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Book of Mormon crosses boundaries cultures

She had never read the book before. But two days later sister missionaries visiting less-active members helped her set up a reading schedule and by November she was finished.
Photo by Sister Jaclyn JonesLori Hasegawa reads the Book of Mormon amidst the beauty of Hawaii. She read the sacred book for the first time heeding First Presidencys invitation.
Today Sister Hasegawa of the Mililani Mauka Ward Mililani Hawaii Stake is attending Church regularly along with her mother. And she has sent the missionaries to her daughter and son.
Such accounts are legion as the impact of the First Presidencys invitation is being felt and expressed in individual and family lives throughout the Church. With two weeks left until the end of the year (as of the publication date of this issue of the Church News) members throughout the world are sharing story after story in wards and stakes in social gatherings and private conversations about how reading the Book of Mormon has changed their lives — and their spiritual perspectives.
Without fail those who have accepted this challenge have testified they are realizing the blessings promised them with this challenge — Those who read the Book of Mormon will be blessed with an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord a greater resolve to obey His commandments and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.
That statement was included with the First Presidency Message in the August 2005 Liahona and Ensign magazines inviting all members to read the Book of Mormon by the end of 2005. Those reading the Book of Mormon at the pace suggested by the First Presidency will have completed Ether 4 (or be on page 483) as of Dec. 17.
Since its publication in 1830 the Book of Mormon has spread across the world and across boundaries of language religion and culture. Today it is available in 105 languages. The latest language edition was published in May — the Twi language spoken in Ghana by some 6 million people. By the end of 2005 some 5 million copies of the Book of Mormon will have been distributed throughout the world in this year alone.
Sometimes its influence shows up in unexpected places. Take for instance Kent and Joan Pulsipher of Sandy Utah who recently returned from serving as humanitarian services missionaries in Mongolia. As part of their mission they visited hundreds of community resources including the National Anti-Drug Services (NADS) with its headquarters near the mission home in Ulaanbaatar. While visiting with Azbayar (people in Mongolia go by one name) of NADS they noticed a quote from Mosiah of the Book of Mormon in one of their brochures. Puzzled they asked Azbayar about the quote.
He smiled broadly and from a bookcase behind his desk proudly pulled out a well-worn copy of the Book of Mormon in the Mongolian language. He said I love this book and refer to it in our work. His work was to help young people throughout the country avoid the pitfalls of alcohol and other addictions. He further stated Your missionaries gave me this book as a gift after it was translated in my language.
The Pulsiphers shared with Azbayar and his wife more Church materials including new copies of the Book of Mormon. Our friendship grew with Azbayar his wife and two sons and they accepted our invitation to have the missionaries teach them and they indicated our family plans to join the Church. (They were later baptized.)
From its impact in Mongolia to its impact on a 5-year-old in Syracuse Utah the Book of Mormon is changing lives and families. One night while reading the sacred book together young David Hellewell reminded his mother Cindy where they were in their reading schedule. Sister Hellewell had not realized that the night before her husband Kenneth had read with David. But he quickly told his mother This is the Nephi that had the prison story where the angels came down.
He has a lot better gospel understanding than I would have ever expected a 5-year-old to have said Sister Hellewell of the Huckleberry Ward Syracuse Utah Bluff Stake. Through the Book of Mormon reading challenge we have gospel discussions about some things I probably never would have talked with him about.
And talking about the Book of Mormon — and the principles therein — is what President Brent J. Belnap of the New York New York Stake has been seeing in the lives of members in formal and informal settings since last August. You cannot go to a fast Sunday or a single Sunday meeting without somebody talking about reading the Book of Mormon in their home . . . how its changed their lives.
In particular President Belnap spoke of a young couple who had struggled within their marriage and now in reading the Book of Mormon together for the first time as a married couple they have talked about spiritual matters in their lives and home. They had never done that before. Its made a difference.
This buildup is evident throughout the Church in all walks of life. President E. Eric Boswell of the Montgomery Alabama Stake expressed great love for his bishops and branch presidents who he said are already obedient men but he added as leaders are setting the example of reading the Book of Mormon. I see an increase in their humility and spirituality. . . . I see an increased desire to be obedient to counsel.
During the busy month of December the Montgomery stake joined surrounding stakes in a service excursion to Katrina-torn New Orleans La. Thats a busy month for bishops to coordinate such big projects but there were no complaints President Boswell added.
That depth of spirituality and obedience has reached missionary work said President Ronald K. Hawkins of the Hawaii Honolulu Mission. Reading the Book of Mormon has generated a new-found enthusiasm for the scriptures and a much deeper spiritual level. I think well have nearly all of our missionaries having read the Book of Mormon. We have no one who has not been trying. It has been a wonderful blessing for us as a mission.
But the blessings of reading the Book of Mormon — as always — are most felt in the lives of everyday members facing everyday struggles. For Merrilyn Lloyd of the Carter Hill Ward Montgomery Alabama Stake reading the Book of Mormon became more important to her than practically anything — including her favorite stress-reliever running. I was making up excuses not to run in the morning and Ive never done that in my life Sister Lloyd said adding that she preferred reading the Book of Mormon. In fact she has already finished with the challenge and has started reading it again. She keeps a notebook of her thoughts and impressions while reading.
Most important to her however is how reading that sacred book has given her more patience in her taking care of her daughter Karissa who has a severe developmental disability. Karissa needs constant round-the-clock care and thus Sister Lloyd and her husband Kurt Michael Lloyd first counselor in the Montgomery Alabama Stake presidency do not have much of a life outside the home.
Ive noticed that if Im in tune Im much better in giving care. If I have the Spirit with me Im much more patient. . . . We do have a big responsibility so I can find peace in the scriptures when I cant find it anywhere else.
Speaking of this peace from reading the Book of Mormon President Michael W. Gilmore of the Sheffield England Stake said he recently conducted a priesthood interview with a member. I asked about (the individuals) testimony of the Atonement of Christ. This person bore a beautiful testimony to me. I asked How did you get that testimony?
President Gilmore said the individual talked about how the Book of Mormon had strengthened this persons testimony of Christs Atonement.
Such accounts are legion.
E-mail to: julied@desnews.com

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