Remember back in 2005 when President Hinckley encouraged all members to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year? I’d like to share what has become one of my favorite memories from that time.

After the Prophet’s request our Utah neighborhoods, schools, many buildings, and malls were electric with people working to complete this task. Recall with me the examples of those following this challenge. They could be seen reading the Book of Mormon pretty much everywhere–on the bus, in the train, at parks or the mall, and in between classes at school.

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girl-holding-book-of-mormon-1062186-galleryThe Ensign published an article with numerous insights about this challenge and the groundswell of participation. Numerous people shared their experiences in the article titled TAKING THE CHALLENGE in the DECEMBER 2006 Ensign.

I have chosen to include one sister’s comments, because her sentiments regarding the gift of more time ring true for many of us who took on that challenge and the experience we shared then:

When I read about the challenge [to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year], I immediately made the excuse that I was too busy to even attempt it. When I later began reading, I constantly reminded myself that if I didn’t finish, I could always say I was just too busy. But something amazing happened. On the days I read, time seemed to stand still and allow me the chance to get everything accomplished. This blessing was the remedy to my busy life. I was able to spend more time with my family and on my Church calling, while still being able to accomplish all I needed to in my job. I realized that Heavenly Father will provide what is necessary if I put Him first. Julie Major, Nibley, Utah

I love the scriptural account of the latter-days when millennial judgment and peace are described as when men will “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks”. I believe part of the fulfillment of that prophecy will be using all our gifts to help further the Lord’s kingdom through family history work. Isaiah 2:2-5

write-593333_640We can compose personal histories without expending a great deal of extra effort, perhaps no extra effort at all. This phenomena frequently occurs already in many aspects of our lives, then why not with family history? For example, how often do you use your neighbor’s unfilled garbage can with an extra bag or two of your own garbage…it cost nothing extra; maybe you run your sprinklers at night…you save on water actually reducing cost without any additional expenditure (fewer people watering and less evaporation); and by tossing your leaves or cut grass in a compost pile instead of the garbage, you cut down on waste and provide fertilization resources for your own use, as well.

If we can use that philosophy every day of our lives, then why can’t we apply it to seize family history details without extra effort by completing dictation during a walk or drive, capturing memoirs already written on social media or other means, and implementing strategies to flood the world with our ideas on saving family history treasures daily? A small change of attitude can do wonders to increase productivity. For example, the next time you or one of your children gets an assignment to write a paper on a topic of his choice, how about selecting a family member and writing about his or her life. This could be an ancestor or a living relative, and the grade will reflect your passion for important family history stories, though the grade will be incidental to the great work that it becomes for your family to cherish. Creating and composing personal histories without expending any additional effort is doable, fun, and easy. You’re already doing the work. Change your way of thinking and start saving it for your posterity and generations untold to enjoy. Your progenitors will thank you someday and call your name blessed. Isaiah 31:28

  • Write letters to your children
  • Keep a journal
  • Participate in extraction
  • Teach someone the joy of family history work
  • Call a family history consultant into your home
  • Create a family history Facebook page
  • Start and write about a family tradition

Share your creative ideas of how you capture your family history and begin today.

Blessings Resulting from Reading the Book of Mormon

Rise Up, O Men of God

Taking the Challenge

To read more articles by Walter Penning, click here.

To read more articles by Walter Penning, click here.

“Each of us has to deal with the conditions that life has given us. To one person the challenge is ill health, another may have a difficult marriage. A third may struggle for faith. Still another may have a hot temper to overcome. Perhaps to some the challenge is that life is just too easy. I believe that we will be judged by God according to his knowledge of our challenges and we may well be surprised, if we get to heaven, to see who else is there. My greatest challenge is to be a righteous follower of Jesus Christ. That takes a great deal of effort and sacrifice. In specific terms, I have covenanted to be a good wife and a mother. If I have not made a success of that, I have been a failure in life. All my other worldly activities, as satisfying as they are, are incidental to that one.”

This quote is attributed to Camilla Kimball.

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About Walter Penning
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.

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