The owners of a Chinese restaurant in this southwestern Utah city have initiated some unique and effective ways to "help flood the earth with the Book of Mormon," as admonished by President Ezra Taft Benson at the October 1988 general conference.
Seven years ago, inspired by a similar message from President Spencer W. Kimball in which he challenged those in business to have copies of the Book of Mormon in their reception rooms, John and Ruth Chan began doing that - and more.Not content with just having a copy of the Book of Mormon in the waiting area of their restaurant lobby, they decided to personally present complimentary copies containing their own testimonies to their non-member patrons. They also decided to supply foreign language copies for their patrons from other countries. These, too, contained members' testimonies in the appropriate languages. And regardless of the language, the Chans always include their own testimonies.
From the beginning, the Chans sent hundreds of copies of the Book of Mormon to all parts of the United
States and to at least 18 other countries.
But even that was not enough to satisfy their missionary zeal. They wanted to be sure the books were read, and not tossed aside. Therefore, to emphasize the significance of their gift, and knowing that tourists like souvenirs, Sister Chan began making scrolls similar to the papyrus scrolls of ancient times.
One scroll is inscribed with the biblical prophecy in Ezekiel concerning the coming forth of the Book of Mormon - the "stick of Joseph" - and its joining with the Bible, or "stick of Judah." (Ezek. 37:16-23.)
The second scroll is inscribed with the "Other sheep I have . . . " passage from the New Testament (John 10:16) and the related story of Christ's visit to the Americas. (3 Nephi 15:12-21.)
Recently added was a third scroll containing President Benson's testimony of the Book of Mormon, which he bore at general conference last October.
"The marvelous testimony from our living prophet was so thrilling to me that I knew it, too, must be included with our missionary tools," said Sister Chan. "Putting it on a scroll similar to those used anciently seemed the most effective way to present it."
This addition to the display brought quick results. Curious about the new scroll, three of the restaurant's waitresses began reading and discussing President Benson's testimony. The result: baptism of one and reactivation of another. One other waitresses at the restaurant recently returned from a mission in California.
All three scrolls are prominently displayed in the restaurant's lobby, along with a framed copy of Joseph Smith's testimony, the cassette tape "Heavenly Father's Plan," and copies of the Book of Mormon in many languages. A sign invites non-member patrons to take a copy of each item free of charge. Between 30 and 50 copies of the Book of Mormon are distributed weekly.
"People stop to look at the scrolls, and this gives me the opportunity to present them personally and explain their meaning," said Sister Chan.
The Chans also work closely with missionaries in the area, giving them referrals and supplying them with copies of the Book of Mormon, scrolls and tapes for investigators.
While occasionally a patron will appear offended when offered a book, the Chans say their business continues to prosper, and conversions have resulted as they magnify President Benson's challenge to help "flood the earth with the Book of Mormon."
"This," they added, "is our greatest reward."