Melissa and the Book of Mormon


Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:3).

I didn’t know what to do. President Benson said that we should all read the Book of Mormon, but it isn’t that easy. My mom and dad think that since I’m only five years old, I’m too young to have a Book of Mormon of my own. Since I don’t have my own Book of Mormon, I needed to borrow one.

The first thing I did was look for my father’s Book of Mormon. I was climbing on a chair to get it from the top shelf, when Dad came into the room.

“What are you doing, Melissa?” he asked.

“I want to read the Book of Mormon.”

Dad got his book and sat down in a chair with me on his lap and showed me the picture of Nephi stretching out his hand, and the one with Abinadi standing before King Noah, and even the one of Jesus coming down from heaven. Then he closed the book, gave me a hug, and lifted me off his lap.

“But I want to read it,” I said.

He opened his Book of Mormon to one of the front pages. “See this yellow spot?” he asked.

“Yes?”

“That’s mustard from your last hot dog. See this brown smudge on page two hundred twenty-nine?”

I nodded.

“Chocolate from your hot-fudge sundae.”

“Oh.”

“See these last two pages that won’t come apart, even when I shake them?”

“Yes.”

“Peanut butter and jelly.”

Dad put his Book of Mormon back on the shelf and walked away. I decided that I would have to borrow someone else’s.

I went up to my brother’s room. It’s full of all kinds of things, but I rummaged around until I found his Book of Mormon in the bottom drawer of his dresser. It’s a small one with tiny print and a real leather cover, and it has his name written in gold on the front. Ryan says that he’s saving it to take on his mission. I was just opening it when he came into the room. When he saw me, his eyes went wide. He rushed over and grabbed it from my hand.

“But I want to read it,” I said.

“Leave it alone!” he shouted, flipping it open. “Look at this!”

“It looks like a crayon mark,” I said.

He turned to another place. “And this!”

“It looks like someone accidentally tore the page,” I said.

He closed the book and put it back in his dresser drawer. I slipped quietly from the room.

I went to my own bedroom and huddled in a corner. After a while my nine-year-old sister came in. “What’s wrong, Melissa?” Gina asked me.

“I want to read the Book of Mormon.”

Gina smiled and patted my head. “You can read mine,” she said. I watched her look around the room until she found her Book of Mormon hidden under a pile of blankets. “Here,” she said, handing it to me. It was a big one, with large print.

“Thank you,” I said. I sat down on my bed and opened it. I looked at the words really hard, but I still couldn’t read them. I squinted at the page. I turned the book upside down. I lay on my back and lifted the book above me in the air, but it was no use. No matter what I did, I couldn’t read the Book of Mormon like the prophet told us to. I closed it and put it beside my pillow. Maybe the prophet hadn’t meant for five-year-olds to read it.

That night my mother came up to my room to tuck me into bed. She leaned over and kissed me and pulled the covers up to my chin. Then she looked around the room for my bedtime storybook. The one she is reading to me now is called Katie Curtis in Katmandu, and it’s about a little girl who travels all over the world. Mom looked in the toy box and under the bed, and while she was still searching, I remembered Gina’s Book of Mormon.

“What about this book, Mom?” I asked.

She picked it up. She looked at me, then at the book, then back at me again. “Is this what you want?”

“Yes,” I said.

She opened it to the first page. “I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, …” she began.

It was better than Katie Curtis any day.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Julie F. Young