Last week, I had the privileged of interviewing Warren Aston, who has been actively researching in Yemen and Oman on the Old World setting of 1 Nephi for longer than I have been alive. His work has led to a presentation at Cambridge University, and publications in the Journal of Arabian Studies and Wildlife Middle East News, in addition to all the LDS venues he has published in (such as BYU Studies Quarterly and Journal of Book of Mormon of Studies).
He has made some of the most significant breakthroughs in all of Book of Mormon research. I got to sit down with for several hours, and got about 2 hours of audio after editing. It was an incredible privilege, which I am truly grateful for. The audio, video, and transcript of the interview will eventually be available online, but for now I just wanted to share a short comment he made while reflecting on his experience.
You see one of the great things about the Book of Mormon is that there are opportunities for almost anyone regardless of their training and background. If your mind is alive … to it, then things [like my experiences] will happen.
This rings true to my own experience. I obviously have not been at it as long as Aston, nor have I made as significant a contribution. But since at least 2009, the Book of Mormon has been a major focus in my life—reading it, reading about it, puzzling over it, and getting to know it better. My experience has taught me to never count the Book of Mormon out. Just when you think you know all there is to know about it, it will surprise and amaze you.
Not only has my study of the Book of Mormon been rewarding, however, but just as with Aston I have had amazing opportunities to contribute open up to me as a direct result of my persistent effort to understand the book.
Now, I don’t believe you have to become an avid Book of Mormon scholar, spending a lifetime traveling to Arabia, or six years in the library, to be able to benefit from this. You just need to read the book with an active mind and chase down some of the questions that come to mind. Don’t panic when answers are not immediately forthcoming. Just keep reading it; good things will happen, answers will come, and you will find your life changed. Changed, I might add, for the better.