New Summer Friends

“New Summer Friends,” Tambuli, June 1994, 47

New Summer Friends

It took seventeen weeks (at four pages a day), but the young men and young women in the Hermosa Vista Ward, Mesa Arizona Red Mountain Stake, did it. With their leaders, they accepted Moroni’s challenge in Moroni 10:4–5 [Moro. 10:4–5], divided into teams of ten, and read the entire Book of Mormon as a group.

Each group of ten was assigned a captain. At first the captains weren’t really sure they wanted the responsibility. Blair Phelps knew ahead of time what they were up against. His sister had been a captain for a similar group the year before, so he knew what was involved. But he agreed to serve anyway, joining seven others as captains of the eight teams.

Each week the captains contacted every team member and added up the points each had earned that week. Points were given for reading each day, for being up to date with the reading assignments, for memorizing certain verses, and for attending the firesides and activities organized to encourage participation. Each person was given a booklet with a reading chart, the schedule of events, the verses to memorize, and the words of Moroni’s promise. The teams did not compete; they reported to their captains mainly to stay focused on their goal.

Michelle Shephard described what happened: “I was pretty excited …” then she paused, “at first.” Enthusiasm was high among the teams for the first couple of weeks. Then school let out for the summer, and the reading started to slip. It seemed like everyone had trouble keeping on schedule.

Eventually, the Beehives took drastic measures to catch up. They had a party at which reading the Book of Mormon was the planned activity. Maria Dastrup said, “It was the strangest party I ever went to. Who would have thought we would have fun just reading the Book of Mormon?”

Nearly everyone found a favorite character or favorite story during their reading. Mike Walker said, “I really admire Nephi. He’s a good role model. When we were reading, I kept wondering about his brothers. How could they have an angel appear to them, and how could they have such wonderful things happen that should build their faith, then turn around and be wicked again? It’s hard to understand.”

Many developed a strong feeling for Moroni. Reading his last words made them both sad and hopeful. “It was sad when Moroni said good-bye,” said Lisa Corrington. “His promise works if you really want to find out if the Book of Mormon is true.”

Michelle also commented on Moroni’s last words. “He gives you a final promise after all his people have died and after all that has happened. He tells us we can still do it—we can still live as Christ taught.”

Reading the Book of Mormon: How to make it to the last page.

The young people in Mesa, Arizona, were determined to finish reading the Book of Mormon on schedule. They came up with a list of suggestions that helped them reach their goal:

—Pay attention.

—Pray first; it helps.

—Apply what you read to things going on around you.

—Keep a reading chart.

—Read the chapter headings.

—Read during the day when you’re awake. And try to read at the same time every day.

—Read the Book of Mormon with your friends or family so you can discuss it.

—Read the book of Moroni first; then go back and start at the beginning.

Photography by Janet Thomas

Men like Moroni made great sacrifices to bring us the Book of Mormon. The least we can do is give Moroni’s promise a try. (See Moro. 10:4–5.) (Moroni Burying the Plates, by Tom Lovell.)