The Lord's text

"The Book of Mormon is the Lord's text for our missionaries. The discussions and other materials are supplemental to the Book of Mormon," Elder Clinton L. Cutler of the Seventy told the Church News. He emphasized the truth of this statement by describing an experience he observed when he was president of the Washington Seattle Mission from July 1987 to July 1990.

Representatives of the Church's Missionary Department and the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, contacted him in November 1988. They wanted to train and test some of his missionaries on the effective use of the Book of Mormon in proselyting.For one week each, two zones were selected to receive training on reading the Book of Mormon with investigators, rather than just giving reading assignments following discussions.

During the week of training, the missionaries met to role play. Elder Cutler, who is second counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, related how his assistants, Elders Jones and Robinson, asked him to play the part of an investigator they were scheduled to meet with that evening. This investigator, Gloria, was at the fourth discussion, but would not commit to baptism.

While reading from 2 Nephi 31, Elder Cutler and the elders began to feel the Spirit. "Before we knew it there were tears in all our eyes."

The elders, during the role play, challenged their investigator to baptism. Elder Cutler, playing the investigator, responded, "Yes, elders."

The following day the zone was to meet again to report the results of the role playing. Elder Cutler said he "anxiously" waited to hear the results of the actual meeting with Gloria. During the report, one of the assistants said, "You won't believe yesterday. The discussion went identical to our role play. And Gloria will be baptized next Saturday."

Elder Cutler said Gloria did join the Church and later served a faithful mission. "The prophet [President Ezra Taft BensonT is right," he admonished. "The Book of Mormon is for us in this generation."

Reading the Book of Mormon with investigators changed the lives of missionaries under his stewardship, he said. And "when we use the Book of Mormon with our investigators and they really read it, their testimonies will be deeper and stronger and able to sustain them through the trials of life." - Julie A. Dockstader

(Another in a series of "Missionary Moments." Illustration by Deseret News artist Reed McGregor.)

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