Since mid-July in 1986, more than 11,600 missionaries have read the Book of Mormon while at the Missionary Training Center here.
Missionaries have been urged to read the Book of Mormon in response to President Ezra Taft Benson's continuing emphasis on the book, said Pres. George D. Durrant.His wife, Marilyn Durrant, has particularly encouraged missionaries in this project. As an incentive, she's listed in calligraphic writing the names of all the missionaries completing the book while at the center. The list now takes up 183 pages, each of which contains some 66 names.
Sister Durrant calculates that an average reader can finish the book in a reading time of about 24 hours. Considering the heavy schedule of training at the center, however, most missionaries must push themselves to finish the book during their three-week to three-month training.
Only about a third of the missionaries finish the book. But those who don't finish it are also touched by its message. She said one missionary's response was typical of many: "I began reading the book to get on the list, but I got too interested in it. I had to slow down and start thinking about it," he wrote. "I don't think I will be on your list, but I am getting the book `in me.'
"We have had a lot of interesting experiences," continued Sister Durrant. "One older sister told me this was the first time she'd read the Book of Mormon."
The list of names is on display at the center, along with an outline of the challenge to incoming missionaries to read the book, she said.