The Family-to-Family Book of Mormon Program is exceeding 100,000 books distributed each month, and is well on the way to its first 1 million copies per year, according to L. Farrell McGhie, program director.
"This program has increased from 20,000 copies a month two years ago," he said. "Last year we had a total of 917,000 books, and this year we may well exceed 1.25 million."One indication of the progress of the program has been the number of postal "feedback" cards and letters sent to donors, said Vernon Proctor, assistant director of the program.
A comment from a woman in Birmingham, England, to a family from the Salt Lake Monument Park State who donated a Book of Mormon to her, is typical of many such comments:
"Thank you for the Book of Mormon. This book has given me a lot of joy from reading it, and a lot of comfort in troubled times."
In the past year, Monument Park stake members, like those in many stakes throughout the Church, have donated thousands of books. Enclosed in each book are the testimonies and photos of the family. Also enclosed are postal feedback cards filled out by missionaries and returned to the family. Letters frequently come from investigators, who are encouraged by missionaries to write to the donor. A list of 23 study questions are also included in the books.
Philip O. Boyer, mission leader of the Monument Park 13th Ward where some 50 families take part in the program, said, "Individual members are just thrilled to find their books have been accepted."
He said members in the ward are encouraged to take part in all aspects of missionary work, including this program. "The whole stake is very Book of Mormon-oriented," he said.
Missionaries typically write that they gave the copy of the Book of Mormon to "a young woman from Kentucky that seems very interested," or that they are "teaching a family in New York to whom we gave your book and they are close to being baptized."
Letters from investigators are even more encouraging. One man, director of a school band in Georgia, wrote that he'd had an interesting conversation with an LDS student about the Church.
"The next day I had a wonderful note on my desk from her along with a book from your family. I want to thank you for this gift and the spirit in which it was given. I am pleased to have the Book of Mormon and believe I will enjoy reading it. It is new and strange to me, and I anticipate qustions."
Carolyn Freebairn of the Monument Park 9th Ward recently traveled to England to pick up her missionary son. While there, she called a man who had received one of her donated books. The man had joined the Church, and he expressed his great appreciation for the book and the gospel.
The Douglas M. and Janet Todd family of the Monument Park 13th Ward reported that they have received cards from three who received copies of the Book of Mormon and were baptized. They said it made them feel involved in missionary work. One of these was a young executive with General Electric in New Zealand. He wrote, "Before I found the gospel, my life was empty. I kept searching but my life lacked meaning. Now I feel my life is complete."
A letter from Ft. Knox, Ky., was received by donor Paul Clayton of the Monument Park 9th Ward that reads, "Thank you for donating the Book of Mormon. It has given me great inspiration. As a result of your donation and the help of the missionaries, I was baptized. I know the Book of Mormon to be a true testament of Jesus Christ and I know Joseph Smith to be a true Prophet of God. I am 18 years old and in basic training and am walking a straight and narrow path."
The Clair and Julia Hopkins family, also of the Monument Park 13th Ward, have received 52 cards indicating their books have been placed. One woman from California wrote:
"My 13-year-old daughter, Heather, began taking the missionary lessons and I asked her if I might have a copy of the Book of Mormon so I might understand and help her in her studies. I was given your gift. I began reading it during lessons, but soon found myself reading it on my own. Heather was baptized in February, but I continued to read the Book of Mormon, often long into the night until my eyes could read no more.
"I received the answers I sought. There were no more questions in my mind. I knew the Church was true and that Joseph Smith was the true prohpet.
"I can't find words to express the joy in my heart when I was baptized. I have to thank my daughter for her wisdom in bringing the elders into our home, the elders for their counsel, and your family for providing the book that held the answers all along. I pray that your family will be blessed with the joy you've brought to me. How full and enriched my life has become through the teachings of the Savior."
Others have received similar responses and joy through their participation in the Family-to-Family Book of Mormon program. The commitment of members who donate copies of the Book of Mormon is shown in the expression of one sister, who had been widowed the year before. "I had been blessed in many ways with help at this time of great sorrow in my life. So I decided to send, with my photo and testimony, 100 copies of the Book of Mormon at Christmas time. This was my gift to my Heavenly Father."