Land of a thousand Books of Mormon

During my mission (1971-73) I worked briefly in Jyväskylä as a district leader during Pres. Nelson's time. We were used to distributing the Finnish Book of Mormon in a big way, typically 75-85 copies per companionship per week (to which any of Pres. Nelson's missionaries will testify!).

Twenty years later on, and now as Finland's Consul in the State of Arizona, my wife and I were hosting two Finnish gentlemen, one from Korppo Island and the other from Jyväskylä, while they were visiting Phoenix as a follow-up to a large project we were involved with on the island of Curacao. I was fairly well acquainted with the one from Korppo, but not the other.

As we were travelling around town in my car, the man from Jyväskylä spoke up all of a sudden and mentioned that prior to coming to Arizona, he checked me out and heard that we were Mormons and wanted to know if I had ever served a mission and if so, was it in Finland and if so, was it in Jyväskylä.

I answered, yes, yes and yes. And then he replied that the reason he suspected so was that he remembered about 20 years ago meeting a couple of American missionaries at his doorstep who left him with a copy of the Finnish Book of Mormon. The book was signed by vanhin Smith and dated the same time I was working in Jyväskylä.

So 20 years later on we meet again in my own car in Phoenix, Arizona to once again discuss the Book of Mormon!

The instructions of President Nelson taught many years ago suddenly came back to me. He told us that in our diligence in placing the Book of Mormon, probably the majority of the Finns would never throw it away, but at least place it on their bookshelves, perhaps to be looked at again years later on. During his years, several hundred thousand copies were placed all over Finland and I like to think they're still there.

Contributed by Frank R. Smith

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