Thousands of Women Report Their Experiences with Prophet’s 4 Challenges

Contributed By Camille West, Church News

  • 26 January 2019

During the October 2018 women’s session of general conference, President Russell M. Nelson issued four challenges, one of which was to read the Book of Mormon by the end of 2018.

Article Highlights

  • More than 10,000 women have reported on their experiences with President Nelson’s four challenges.

“I wish to thank you all for responding to my invitations. Your experiences with these challenges have been varied but meaningful.” —President Russell M. Nelson

More than 10,000 women have responded to President Russell M. Nelson’s call to report on their experiences with the four challenges to the women of the Church he issued during the October 2018 general women’s session as part of his invitation to help gather Israel.

In an blog article and follow-upposts on his social channels this week, President Nelson thanked women for accepting his invitations and leaving so many comments.

“I wish to thank you all for responding to my invitations. Your experiences with these challenges have been varied but meaningful,” he said.

“Sisters, I love you and thank you. As a result of your efforts, I promise that the heavens will open for you. The Lord will bless you with increased inspiration and revelation. Together we can do all that our Heavenly Father needs us to do to prepare the world for the Second Coming of His Beloved Son.”

In Facebook and Instagram posts published at the end of December, President Nelson asked women of the Church to “report what you have learned as you have focused on these four invitations.”

“1. Participate in a 10-day fast from social media and any other media that bring negative and impure thoughts to your mind.

“2. Read the Book of Mormon by the end of 2018.

“3. Establish a pattern of regular temple attendance.

“4. Participate fully in Relief Society.”

“I am eager to hear about what you have learned as you have focused on these four invitations,” he said, expressing his hope “that each of these invitations has brought you closer to the Savior.”

President Russell M. Nelson’s Instagram post at the end of December requesting comments about women’s experiences with his four challenges generated more than 5,700 comments.

More than 4,500 women on Facebook and 5,700 on Instagram responded, representing many ages and backgrounds and all sharing unique experiences and feelings.

Many women expressed appreciation for President Nelson’s posted reassurance that “the Lord is happy with any effort we make to draw closer to Him.” “If you have struggled with any of them,” he said in his post, “please don’t be hard on yourself. You can start today.”

“Thank you for being merciful and encouraging in your comments!” Rachel Williams Keppner responded, explaining that her husband’s prolonged hospitalization kept her from reading the Book of Mormon as much as she had planned. “Your kind words have reminded me that the Lord understands and is very familiar with my life circumstances.”

Several women commented on President Nelson’s challenge to participate in a 10-fast from social media, which was similar to one he issued to the youth on June 3, 2018:

“The social media fast helped me gain grater self control, clarity of mind, find my creativity again and connect with my children more,” Tali Hall commented.

Responses regarding the challenge to read the Book of Mormon by the end of 2018 came from women of all ages. Karen Christenson Lisonbee posted for her 88-year-old mother-in-law, who has Parkinson’s disease. “I’m proud to say that she took your challenge and will be finishing the Book of Mormon today,” she said.

Several mothers posted about their experiences reading the Book of Mormon with their daughters.

Amy Menlove Parker said she read the Book of Mormon with her 11- and 9-year-old daughters. “We read along and marked as we listened on the library app. We paused regularly to talk about words or events that confused them. Sometimes we’d get behind and have to spend an hour catching up. Sometimes I didn’t want to do it and they pushed me and sometimes i pushed them. It was a team effort. It was cherished mother/daughter time.”

Participating in the challenges helped many women cope with personal trials such as strained relationships, poor health, infertility, and cancer diagnoses.

“Pres. Nelson, thank you for the challenge of reading the Book of Mormon,” Connie Harrison shared in her reply. “I started the next morning. Little did I know that later that week I would be diagnosed with cancer. I have loved my time with those wonderful prophets and their teachings. Every morning I have found something to help me through one more day of my battle with this disease.”

Women also expressed increased appreciation for opportunities to attend the temple and participate in Relief Society.

Makenzie Richey said, “As I have attended the temple regularly, my week days seem to be filled with more hours to get everything done I need to. I’ve been able to feel greater peace in my life and my priorities align more with my Savior’s! I have truly felt His love.”

“Thank you President Nelson for your challenges,” posted Khand Tenney. “Attending the temple more regularly has blessed my life. I’ve been able to strengthen my faith and testimony of personal revelation and how much the Lord loves me to provide for us His holy temples. I’m very grateful to the Lord for a living prophet.”

Mirja Soukko Tapola said, “I learned—or maybe re-learned—that Relief Society isn’t meetings or even being included in a group, that it is a state of mind, a feeling of love, acts of service and being a daughter of God. That participating fully isn’t about the time spent with other sisters but about who you are.”