“Of Good Report,” Ensign, June 1993, 79–80
Getting the “Big Picture” of the Book of Mormon
Our idea for a family-and-friends Book of Mormon marathon, in which participants would read the book from cover to cover in one sitting, began with our daughter Rebecca while she was preparing to serve a mission.
In the fall of 1990, Rebecca read Parley P. Pratt’s conversion story. Brother Pratt related that when he first picked up the Book of Mormon, he could not put it down until he had finished it. So when Rebecca (who has since served in the Texas Fort Worth Mission) decided to read the Book of Mormon in the same manner, she invited family members and friends to share in the activity.
The day after Thanksgiving, the marathon started at 7:00 A.M. Using cassette tapes of the Book of Mormon played at faster-than-normal speed, the participants paced their reading and finished at 11:00 P.M.
While recognizing that a reading marathon cannot replace pondering and studying the scriptures, those who participated enjoyed the Spirit the activity brought into their lives. They told others about the Book of Mormon marathon. Before the end of the year, two other families in the stake held scripture-reading marathons.
Claudia Frappier and her son Mike, who were not members of the Church, took part in one of those marathons at the home of Eileen Lawler of the Agoura Second Ward, Newbury Park California Stake. Afterward, Claudia and Mike took the missionary discussions and joined the Church.
Sister Lawler later received a mission call to the Tennessee Nashville Mission and shared her experience with members there; they planned their own Book of Mormon marathon.
Many who took part in the first Book of Mormon marathon also participated a second time. Nine-year-old Thomas Liddell from the Agoura Second Ward said he had fun in the activity and “learned what the Book of Mormon is about. I learned something about the prophets. My favorite is Nephi because he was so spiritual. He tried very hard to teach his family the things he had learned from the visions that Heavenly Father gave him.”
Marvin Merrill of the Newbury Park Second Ward said he was able to see the “big picture of the Book of Mormon,” and he also received a clear impression of the emphasis Book of Mormon authors placed on its predominant theme—a testimony of the Savior.
Kim Barrus and his wife, Beth, also of the Agoura Second Ward, read in both marathons. Besides loving the spirit of the occasion, they used the opportunity to mark scriptures they later wanted to study in more depth.
High school freshmen Adam Ellsworth and Tammy Barrus cleaned out their seminary teacher’s candy jar when they each reported their second time through the Book of Mormon. Sister Peggy Helfman had been rewarding members of the class with a piece of candy for each chapter they read in the Book of Mormon.
Members of the Richmond Virginia Chesterfield Stake recently enjoyed spending a few hours participating in an activity with a missionary theme. The stake held a “Called to Serve” family home evening in which stake members learned more about ways to get involved in missionary work.
Prior to the activity, each member of the stake received a personal letter signed by the stake leaders, calling them to be lifelong member missionaries and inviting them to the family home evening to learn more about how to succeed in their work. The letters were delivered to stake members by home teachers and visiting teachers.
At the opening session of the family home evening, Virginia Richmond Mission president Robert Arthur Brown talked about the importance of missionary work. Participants then separated to attend various workshops.
President Brown, with the assistance of his wife and fifteen full-time missionaries, helped stake leaders conduct the various sessions. Children and youth were encouraged to save money for future missions, learn more about their beliefs, strengthen their testimonies, and invite friends to attend Church-related activities. Adults were urged to support the full-time missionaries, to prepare for future missions, and to serve at home as member missionaries.