Bend it like Bookslinger

Ok, the truth is that I could never be as good a Book of Mormon promoter as Bookslinger, but he has inspired me to make a goal for 2010.  My goal is to hand out one Book of Mormon a month.  Three months in, I have kept on pace to meet the goal.  It was actually a lot easier than I thought.

Bookslinger sent me some Books of Mormon in Chinese.  In January, I actually traveled to Hong Kong on business.  While there, I met a Chinese colleague with whom I had casually discussed the Church before.  I asked him if he was interested in a book about Jesus, and he said yes.  I had marked off Moroni 10:4 and asked him to read the book and then ask God if it was true.  I will see him again in late-May and see if he read the book.

In February, I connected through Facebook with a childhood friend.  This friend and I both grew up in an area where nobody is religious (to this day), so neither of us thought much about God until we were adults.  Much to my surprise, my friend had a near-death experience in his 20s and became interested in Christianity.  He has been searching for a church since then.  He has a sticker on his truck saying “Real Men Love Jesus,” and he certainly would call himself a Christian.  Anyway, I sent him a Book of Mormon with my testimony.  He called me to thank me and said he would read it.  I’ll give him a few months before I follow up.

In early March, I traveled to Brazil on business.  I brought a Book of Mormon in Portuguese with me.  I got in a taxi and started chatting with the driver.  He said he was not religious.  I asked him about his family.  He said he is married and he and his wife have a young girl, and he is madly in love with her.  His daughter has changed his life, he said.  I said that one of the things I love about the Church is that young people are surrounded by other young people with good values.  I said that in my experience people are influenced a lot by their friends as they grow, and I was very happy with the friends my kids have met in Church.  I handed him a Book of Mormon and told him a bit about the book.  By the end of the discussion, he seemed excited about reading the book and meeting the missionaries.  He says he sees missionaries pretty often in Sao Paulo, and I told him to flag some down next time he does.  In the old days I had Portuguese-language pass-along cards with a toll-free number in Brazil to call, which would have come in handy, but I don’t have them anymore.

So, three months, three Books of Mormon handed out.  I already have a plan for April.  I will be traveling to India, and I plan on handing out a Book of Mormon there.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

11 thoughts on “Bend it like Bookslinger

  1. Woo hoo! Way to go Geoff!

    (hint: Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Sinhala, Bengali, Urdu)
    The two missions in India are English speaking missions. So they might not have Indian-language books available. So find out the language of the city you’re going to, and get a book in that language.

    (hint#2: pair it up with an english copy, and mention they can use it to brush up on their English.)

    Man… THANK YOU Geoff! That was my goal, to encourage others to sling books too.

  2. “He has a sticker on his truck saying “Real Men Love Jesus’”

    Awesome.

    I enjoyed reading this, Geoff. Thanks. And good luck!

  3. Geoff, this is fabulous.

    You remind me that when we set goals like this, doors can open. I have experienced that, but have not set such goals for a while.

    You’ve got me thinking (I know, I know, Bookslinger should have gotten me thinking a lot time ago, but….)

  4. That’s awesome. I wish I could be that successful. Every time I try giving away a Book of Mormon here, the intended recipient tells me s/he has one (or two or three) already. One non-member house I went to had 5 copies on a bookshelf. Instead, I invite them to activities and meetings.

  5. Great start. The big secret is the follow up, which I’m glad you have already planned. Handing out Books of Mormon does little if we don’t follow up and make sure they remember to read it.

  6. Ram, If we only offer free copies of the Book of Mormon to people with whom we can follow up with, then we’ll miss out on the vast majority of opportunities. We should follow up if we can, but actually, those are a minority of cases.

    My blog illustrates that the vast majority of people who are willing to accept an offer of a free church book in their native language are total strangers who I will never meet again. It would be inappropriate of me to ask for their personal contact information such as full name, address, and phone number.

    And people generally don’t want to give out that information to strangers. And they shouldn’t, at least not to a “civlian” or individual such as myself, only to official representatives. That’s for safety’s sake.

    Now for someone with whom we already have a relationship, or we regularly patronize that place of business (and they regularly work there) of course we can and should follow up. But with the stranger, it’s best to give them _our_ contact info, along with church contact into (phone numbers from pass-along cards, web address, chapel addresses, local mission office). Then we can say: “Please call me in a couple weeks and tell me what you think”. Or: “If you like what you read, please call the church at this number on this card.” Or: “If you want to learn more, just show up on any Sunday at one of these churches on this list.”

