March, 24, 2011

Sacrificing for Scriptures

Flump! I throw myself on the bed.  One midterm and two essays down. Glancing at my alarm clock, I start to calculate: 5 hours till I wake up. My nose peaks over the edge of the bed. It’s sitting there staring at me from the top of a pile of books. I’ll skip-just for tonight. I turn off the lights: I’ll read tomorrow night. A minute slips by. I guess I could read it tomorrow during dinner. Ten minutes slip by.  I could even read it tomorrow at lunch. Twenty minutes slip by. I could always read it at breakfast. Thirty minutes slip by. Or I could just read it now! I reach to the side of my bed to grab the Book of Mormon.

My mother always taught me to respect the scriptures: never throw them, put them on the floor, or ignore them – so many people have sacrificed so much for us to have them.

Growing up I’d heard stories about such sacrifices. John Wycliffe being declared a heretic for translating the New Testament. William Tyndale being burnt at the stake for publishing the Old and New Testaments. Caroline and Mary Elizabeth Rollins rescuing the Book of Commandments manuscript from mobs. And Joseph and Hyrum Smith dying for their testimonies of the Book of Mormon.

But there are also some that are less known: George Q. Cannon and Jonathan Napela consecrated over two years to translating the Book of Mormon into Hawaiian. Thomas Howard struggled for 3 years in pioneer Utah to produce paper for the printing of the Book of Mormon out of rags. George S. Reynolds worked on the first concordance of the scriptures for eighteen years: he even worked on it while he was incarcerated for his beliefs.

Sacrificing for the scriptures isn’t reserved for people born before 1830 though. Today there dozens of people who sacrifice everyday so that we can have the scriptures wherever we go: Gospel Library App workers.  Much of the work done to make Gospel Library Apps is done by volunteers. They have developed four free downloads: Mormon Channel, Gospel Library, LDS Tools and Scripture Mastery. These apps have literally touched the lives of thousands: they have been downloaded over 800,000 times since they were first released in 2009.

So as I finish reading the scriptures I carefully mark my place, glance at my alarm clock and start to calculate:  4 hours till wake up. My nose peaks over the edge of the bed as I carefully put my scriptures back down on the top of my pile of books. I couldn’t skip reading, not even for a night and I’m grateful.  After all, like my mother always told me, so many people sacrificed so much so I could have them.

—Anna Silver, Theater Education Major and Education in Zion Gallery Educator