New Summer Friends
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“New Summer Friends,” New Era, June 1993, 33

New Summer Friends

Spend enough time STOMPing around, and you’ll scare up some new friends. Just ask these Mesa, Arizona, teens.

The STOMPing that took place wasn’t grapes or dance floors or each other’s toes. In fact, it had nothing to do with feet.

The STOMP that the youth of the Hermosa Vista Ward in the Mesa Arizona Red Mountain Stake participated in becomes clear when you find out what STOMP stands for—Students Trying Out Moroni’s Promise. (See the New Era, “Captains of Ten,” Nov. 1983, p. 49.)

In 17 weeks (that translates to four pages a day), the Young Men and Young Women and their youth leaders, divided into groups of ten, decided to act on Moroni’s promise in Moroni 10:4–5. [Moro. 10:4–5] They read the 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 had a little insider’s knowledge about what they were up against. His sister had been a captain the year before, so he knew what was involved. But he agreed, joining seven others as the captains.

Each week these captains contacted each member of their team and added up the points each had earned that week. Points were given for reading each day, for being up to date with their reading assignments, for memorizing certain scriptures, 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 scriptures to memorize, and Moroni’s promise printed right there in the front. The teams were not competing. Reporting in to their captain helped each person stay interested and focused on the goal.

Michelle Shephard described what happened perfectly, “I was pretty excited”; then she paused, “at first.” It seems like enthusiasm was high for the first couple of weeks. Then school let out for the summer and the schedules started to slip. It seemed like everyone had some trouble keeping up. In fact, the Beehives took drastic measures to catch up. They had a sleep-over where reading the Book of Mormon was the planned activity. Maria Dastrup said, “It was the strangest sleep-over I ever went to. Who would have thought we would have fun just reading the Book of Mormon?” And read they did, with occasional breaks, until they finally fell asleep. Then in the morning they woke up and read some more.

Nearly everyone had a favorite character or favorite story from the scriptures. Mike Walker said, “I really admired Nephi. He’s a good role model. I kept wondering about his brothers. How could they have an angel appear to them and 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.”

Blair adds, “It gives you a good feeling. It makes you want to try.”

Reading the Book of Mormon: How to Make It to Page 531

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

  • Pay attention.

  • Pray first; it helps.

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

  • Keep a reading chart.

  • Read along while listening to scripture tapes.

  • Read the chapter headings.

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

  • Read it 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 John Luke and Janet Thomas

(Clockwise) Mike, Maria, and Blair all have their favorite ways of getting comfortable with the Book of Mormon. For the youth of the Hermosa Vista Ward (below) summer was a time of getting to know each other as well as great people like Moroni.

Private reading time, family discussion time, time together having fun—it was all time well spent. (Clockwise from top left) Aaron, Lisa, the Shephard family, and Melanie. (Below) A riotous re-creation of Lehi’s crossing. (Page 35) Summer takes time to ponder.

Men like Moroni made great sacrifices to bring us the Book of Mormon. The least we can do is try out Mormoni’s promise. (See Moro. 10:4–5.)