    It would also be inappropriate for me (or anyone) to _deny_ someone the opportunity to receive a free copy of the Book of Mormon because of the fact that I won’t likely meet them again. Sometimes, upon meeting immigrants, I think “How can I _not_ offer them the Book of Mormon when I have it in their native language, and I already know that 90% of them really enjoy receiving it?”

    “I’m sorry, I’m not going to offer that man from Kenya a free book in Swahili because I don’t have a way of following up with him.” That would not work in my book.

    One of the “Grand Secrets” of this foreign-language angle of flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon is that the less you care about whether or not they read it, the more willing they will be to receive it! (People are like cats in that regard. Ignore a cat, and it might come sit on your lap. Force it on your lap, and it will flee.) Any hint of desperation or mental coercion on the part of a person distributing any kind of material (religious or for any cause) can turn the recipient off. That’s why I say I _offer_ books. I don’t “give” a book unless the person first agrees to receive it. I very very rarely do a ‘Here, take this’ kind of giving-out.

    Another “Grand Secret” is that the person to whom you offer a Book of Mormon may not be the Lord’s intended or ultimate recipient of it. They may sell it for $.10 at their yard sale. Their child may read it in 9 years and get converted. (Which I’ve read about in church publications.) Vincenzo di Francesca found a partially burned discarded copy of the Book of Mormon on the street, and came to believe in it.

    Thirdly, as stated a few times by the Lord in scripture, He wants everyone to hear/read the gospel, whether they are going to accept it or not. That presents problem with most of us, we want to spend time only with “golden” investigators, or “progressing” investigators. We want to be efficient and not waste time on people who are not going to progress towards baptism. However, we use that as an excuse to not make any kind of contact or offer of material. The corollary to that is I don’t really spend time beyond an extra 60 seconds at a store or gas station. Maybe 2 minutes if they get chatty. Geoff was already in that man’s taxi, so it was no extra time spent on Geoff’s part at all.

    Yes, most converts will be people who are already friends of members. Pres Hinckley stated as much. However, that does not release us from the charge to offer the gospel to _every_ creature. And I testify (and I’ll meet you on the West side of Indy to give you my testimony face-to-face if you want) that once you’re willing to talk to _anybody_, then the Lord will lead you by the hand to specific people whom He wants to have a “seed”.

    One of my big regrets is that by not being a member I can’t speak at firesides and try to light or share this fire and these insights with others that way. That’s one reason I’m trying to do it anonymously on the web, so people like Geoff and Brian can try it out, see if it works for them, and they can discover and share “flooding” techniques.

  7. Geoff: the language of the state, Maharashtra, in which Mumbai is located, is Marathi. The church has two publications in Marathi, Gospel Fundamentals, and the Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet. See the order form here.

    Gospel Principles — 31110-355 — $3.00
    The Prophet Joseph Smith’s Testimony — 32667-355 — $.40

    The order form lists it as “Gospel Principles” but it’s really “Gospel Fundamentals”, and you pair it with the English edition which has a catalog # of 31129-000. You have to order those by mail or by phone, as they are not order-able on the
    ldscatalog.com web site.

    Check the table of contents of any church book whose catalog # starts in “31110″, and if you see 36 chapters (you don’t have to read Marathi etc., just count the lines in the TOC) it is “Gospel Fundamentals” and if you see 47 chapters it is “Gospel Principles”.

    Hindi is the national language, so most people in cities in India will read and speak Hindi in addition to their state language (Marathi, Kannada, Gujerati, Bengali, Sinhala, Urdu, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, etc.)

    Exciting!

  8. Good luck in India. I think D&C might be a better intro to our Church for people in the Dharmic tradition. We emphasize our monotheistic God; and we acknowledge our polytheistic God sometimes. But if you look at D&C 88:6-13, among other places, it seems to be discussing a pantheistic God. My .02 anyways.

  9. I know that I am coming late to this thread. When I go to Bookslinger’s blog and see that he is still actively giving out scriptures, pass along cards, Church magazines, and videos in English and the native language of the receiver, I get one of those “all is right in the world” feelings. Recently, I was reading in the Ensign regarding the experience of someone who was now able to read the Book of Mormon in her Mother Tongue. She spoke of how wonderful it was to read it in the language that her mother spoke to her. My step-niece’s husband was impressed when he lived in an area and his family had contact with missionaries from the LDS Church who spoke the language of the Hmong people. His mom does not speak much English and he has had to translate for her a lot. I am not a very good member missionary to follow up, but I think some seeds were planted. Keep on keeping on Bookslinger!

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