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Friday, September 19, 2008

Bandit and the Book of Mormon

Elder F. Burton Howard of the Seventy acquaints us with a strong testimony of the converting power of the Book of Mormon:

Sister Celia Cruz Ayala of the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission decided to give the Book of Mormon to a friend. She wrapped it in attractive paper and set out to deliver her present.

On the way, she was attacked by a bandit who stole her purse and with it the wrapped copy of the Book of Mormon. A few days later she received this letter:

Mrs. Cruz:

Forgive me, forgive me. You will never know how sorry I am for attacking you. But because of it, my life has changed and will continue to change. That book [the Book of Mormon] has helped me in my life. The dream of that man of God has shaken me …. I am returning your five pesos for I can’t spend them. I want you to know that you seemed to have a radiance about you. That light seemed to stop me [from harming you, so] I ran away instead.

I want you to know that you will see me again, but when you do, you won’t recognize me, for I will be your brother …. Here, where I live, I have to find the Lord and go to the church you belong to.

The message you wrote in that book brought tears to my eyes. Since Wednesday night I have not been able to stop reading it. I have prayed and asked God to forgive me, [and] I ask you to forgive me …. I thought your wrapped gift was something I could sell. [Instead,] it has made me want to make my life over. Forgive me, forgive me, I beg you.

Your absent friend.

(“What I Want My Son to Know Before He Leaves on His Mission:” Pres. James E. Faust; C.R., p. 58, April 1996. See also F. Burton Howard, “My Life Has Changed,” Church News, Jan, 1996, p. 16)

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