My Life Has Changed

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F. Burton Howard

Celica Cruz Ayala of Puerto Rico decided to give a copy of the Book of Mormon to a friend. She obtained a blue, soft cover edition of the Book of Mormon and wrote her testimony inside, mentioning Moroni's promise in Mormon 10:4. Sister Cruz wrapped the book in paper with a ribbon and set out to deliver her present.

As she was walking along the streets of Ponce, Puerto Rico, she was attacked by a bandit who stole her purse containing five pesos and the copy of the Book of Mormon. Sister Cruz was very shaken, but physically unharmed. A few days later she received the following letter in the mail:

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 and I thank God that I found you in those circumstances. 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. I am not from you city. But 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. I don't know if He will but I ask you to forgive me. Please 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.

F. Burton Howard, "My Life Has Changed," Church News, January 16, 1996, and President James E. Faust, General Conference, April 1996.