In 2024, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will engage in a year of studying the Book of Mormon for the second time since the launch of the “Come, Follow Me” curriculum.
The 2024 manuals will be different from that first experience, in 2020, as the Church moves away from separate manuals for the home, Sunday School, Primary and youth classes. Instead of having four manuals for those groups, one unified manual has been published and distributed to individuals and families around the world.
Sunday School General President Mark L. Pace said, “‘Come, Follow Me’ has the goal of creating individual, personal spiritual experiences.”
Having that type of experience requires individuals to make a habit of studying the scriptures, President Pace said.
“It is not sufficient to have the scriptures,” he said. “We must use them.”
Parents, leaders and teachers of Sunday School, Primary and youth classes can see how to use the new manuals in their callings by watching four short videos in a series called “2024 Teacher and Leader Training” on the Church’s website. The series of four videos features examples of how individuals, families and classes can make the most of the new manual. Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson and President Pace provide instruction to help members of ward councils.
‘Come, Follow Me’ as a spiritual multitool
Mike Madsen, a product manager for the Church, said the effort to simplify from four manuals to one gave his team a chance to review the previous manuals and create something that could be useful by all Church members in any setting.
“We took the four manuals …, and we combined the best ideas from all of them. And if you compare each of these new manuals to what we used to have, we feel it is an improvement in each case.”
The previous method meant the Church was providing a home, Primary, Sunday School and youth manual for 71 languages across four years, for a total of 1,136 different printed manuals. The new method will drastically reduce the number of manuals that need to be maintained, while creating a new, stronger tool that meets the needs of the growing Church.
“It simplifies as well as strengthens home-centered, Church-supported learning of the word of God,” Madsen said.
One of the ways the new manual aims to help improve the teaching and learning experience is with the number and style of images provided with each week’s lesson. It will include both full-color images and line drawings to help in individual, family and Church class settings.
The increase in images is meant to help those who are visual learners.
Each outline also includes a hymn or song from the Children’s Songbook that teaches about one of the principles from that lesson.
He also said the new manual will be eventually translated to more languages. While the previous set was translated into 71 languages, the new version is scheduled to be translated into 94 languages within a few years.
The manual is designed to be used easily by parents and teachers across nearly all age groups.
“We wrote every activity in such a way that it can be done by any individual studying at home on their own or by a teacher or parent teaching a class or their family,” Madsen said.
Lessons now include the following sections and features:
- Summary of the scriptures for that week’s lesson.
- “Ideas for Learning at Home and at Church.”
- “Ideas for Teaching Children.”
- A blue scripture icon to help parents and teachers identify content that may be ideal to study with youth.
- Full-color images.
- Line drawings.
For parents of small children, the new manual includes more activities than the previous version used in the home.
“No one should feel obligated to read every activity in ‘Come, Follow Me.’ The suggestions are intended to invite Church members to have a daily worship experience, and ‘Come, Follow Me’ is just a tool to assist with that,” Madsen said.
Developing strength to break through shells
President Pace said he has raised many chickens in his life. He said he still enjoys watching the miracle of baby chicks hatching from their eggs.
He explained that the chicks have to crack the shell and hatch on their own in order to build strength in their young bodies. If an outside force — like an impatient chicken farmer — attempts to help the baby chick by breaking the egg for them, the baby chick stands little chance of having the strength it needs to survive.
“Faith, diligence and patience have no alternative for our emergence from our spiritual shells,” he said.
Parents can give their children many things, but a testimony is not one of those things, President Pace said. However, they can teach correct doctrine and create an atmosphere where the Holy Ghost can testify.
As children and youth read the scriptures and pray, the Holy Ghost will speak peace to their souls and confirm the truthfulness of Heavenly Father and His plan of salvation, he said.
“Conversion is our goal,” President Pace said. Then, reading from the introduction of the new manual, he continued, “‘True conversion requires the influence of the Holy Ghost.’ As we read the scriptures and pray, we invite the companionship of the Holy Ghost.”
For those just getting started
The adjustment to “Come, Follow Me” and a home-centered curriculum has been harder for some individuals and families than others. For those who may be looking at 2024 as a fresh start or a blank slate, Madsen said they should not feel like they are starting from behind.
“Starting with the Book of Mormon, starting new, you don’t need to feel left behind. … You can do this, and we have got resources that will help.”
Madsen said the Church has never had so many resources available to members to help in their study of the Book of Mormon.
“I would say that the key to any success, whether you are an individual or a family, is consistency with studying,” Madsen said. “Get into a pattern of reading your scriptures daily and keep it.”
Parents and teachers can use resources like the Book of Mormon Videos, the illustrated Book of Mormon Stories, Book of Mormon app, Gospel Library app, Gospel Living app, Liahona magazine, For the Strength of Youth magazine and the Friend magazine to help them study, he said. For those who wish to have additional copies of the new manual, they can be purchased at store.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
The Home section of the Gospel Library app will have a new card that helps members easily get to the current “Come, Follow Me” weekly outline and scripture chapters. The app also offers widgets and Book of Mormon study plans that help members track their study progress. App users can set up notification reminders to help them create and maintain momentum in their studies.