As Kevin entered the park, he saw his friends David and Nathan playing in the sandbox. They had some empty milk cartons and raisin boxes that they were using for buildings. Kevin could see that the boys had toy soldiers armed with swords.
“Hi, guys!” he called. “Are you playing Roman soldiers again?”
“Hi,” both boys called in return.
“No, we’re not playing Roman soldiers today,” David said. “We’re playing Book of Mormon soldiers.”
“What are Book of Mormon soldiers?” Kevin asked as he sat next to them in the sand.
“They are Lamanites and Nephites,” Nathan told him. “We read about them in the Book of Mormon.”
“What’s that?” asked Kevin. “I’ve never heard of that book. Or of Lamanites and Nephites.”
“The Book of Mormon is a book of scriptures, like the Bible,” David explained, “except it’s written about the people of ancient America.”
“Yeah,” Nathan added, “and the Lamanites are always fighting the Nephites.”
“So the Lamanites are the bad guys?” Kevin asked.
“Well,” David started, “the Lamanites refused to keep the commandments of God, so I guess, in a way, you could call them the bad guys. But the Lamanites weren’t always bad, and the Nephites weren’t always good. In fact, the part we’re getting ready to play now started with some bad Nephites. Especially one, a man named Amalickiah.”
“Amalickiah wanted to be king of the Nephites, but the Nephites didn’t believe in having kings,” Nathan explained. “They had judges, instead. So Amalickiah got mad and took all the people who would go with him and went over to the Lamanites. When he got there, he tricked the Lamanites into letting him be their king.”
“That’s right,” David said, “only that wasn’t enough for Amalickiah. He still wanted to be king of the Nephites.”
“And that’s where we are now,” Nathan said. He pointed to one of his figures. “This is King Amalickiah, and my army is the Lamanite army. We’re getting ready to fight the Nephites.”
David picked up one of his figures. “This is Captain Moroni,” he said. “He is the chief captain of the Nephite army. He has ordered all his men to dig a dirt ridge around the city of Ammonihah to protect it and has placed men all the way around it.”
David pointed to another spot where they had made a fort. “That is the city of Noah,” he said, picking up another figure. “And this is Captain Lehi. He is in charge of the army in Noah. You can be him if you want to play.”
“All right!” Kevin said enthusiastically. “Let’s play!”
On the walk home from the park, David and Nathan told Kevin more about the Book of Mormon.
“It sounds like a great book,” Kevin said.
“Oh, it is!” agreed David. “My parents have some extra copies. Maybe they’ll give you one.”
David’s parents said that they would be happy to give Kevin a Book of Mormon if it was all right with his father and mother.
The next day at school, David and Nathan could hear their names being called. They looked around to find Kevin running toward them and waving.
“I told my mom and dad about the game we played and about the story of Amalickiah and Captain Moroni in the Book of Mormon,” he said. “I asked them if I could have a copy of the book to read.”
“What did they say?” asked David.
“As soon as my dad heard that the bad guys were the ones who didn’t keep the commandments of God, he said yes!”
“That’s great!” Nathan said.
“My mom said she felt much better about me reading a good book than she does about me reading comics all the time,” Kevin told them. “Then she said, ‘Now, if we can only do something about those videos you watch!’”
David smiled at Nathan and put his arm around Kevin’s shoulder. “Kevin, speaking of the Book of Mormon,” he said, “have we got some videos at home for you!”