Book Review Series: Elizabeth Dorathy’s Book of Mormon Journals
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This is a combined review of both of Elizabeth Dorathy’s books: Scripture Power! Book of Mormon Journal for Children (US$8.99 / CFI Books) and My Witness of Jesus Christ: Book of Mormon Journal for Youth (US$16.99 / CFI Books)
Some years ago, I decided to journal my experiences reading the Book of Mormon. Over a period of about a year, I read the Book of Mormon, taking notes about what I was reading – verses that meant something to me; questions I had; answers to questions. It was a valuable experience, and I felt I grew a lot during the process – but oh, if only I’d had these journals instead!
My notes were a tangled mess; and I never did find them useful to refer back to. There was just no structure. They were also written haphazardly in a couple of composition books. And because my handwriting is bad at the best of times, they were jumbled up, indecipherable mess.
You could follow my example, and create your own Book of Mormon Journal. I highly doubt you’d have the same problems deciphering your handwriting that I had. Or, you could use Elizabeth Dorathy’s journals to help prompt you and to guide your study the next time you read the Book of Mormon.
Dorathy’s journals are simple in format: She follows the Book of Mormon in chapter order, asking a few questions along the way. Some chapters get multiple questions; some get none. There are two different products, one aimed at children and the other at youth. I have a child who is 6 and another who is 9, and I read these with them in mind. What would they think of them? Would they find them worthwhile?
I think so. My children are still young; but these questions would help them make sense of a complicated and complex text. I was 9 the first time I read the Book of Mormon. I remember the feeling of confusion – not really understanding what I was reading, especially the bits in Nephi that were from Isiah. I also remember the feeling of peace, the powerful testimony that it really was true. More than anything, my adult testimony rests on that long-ago reading of the Book of Mormon – that sweet certainty, without the doubt, without the distance. The 9 year old me would’ve loved this. The 9 year old me would’ve loved Scripture Power for the prompts, the direction it would have given my reading. The 16 year old me, Seminary vice president, Mormon extraordinaire, would’ve loved My Witness of Jesus Christ, too.
The – uh, let’s say – 21 year old me loves them both. The me that is full of doubts, full of questions, constantly struggling not to feel a growing distance with God. While some of Dorathy’s questions are familiar from my Seminary days, others were fresh, and challenged me to more fully apply the Book of Mormon to my own life.
Here is a hard truth that is difficult to share: It’s been several years since I’ve read the Book of Mormon. As I read through the journaling prompts, I was reminded of the beauty of the stories – as familiar to me as pictures in a photo album. I’ve had a pretty rough couple of months. Reading through these journals made me think, Maybe it’s time to pick up the Book of Mormon again. Maybe I’ll find some answers there. Maybe I’ll find some peace.
That journal I wrote all those years ago is long gone now, victim to mice and flooding. But I’m glad I’ve found Doharty’s product to take its place.
There are so many ways to use this product. They’d be a great help for your Seminary kid. They’d also be a wonderful Baptism gift, or a present for a child who is interested in reading the Book of Mormon for the first time. They’d be great to use for family scripture study, or to use the questions as a jumping-off point for Family Home Evening lessons. I think they’re even of value to adults. Yes, as an adult, you will find some of the questions rather basic (but then, they aren’t made with you in mind!) – but there are others that seem only more relevant, the older you get.
Me? I plan to use My Witness of Jesus Christ to guide my reading of the Book of Mormon. I want to take my time, and really find God again. I plan to use Scripture Power to help introduce my children to the Book of Mormon. We have Family Home Evening every week, and I think reading the verse in question, and then reading the journaling prompt, will help encourage understanding and discussion. I want us to record our answers (I might make my 9 year old do the writing – she has such beautiful handwriting!) and create a family journal of the Book of Mormon.
If you’re looking for a way to reconnect with the Book of Mormon, or if you’re looking for a way for your child to connect with it for the first time, I don’t think you can do any better than to use Elizabeth Dorathy’s Book of Mormon journals.
This is a part of the Exponent Book Review Series and Cyber Monday Giveaway. By making a thoughtful comment on this post, subscribing to the Exponent, or making a donation to Exponent II by sending a PayPal donation to firstname.lastname@example.org, you will be entered into a drawing to win one of many books being reviewed! Check the intro post for information and terms. Entries accepted until the 5th of December 2015.