(February 22, 2014)
Brant Gardner gave a talk at the Fair Mormon conference about evidences of the Book of Mormon that used a series of blots on the paper that at first looked like nothing, but eventually you saw a dog in the picture. He made the point that the human mind makes patterns out of everything, but only the patterns that are genuine is the mind unable to not see after seeing. A cloud may look like a dinosaur, but we look away and then look back and can’t see the dinosaur. When we look at the dog, however, after seeing the pattern we are simply unable to not see the dog. It is truly there. Each little blob of ink can be explained away, but the pattern is clear and is true.
I had that moment in reading this chapter today. I have been learning about ancient American history and the culture and doing everything I can to consume such information. When I read this chapter, all of a sudden I could understand what was going on. I realized why Benjamin was saying what he was saying. Why he told the people that he was nothing more than an ordinary man. Why he brought them all together to present Mosiah as their king (and, in a tangential thought, why the whole culture splintered and went to hell when Alma was named the first chief judge). I could see in my mind’s eye Benjamin giving his speech and envision the people listening and it all just made sense to me. I had seen the dog.
Once that happened, the rest of this chapter moved me as I have never been moved by this scripture before. I had trouble reading because of the tears that I was crying as I read. I realized just how very fortunate that I was to have the Gospel in my life, and how overwhelmingly loving my Father is to me. And how very little I have deserved the Grace that He has given me. By the end of the chapter, and the concluding verse, I had in my mind’s eye an image of me embracing the Savior after my death and I felt overcome by the feelings of love and inadequacy. I hope to be able to share that embrace at some future day, but either way I cannot unsee the dog.