Steven Brantzeg is seven years old, and he can read well. But even when he was four, people thought he could read. You could ask him to find the story of Jonah in his Bible, and he could turn right to the page. You could ask him to find the stories of Joseph and his eleven brothers or Lehi and his journey to the promised land, and he could show you right where they are found in his set of the scriptures. Most of his friends at Primary could do the same thing. How?
As part of Sharing Time in the Valley View Sixth Ward in Salt Lake City, where Steven and his family attend church, children were told many of the stories from the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Then their teachers helped them to find the pages where those stories are found in their own scriptures. The children marked those pages in a way that would remind them of the stories. On pages 10 and 11 in Steven’s Bible, for example, you will find pictures of an ark, a cloud raining drops of water, and a birthday cake with six candles. Even before he could read, Steven could tell you about the building of the ark and the rain that came for forty days and nights when Noah was six hundred years old. He could turn right to the page too! When the project in Primary was completed, Steven and his mom and dad, Annette and George Brantzeg, continued to read stories from the scriptures and to mark them in Steven’s copies.
Since he has learned to read, Steven enjoys doing many things with words and letters. He particularly likes to do word searches and mazes in the Friend. With the help of his mom, he keeps a journal of pictures and words. He also writes to his pen pal in Norway, Christian Gilhuus.
Being the youngest in his family (Steven has four older sisters and one older brother) means that Steven has plenty of people who are willing to help him learn. His older brother, Russell (13), has helped teach him how to use the family’s home computer. Steven’s dad works with computers, and he has helped Steven too. One night Brother Brantzeg created a program to picture flags of different countries. Steven worked with him as they put all the right colors in the right places. Later that evening, Steven changed the flags himself. All of a sudden, the red, white, and blue Norwegian flag was pink!
Many sports interest Steven. He plays basketball with his brother-in-law, Kevin. He also plays baseball, and he likes to go sleigh-riding. When Steven wanted a bike of his own, he and his dad went to a thrift store and bought one that needed a lot of work. Together they fixed it.
Steven isn’t sure what he wants to do when he grows up. Right now he thinks that being an artist and owning a ranch sound like good ways to earn a living. One thing he is sure of, however: Before he buys that ranch and becomes an artist, he wants to serve a mission. He wants to share all those stories that he loves in the scriptures with people in other parts of the world. He will even be able to share them with children who don’t yet know how to read!