Normally, I read one bedtime book and the boys trade off who gets to pick the book or it is a reward for who gets jammies on and teeth brushed first after getting out of the bathtub. Tonight, we were a little ahead of schedule, and I was feeling particularly loving-motherish, so I let the boys each pick a book. After we read the caterpillar-turned-into-a-butterfly story that Sam picked, we read several stories in the My First Book of Mormon Stories book that Jackson picked. Usually when we read that book, I open it up and read the first few stories and we stop. Tonight, I decided to skip to the last few stories since we don't read those stories as often.
We read about Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah and their spree of wickedness and call to repentance. We read about Ammon the Missonary and his protection of the sheep of the Lamanite king. We read about the People of Ammon burying their weapons and the promise of peace that they made. We read about the Army of Helaman, whose mothers taught them to trust that Jesus would protect them if they did what was right. We read about how the Lord protected Samuel the Lamanite from angry people trying to shoot him with arrows as he stood on the city wall and prophesied of the birth of Christ. We read about the birth, life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ. We discussed the concept of resurrection. And then we read about Mormon.
For those who don't know, The Book of Mormon was named after this prophet. Two hundred years after the resurrected Christ visited Jerusalem and then visited his "other sheep" in the Promised Land, the people of the Promised Land lived in peace. Then they started to forget his teachings, and began to fight and war with each other. Mormon became the leader of the people, and tried to teach them to be good, but they would not be called to repentance. All the prophets since Nephi and his family left Jerusalem had kept records of their people and these records had been passed down through the leaders and prophets of the Lord for about 600 years before the birth of Christ and a little over 400 years after his death until they were in the hands of Mormon. Mormon read all the records and recorded an abridged version on the Golden Plates. Then he gave the plates to his son, Moroni, who buried them in the hill Cumorah to preserve them while the warring Lamanite and Nephite peoples destroyed themselves all around him. The angel "Captain" Moroni, whose statue you will see displayed proudly on our temples, appeared to a young boy named Joseph Smith 1400 years later and told him where to find the golden plates. Joseph Smith then translated the records (with divine assistance) into what we know as the Book of Mormon, another record of Jesus Christ.
Annnnyway, as I read to my boys about Mormon, it struck me. In my family, I'm him. I'm the last Mormon left in the family I grew up in, and it is my duty to pass on to my children what I know to be true and hope that they will find a way to pass it on as well. Suddenly I got a little scared. I felt a tremendous burden on my head to raise my children strong in the Gospel, so strong that they can stand against what Satan and the world will throw at them and be unmoved and steadfast in their beliefs, so strong that they will be like the armies of Helaman: righteous young warriors. I started imagining how afraid and yet how brave Mormon had to be, and I heard a whispering that to strengthen myself, I needed to go read more from his books in the BOM.
So that is what I will do. Although my mentor in all things spiritual and motherly has now left this earth to go live with her beloved Heavenly Father, I know she is still with me, and I know He is, too. It IS a great responsibility. It is for all of us moms of this generation because the world is so evil and the system of unity that the Lord set up to help us on our journey, the family, is broken down more and more everyday. But if I need help, I am not alone. I am never alone. I have the ability to ask for help and receive it when I need it, and I have the scriptures to search for answers. I also have support systems in the strong family I married into, and my church family. No, I am far from alone.
Questions about anything I wrote? You can go to lds.org for your own answers. :)