One of my favorite stories about the converting power of the Book of Mormon is printed in a talk by President James E. Faust entitled “The Message: Ten Things to Know Before You Go” (New Era, July 2005):
Elder F. Burton Howard of the Seventy acquaints us with a strong testimony of the converting power of the Book of Mormon: Sister Celia Cruz Ayala of the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission decided to give the Book of Mormon to a friend. She wrapped it in attractive paper and set out to deliver her present.
On the way she was attacked by a bandit who stole her purse and with it the wrapped copy of the Book of Mormon. A few days later she received this letter:
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. … 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 . . . . 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, [and] I ask you to 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 (Church News, Jan 6, 1996, 16).
Such is the conversion power of the Book of Mormon.