi Hastings wants you to know something that she has learned for herself: the Book of Mormon will change your life.
Hastings started studying the Book of Mormon in a new way based on a statement she heard from Elder Henry B. Eyring, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when she was a volunteer scripture studies teacher of young adult students in Arizona. The statement was this: “I began to read… and I thought, ‘The Lord is speaking to me. What is it He wants to tell me directly?’”
A lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ, Hastings had already read the Book of Mormon several times. But after hearing this, she felt inspired to read the book with a particular topic in mind — the Atonement of Jesus Christ — which she invited her class to study along with her. And that is where the change began. Before they had completed the year of study, sharing weekly what they had learned about the Savior’s Atonement, Hastings had her next topic in mind, and she began to read again.
She has refined her topical study method over the past decade, but at its core it remains the same. She starts with a fresh, unmarked copy of the book of scripture and reads each chapter and verse from the first page, keeping her topic in mind and writing down what she learns. Hastings has studied sanctification, temple worship and covenants, humility, and angels, to name just a few; most of her copies of the Book of Mormon contain notes in the back of what she wants to study next.
“In the beginning I would just say, here’s my topic I want to study,” she explains, “[but] as time has gone by, I’ve started asking research questions. I’ve found that the more I ask questions about the topic that I want to study, the more answers I get.” Hastings, a mother of four adult children, is well familiar with research questions, having recently completed a PhD in Human Development, Family Studies, and Counseling at Texas Woman’s University in Denton.
Hastings recalls more of Elder Eyring’s words she heard over 10 years ago: “You will be drawn to [the Book of Mormon] as you understand that the Lord has embedded in it His message to you…. That is what the book is about. It is a testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Atonement and how it may work in [your life].”
Hastings says that she indeed put it to the test, and it has changed her. “It truly opened up a door for me in a new way that was completely applying the words of the Book of Mormon to my own life…. I can find answers to every single question I ever ask.”
Note: In October 2018 the Church of Jesus Christ introduced a new curriculum called “Come, Follow Me,” which President Russell M. Nelson said was “to strengthen families and individuals through a home- centered and Church-supported plan to learn doctrine, strengthen faith, and foster greater personal worship.” Members of the Church of Jesus Christ alternate between yearlong courses of study in the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants. Both the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants are accepted in the Church of Jesus Christ as part of the holy canon as additional witnesses of the life and ministry of the Savior, and members are studying the Book of Mormon throughout 2024.