Thursday, May 25, 2006

How-to quick-start guide.

05/25/2006. Here's a how-to quide to sharing the fullness of the restored gospel contained in the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, with people who speak languages other than English. Even for those who don't accept the gospel, I believe this is a good way to promote literacy in world-languages and to help people from foreign lands keep their native languages alive. I believe this is both a secular and a spiritual service.

Part of my inspiration/motivation comes from the "How Rare a Possession" movie from the "A Voice From the Dust" church video.

"How Rare a Possession" can also be seen on Youtube: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5.

1. Research a little about what languages are spoken in your city. Research the web for associations or clubs in your city. Start talking to strangers and ask people where they are from, and what languages they speak. Look up your local ethnic restaurants in the phone book or at Common ones are Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese. Japanese restaurants are often staffed by Koreans, Chinese, and Vietnamese. Korean restaurants are often staffed by Koreans and Japanese. Chinese restaurants often have Indonesian staff. All restaurants often have Spanish-speaking staff. The word "Oriental" is not used anymore. "Asian" is the correct word.

In addition to restaurants, other locations to find immigrants are:
    a. Dry cleaners are sometimes owned and operated by Koreans.
    b. Nail salons are mostly owned and operated by Vietnamese.
    c. Ethnic food markets. Most cities of any size have Asian and Middle-Eastern food markets.

2. Buy Books of Mormon in those languages, and a number in English, in order to pair them. Buy online at Buy hard-cover editions where possible. They are only $3.00 each instead of $2.50 each for soft-cover. They last longer in your car, last longer in use, and give a better impression. Suggested BofM translations to start with: Chinese (traditional script for those from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Indonesia), Chinese (simplified script for those from mainland China), Spanish, Amharic (Ethiopia), French (Africa), Korean, Igbo (Nigeria), Shona (Zimbabwe), Swahili (East Africa), Hindi (India), Bengali (India), Arabic, Japanese, Thai, Urdu (Pakistan), Vietnamese.

It is very important understand the differences between Chinese Traditional (suffix -265 in the church's catalog system) and Chinese Simplified (suffix -266). Buy both copies and look, they are easy to tell apart. Some Chinese can read both writing systems, but most cannot.

You might offend or confuse people if you give the wrong Chinese version. If you can't determine where they are from, present both, and let them choose. Some Taiwanese hate the communists, so giving them a book in the communist-invented Simplified Script sometimes offends them. Most (but not all) of those from Mainland China (they say just "China"), can't read the more complicated traditional script. Some young people from mainland China have never seen the traditional script at all.

Suggested multi-lingual DVD's to start if you want to buy case quanities:
  Together Forever.
  Heavenly Father's Plan.
  Finding Faith in Christ.

2a. Optionally, visit, International Bible Society, and get a case of KJV or NIV New Testaments($.99/each) or Bibles($1.19/each).

3. Download 1bom-chinese-traditional.doc and
1bom-chinese-simplified.doc to see how to make labels. (Use MS-Word 2000 or later) Print it out on 8.5" x 14" (legal size) paper, fold in two longways. After putting in the following inserts, wrap around book so language shows on spine and on front, and tape it. Use those two .DOC files as templates to make labels for all languages. Remove label/wrapper when giving out the book, and re-use it.

4. Download indy-lds-info-no-youth.doc and use as a template for your local chapels and church contact info. Be sure to include your mission office phone number. Always include your Mission office phone number , and a church 800 number (from BofM pass-along card) Those stay mostly constant. Remember, these seeds take years to sprout, so you need to include info that will still be useful five or more years in the future. Include your name, phone number and/or email somewhere, or on a separate card. Put a photocopy of this "local info flyer" in every book, both foreign language and English.

5. Mark 3rd Nephi Chapters 11-26 with a post-it note. Mark Moroni's promise, Moroni 10:3-5 with a post-it note. Write on the post-it note, not on the book. It's okay to write in English for the foreign language books. If you can't read Chinese or Thai, remember that 3rd Nephi is the 11th book in the Book of Mormon. Count down 11 books, then count down 11 chapters. There's an extra heading just before Chapter 11 of 3rd Nephi in the foreign translations, just like in English. It's easy to spot.

Moroni chapter 10 is the last chapter of the last book, then count down 3 verses. Some translations have an index after Moroni, some don't. But the formatting is different so you can easily tell where Moroni ends and the index begins.

You'll soon learn to recognize the symbols for "Nephi" "Moroni" "10" and "11". Translations using the Latin alphabet are easy, look for "Nefi" or "Niphae".

Note: Bengali and some other translations do not have the full Book of Mormon translation, only "selections." So it will take a little more detective work to find 3 Nephi 11. Marking the best places to read really helps, but is not absolutely required.

6. Put each book in a clear zip lock freezer bag. Store books in a box in car trunk with spine up, so you can see language name at a glance and grab right one. Note: Traditional Chinese and Arabic are "backward". Failure to store books in zip lock bags will result in them absorbing moisture in car and pages will be wavey.

7. Pray for opportunities for book placements. Make opportunities for book placements by patronizing ethnic restaurants and stores owned or staffed by immigrants. Recognize opportunities when they arise. Then open your mouth. D&C 33:8-10.

8. Trust the Lord and his Spirit. He knows where everyone is. He knows who's ready for a Book of Mormon. Many people who speak only English are also ready for a Book of Mormon. Try offering a Bible or New Testament along with the Book of Mormon, we believe in both don't we? Even if they already have a Bible, it's the offer that speaks volumes.

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At 5/27/2006 02:22:00 PM, Blogger Wer62 said...

Excellent List. Do you mind if I post this list on my sites?

At 5/28/2006 08:20:00 PM, Blogger Bookslinger said...

Sure, but don't link to the files at or give their URLS. I don't want to steal their bandwidth. Re-upload those files (Book of Mormon labels, and "local info flyers") to your web site somewhere so the bandwidth is on your nickle, or free.

At 5/06/2007 04:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool ideas! I carry a BOX of BoM in the trunk of my car...just in case. I used to give them away to my son's teachers, as Christmas gifts, etc. Later on he did it himself while in college. Now he's serving a mission in NY! I'm working on my masters degree, and I give them to my professors.My grade doesn't change, though...8-)I already ordered the cards. Thanks!!!


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