Deanna McCombs Warden
Throughout my life the Book of Mormon has held an important place. My feelings for this book began as I did gymnastics rolling around on the floor as my mother read out loud to her children from its pages. I have fond memories of interesting discussions and the feelings I had. I always felt the stories were true.

I grew up in a devout and practicing home full of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our everyday conversations and activities. My parents had to sacrifice much for their membership in the Church and their beliefs and I was proud to be a believer. My parents were both very poor growing up so true empathy and service to others was a constant in our lives. The teachings of King Benjamin, “when you are in the service of your fellow men you are only in the service of your God” was the way my parents taught us to live.

In my teen years we moved to a country where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had not been established. We had church services for years in our home. I was tasked with teaching the children’s class and enjoyed preparing my lessons and teaching any kids that showed up on Sunday. I loved studying The Book of Mormon and The Bible. Soon after arriving a powerful man was baptized. I saw this new member on fire with his testimony of The Book of Mormon. He would witness to every single person who came in to his store about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His ‘fire’ was responsible for bringing all the first converts into the Church. There were no missionaries so it fell to my mother to teach the gospel from our dining room table. The Gospel and the scriptures were the most important part of our daily lives.

There were times when the government threatened us to stop worshipping and times when it damaged my father’s income to continue to believe and act. But he was undaunted in his desire to serve God and be true to the witness that had been given him from heaven.

I decided to serve a full time mission continuing my family’s legacy and excitedly entered the Missionary Training Center. One day a teacher told us that if we had not received a strong spiritual witness of The Book of Mormon that we should that night pray and stay on our knees until we received that witness. I had not received a particular witness of the Book so I felt like I should do this. As I began to pray and pray and pray I received no witness and I wondered how long I would be there praying. After a while I felt like I received an answer and it was different than I expected. Into my mind came the thought, “you already know this is true why are you asking me?” I was happy to be able to witness of this Book for the years of my mission.

The real unique witness of this Book came when I was a young mother overwhelmed by life with a husband working long hours at a law firm. I became overwhelmed and began yelling at my children more often. I hated myself for being so frustrated and wanted to stop but I was barely handling my life and burdens. I started to put effort into reading the Book of Mormon every morning and by experience I learned that the days I thoughtfully read I could handle my burdens and I felt better. The days I didn’t read are when I would feel overwhelmed. I found this true over and over again. This is the power of this Book. I have proved it time and time again in my life. This Book can bring us joy and lift our burdens, it can inspire sacrifices, it can fill us with “fire,” and it can help fill us when the world cannot.

I pray in thanks for Nephi and his engraving two sets of plates when his wife needed him or his kids wanted him. I am thankful for Mormon who took so much effort when his family and civilization were being extinguished to abridge the many records into the Book of Mormon. I feel deep gratitude for Joseph Smith and the early men and women who had to sacrifice so much to translate, publish and witness of its contents. I feel honored to also witness here amongst great scholars and philosophers to shout it to the world the joy and peace this Book can bring. This Book has power, it has power in the teachings of Jesus Christ. The power is God’s power. I feel and have put to the test this power and I witness that this book brings me closer to God and closer to being like Him. The fruit it bears is very good.

If you haven’t read The Book of Mormon please try a few pages. Like The Bible some pages are more inspiring than others. I love 2 Nephi 4. I also love the last chapter, Moroni 10. God loves all of his children and tries in many ways to bring us joy and his love, “Men are that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2: 25). The Book of Mormon is one of His most powerful tools to bring us His peace and joy.

Posted February 2021

I had a roving childhood moving several times and living in several countries. The church was always the most important part of our lives. I served a mission in Barcelona, Spain. I graduated from BYU with a BA and married Mark Warden. We were idealistic and thought we would be perfect parents and raise perfect children but life and trials teach more wisdom. We have faults and are only human and the four children sent to us are also human with faults and frailties. The goal isn’t to be perfect or flawless it is to grow and become like Christ. To learn how to be masters of our being and to subject our souls to our Father’s will. My favorite saying is that our job is to get ourselves back to God and take as many as possible back with us. (This sounds like I am advocating works over Grace- on the contrary no one goes back without Grace.) Life is great! It isn’t a walk in the park but that would be too boring! As they say in Islam, “God is great!”. His plan is great! Presently I reside in Las Vegas, Nevada.