Though motivated by a firm testimony of the Book of Mormon and a strong desire to share that powerful book, Lorin Hatch, of the Gilbert Arizona Stapley Stake, says he wasn’t finding a great deal of success.
After he and his wife Lina were called last year to serve as Member and Leader Support missionaries in the Arizona Gilbert Mission, he became all the more determined.
“The Book of Mormon has the power to change lives, to convert people to the gospel,” Elder Hatch says. “My responsibility—our responsibility—is to get it into people’s hands.”
He remembered a handout he had seen several years ago. Created by Lanny Owens of Mesa, the handout explains the origins of the Book of Mormon and tells of its role as a testament of Christ.
Elder Hatch resurrected the handout, simplified it, and turned it into a beautifully drawn card and a bookmark reading plan.
“You simply ask a friend or neighbor, ‘Has anyone ever told you why we are called Mormons?’ Then, using the illustrated card and the script on the back, you can easily explain.”
“It’s impactful enough that people will readily accept a copy of the Book of Mormon,” Elder Hatch says.
“The bookmark provides a nine-day reading guide, with a list of scriptures that would take about 10 minutes a day to read. This means in an hour and a half to two, a person can get a really good idea of how powerful and inspiring the Book of Mormon is,” Elder Hatch says.
In addition to using the cards, bookmarks and instruction sheet himself, Elder Hatch has trained other missionaries, ward members and friends who have found similar success.
“If people just try it, they like it,” he says. “The response is overwhelming.”
He printed an initial 5,000 cards and bookmarks. Those were distributed, and, after a few tweaks “to make it even more Christ-centered”—another 5,000 were printed.
Elders Merritt and Davies, among the first trained by Elder and Sister Hatch, said: “You inspired us. We went out this afternoon and handed out 20 copies of the Book of Mormon.”
Another missionary said, “The cards and bookmarks are working great! We’ve handed out more copies of the Book of Mormon in the last few days than we have all transfer!”
The approach makes it easy for members as well.
“This shows them how to share the Book of Mormon and gives them courage to actually do it.”
Elder Hatch stresses, “I am just a facilitator. I couldn’t have done it without Lanny’s original concept: Noah Manwaring’s illustration, and the bookmark layout by Jim Schuett.”
Most of all, he credits the Lord and the promptings he has received.
“I have felt Heavenly Father’s spirit often as we’ve worked on this,” he says. “It’s been humbling to be involved.”
His goal is to continue to help “flood the earth” with the Book of Mormon, by providing free copies or pdf downloads of these tools to anyone who can use them. The Hatches are also available to do presentations in various Church settings.
To contact the Hatches, emails firstname.lastname@example.org.