In the April 2011 General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson said, “If you have not read the Book of Mormon, read it. If you do so prayerfully and with a sincere desire to know the truth, the Holy Ghost will manifest its truth to you. If it is true—and it is—then Joseph Smith was a prophet who saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. The Church is true. If you do not already have a testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one. It is essential for you to have your own testimony, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far.”
With the anniversary of the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6th, we also have the opportunity to remember another important anniversary that was the prelude to the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ. On September 22, 1828, following the loss of the 116 page translation of the Book of Lehi, the plates and translation tools were returned to Joseph Smith, and during that winter he translated “a few more pages” (D&C 5:30). The work progressed slowly until April 5, 1829, when Oliver Cowdery, a school teacher, arrived in Harmony, Pennsylvania and offered his scribal services to Joseph. Two days later-April 7, 1829-he commenced to write for Joseph. Virtually all of the current text of the Book of Mormon was translated between April 7 and the last week of June, 1829.
The King James Version of the Bible was produced by 50 English scholars who accomplished their work in seven years, translating at the rate of one page per day. In contrast, Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon at the rate of about 10 pages per day (After subtracting the time spent on other tasks, translation time available was about 55 days).
As I realized this a few years ago, I gave myself a challenge. I called it “The Translation Challenge”. The Translation Challenge is to read the entire Book of Mormon–beginning April 7 and ending June 30 (I start on April 6 by reading the introduction pages and remembering the restoration of the Church, D&C 20:1: 21:3). I encourage those who want to complete The Translation Challenge and are already reading the Book of Mormon to continue where you are currently reading and cycle back to the current location (i.e. If I were in Mosiah 1, then I would just begin The Translation Challenge at Mosiah 1 on April 7 and on/before June 30 read Words of Mormon)
In General Conference, Elder David A. Bednar taught that we should be reading the Book of Mormon and discussing it with our children. What a great opportunity to set the example for our children and share our testimony with them. As they see us sacrifice sleep and diversion to read the Book of Mormon, our children will believe our words as they see our actions.
It wasn’t easy for Joseph to translate on such a strict schedule and you will probably find it difficult to read on that schedule, but I want to invite you to accept The Translation Challenge. I have been blessed each time that I have read the Book of Mormon. There is something to be learned by both a slow study of the Book of Mormon as well as a quick reading. Each serves a purpose, and each will bring blessings. I invite you to claim these blessings in your life by accepting The Translation Challenge. Elder Russell M. Nelson, referring to the time that it took to translate the Book of Mormon, said, “Many of us feel good if we can read the book in that time”. I know you will indeed “feel good”, especially if this is your first experience reading the entire Book of Mormon. Challenge yourself and bless your life!
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