Book of Mormon Language Lessons

In preparation for a trip to Italy, I carefully listened to a set of language tapes and memorized phrases from a guidebook. I experienced moderate success in finding our way to the hotel and ordering meals at various ristoranti. It wasn’t until I read the Book of Mormon in Italian, however, that I felt I had really begun to learn the language.

With the English version of 1 Nephi next to the Italian one, I commenced reading Il Libro di Mormon. At first I made my way through only four or five verses a day, always checking unfamiliar words against the English copy. But as repeated words and phrases became familiar, I began to read more. Further help came from a returned missionary who recorded several chapters on tape so I could listen to spoken Italian.

Still I translated back and forth, encountering new words on every page. One day, while reading in Alma 5, I realized that I was actually reading in Italian and that translating into English was slowing me down. At that point I no longer read only at night but eagerly turned to the Book of Mormon during free moments throughout my day. By removing sections from the paperback copies I had in both languages and putting them in my purse, I was able to read on airplanes and buses and while waiting for appointments.

Reading the Book of Mormon in a new language caused me to read more slowly and thoughtfully. I found heightened meaning in some words. For example, the Italian mediante reads in English as “through.” Mediante, however, has a more complex meaning in Italian that implies Christ’s role as our Mediator. As I pondered such words, I found new insight into the meaning of the scriptures.

One year after I began 1 Nefi, I finished reading the last five verses of Moroni aloud. As I did so, I was moved to tears and felt the Holy Ghost testify that Gesù Cristo vive (Jesus Christ lives) and Il Libro di Mormon è vero (the Book of Mormon is true).

In a neighboring ward, 25 people are reading the Book of Mormon in various languages, including Spanish, German, and Portuguese. One sister chose Swedish because her great-grandparents first read the Book of Mormon in Swedish and joined the Church. While reading, she felt closer to these ancestors than ever before.

Reading the Book of Mormon in a new language is one way we can “study and learn, and become acquainted with … languages, tongues, and people” (D&C 90:15).Janet Peterson, Sandy, Utah

Recipe for a Perfect Day

As a mother of preschool-age children, I often find myself faced with the challenge of balancing the many housekeeping tasks that await me each day with my desire to spend time with my children. The following recipe for a perfect day has helped me feel good about fulfilling my roles of nurturing children and homemaking, without neglecting one or the other.

  1. 1.

    Get up each morning before your children. Use these few early-morning moments to collect your thoughts and pray for guidance and help during the day ahead. Read your scriptures.

  2. 2.

    Do a household task with each child, individually or together. This teaches children responsibility while they learn how to work. It can also turn cleaning time into together time because you don’t have to wait until your work is done to spend time with your children. Most young children are happy to help.

  3. 3.

    Do a “mommy school” activity with each child. Spend a few minutes doing something constructive together. It can be as simple as coloring or playing with clay, or more instructive, such as counting grapes as you eat them or drawing the letters of the alphabet in a tray of gelatin powder. Time spent doing fun and interesting activities with children helps prepare them to learn more later.

After doing these three things each day, consider any other accomplishment a bonus. Knowing you’ve achieved some important goals results in less frustration and more patience to tackle other projects.Marianne Olson, Garden Grove, California

Dots on Top

When my children were small and anxious to be of help, I came up with a way of rotating our food supply. I put colored self-adhesive dots on the top of each bottle or can—the same color for an entire year. Each year we change colors, and I post a chart in our storage area as well as inside a kitchen cupboard with a key showing what year each color represents. When the children were small, I could ask them to bring me a can or bottle with a green dot on it, for example. As they grew older, they would know to choose bottles and cans with a certain colored sticker on them.

This system helps us rotate foods without worrying that some items might be sitting in storage too long. Each year we try to rearrange our shelves, and the colored dots help us quickly pull older items to the front. This has been especially useful in rotating our home-canned fruits and vegetables.Denise Cook, Richfield, Utah

Walking through the Plan of Salvation

When I answered the phone and heard Uncle Doug’s voice, I knew what he was going to say: my aunt, 88 years old and ill, had passed away. In my sadness, the Comforter enveloped me with peace and joy as I contemplated the great plan of salvation and Aunt Melva’s reunion with loved ones on the other side.

I wondered how to tell my five children, ages 3 to 12, about losing Aunt Melva, their favorite aunt. She had made each of our children feel special with the hugs and kisses she showered on them. This was their first experience with the death of a loved one.

My husband was out of town on business, so I had to break the news to my children alone. As I pondered how to do this, I realized a wonderful teaching moment had presented itself. If I could teach them the basic truths of the gospel perhaps they too would feel comfort and peace in knowing where Aunt Melva was.

I began by kneeling in prayer, thanking God for the truths of the restored gospel and asking for guidance in how to teach them to my children. My mind was directed to two sections in the Doctrine and Covenants: the vision of the Savior’s visit to the spirits of the dead as recorded in section 138, and the vision of the degrees of glory found in section 76. I soon found ideas stirring in my mind.

The next morning before church I gathered my children. “As you know, Aunt Melva has been very ill in the hospital this week,” I told them. “The doctors did everything they could do for her, but her body could not recover from the infection, and she died last night.”

Their questions came immediately: “Where is she?” “Is she in heaven with Heavenly Father?” “Will we ever see her again?” and “What happens when you die?”

I assured them she was happily reunited with loved ones in the spirit world. “Let’s invite Grandma and Grandpa and have a special family home evening this afternoon to answer your questions,” I told them.

After church I selected a number of rooms in our home and labeled them premortality, mortality, spirit world, and the degrees of glory: telestial, terrestrial, celestial. Then I taught my children about the great plan of happiness. As we moved from room to room, we read scriptures that taught about each phase of our existence. When we finally arrived at the room representing the celestial kingdom, I explained, “This heavenly home is where we can live together forever with Heavenly Father and Jesus.” I concluded the lesson by bearing testimony of the truths of salvation revealed in the scriptures.

With tears in his eyes, my father also shared his witness to his grandchildren that they had been taught glorious doctrines that are relatively unknown to the world at large. Knowing where Aunt Melva had gone, my children felt peace and understood more about Heavenly Father’s great plan of happiness.Christine Wright, Eden, Utah

[illustration] Silhouettes by Beth M. Whittaker; house outline by Joe Flores

[illustrations] Illustrated by Joe Flores