It is hard to think about my uncle Bill Bracy without thinking of books — thousands and thousands of books.
They fill the bookshelves in his home — from floor to ceiling. He read them and stored them and knew where to find each one. I am pretty sure my aunt encouraged him to give a book away every time he brought a new one home, just to keep the volume of books in the house manageable. Which it was not.
He highlighted the books he read in multiple colors. He purchased books for friends. One year he erected a massive Christmas tree from books.
For my Uncle Bill, there was no problem that a book couldn’t solve.
So, it wasn’t a surprise to me that his study of the gospel and gospel principles centered on books. He read various translations of the Old and New Testaments, paying attention to the Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek roots of words. He cared about the different writing styles of Enos and Jarom and Omni. He made lists of insights.
What I remember most, however, was his remedy for doubt. It was a book.
One night while studying the gospel with my family during family home evening, my uncle said he answered every question of faith with one question. “But what about the Book of Mormon?”
I remember thinking, “Of course he would turn to a book for that answer.” And then I realized what he was saying: His testimony of the Book of Mormon was so powerful that, for him, it removed all doubt.
My uncle died on Jan. 25, leaving his family and many friends pondering his life — and his faith.
He received a master’s degree in Germanic languages and literature and an MBA from Harvard University, before embarking on a career that culminated with service as the president, chief operating officer or CEO of several high-profile companies. Speaking multiple languages, he expanded brands, developed new products and implemented global strategies.
Still, after retirement, he spent more than a decade as a tutor at Deseret Industries, visiting a friend in a local care center almost daily for seven years and driving my children and their cousins to school.
It is what happens when the Book of Mormon is the keystone of a powerful testimony.
The keystone, or the wedge-shaped piece of masonry at the crown of an arch that locks the other pieces in place, allows the entire structure to bear weight. Once the keystone is set in place, all the other pieces become stronger.
After translating the Book of Mormon, the Prophet Joseph Smith explained: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (History of the Church, 4:461; Book of Mormon introduction).
My uncle’s question, “But what about the Book of Mormon?” confirms to me that the Book of Mormon was the keystone of his faith.
“My brothers and sisters, how precious is the Book of Mormon to you?” asked President Nelson. “If you were offered diamonds or rubies or the Book of Mormon, which would you choose? Honestly, which is of greater worth to you?”
President Nelson made a list “of what the Book of Mormon is, what it affirms, what it refutes, what it fulfills, what it clarifies and what it reveals.”
He also asked us to consider three questions while reading and studying the Book of Mormon: “First, what would your life be like without the Book of Mormon? Second, what would you not know? And third, what would you not have?”
The exercise changed my life.
The answers to those questions, and a tender fourth question — What about the Book of Mormon? — remove all doubt.
— Sarah Jane Weaver is editor of the Church News.