In production since 2009, the Church is set to release special editions of the Ensign and Liahona in October. The focus of the special issue is the keystone of the Church — the Book of Mormon.
"Members are encouraged to use the special issue in two ways," said Elder Paul B. Pieper of the Seventy and executive director of the Curriculum Department. "First, members and missionaries should review it for their personal edification and to strengthen their testimonies. Second, they should share the magazine with others, including less-active Church members and nonmembers."
Each issue features testimonies about the Book of Mormon from every modern-day prophet from Joseph Smith to Thomas S. Monson.
"The issue also contains content from each member of the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency," said Val Johnson, managing editor of the Liahona and Ensign magazines. "When people read the testimonies in this issue they will feel a strong spirit of the Book of Mormon. We want this issue to change people's lives."
In April of this year, the Church announced that 150 million copies of the Book of Mormon have been printed. It has traveled to every continent on earth and been translated into 83 languages. The testimonies of Church members around the world began with study of this sacred book. Scattered throughout the October Ensign and Liahona are Book of Mormon conversion stories from everyday members around the world. These personal experiences illustrate the powerful unifying effect of the book's Christ-centered message and how integral it has been in the lives of people from different cultures, walks of life, countries, backgrounds and languages.
"I think the production of this issue of the Ensign and Liahona is timely," said Brother Johnson. "There has been a lot of attention lately in the news given to the Book of Mormon, and I'm excited to see something from the Church to counter some of the misinformation out there."
For example, the special issue features a side-by-side comparison of doctrinal passages from the Bible and Book of Mormon. It also features commonly asked questions about the Book of Mormon and corresponding answers. The format of the Ensign issue is similar to the Liahona,, with content oriented to adults, teens and children.
Features in the October 2011 Ensign and Liahona include:
First Presidency message by President Thomas S. Monson.
Visiting teaching message by Sister Julie B. Beck, general Relief Society president.
A new full-color Book of Mormon timeline.
Sheet music for a new Book of Mormon-themed song called "Two Thousand Stripling Warriors," with music by Janice Kapp Perry and lyrics by Bonnie Hart Murray.
Tips on using mobile devices for scripture study.
President Ezra Taft Benson's classic address — "The Book of Mormon: Keystone of Our Religion."
A new Book of Mormon-themed Mormon ad.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve wrote a special section that gives helpful insight and tips about how to study the Book of Mormon. It features quotes by prophets, study aids and apostolic insight. "Our desire is for this issue to be a stepping-stone for people to actually open the Book of Mormon itself and rededicate themselves to it," said Jenifer Greenwood, assistant managing editor of the Liahona. "It's wonderful to talk about the Book of Mormon, to read about the Book of Mormon and to learn things about the Book of Mormon, but it is studying the Book of Mormon itself that facilitates conversion, that gets people closer to God."
The special-edition Ensign and Liahona will be available for purchase Oct. 1 at Church distribution centers. A digital version will be available online at LDS.org on Sept. 20. Subscribers will receive their monthly issues as usual.