The Book of Mormon’s birthday is this Saturday March 26! To celebrate its birthday, I’m sharing stories about its truthfulness. I’ve shared some stories over here, and today I’m sharing two stories that relate to each other.
The first story is called “One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure” by Andrej Bozhenov. He served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in St. Petersburg Russia. After working to find people and teach the gospel on a hot summer day, he and his companion returned home. Imagine their surprise when they got a phone call the next day from someone they had never met. The person on the other end asked if they wanted their book returned. Someone had found the copy of the Book of Mormon they had given to someone else the day before. They had written their testimonies on the inside cover with their contact information. That someone was a man named Ilya. Ilya told them words every missionary wants to hear, “I would like to learn more about this book and your church,” he said. “May I meet with you?” They gladly taught Ilya, then Ilya decided to get baptized.
The day before, the missionaries had given the copy of the Book of Mormon to an elderly man, who then discarded it to the ground. Ilya found it and was ready to receive its truth. As the author of the story says, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
It reminds me of the true story that was turned into a short movie, “How Rare a Possession.” The main character, Vincenzo di Francesca, found a copy of the Book of Mormon without a cover or a title page, on top of a barrel full of ashes, in an alleyway in NYC. As a minister in a Christian church, he eagerly digested the words in the Book of Mormon without knowing the name of the book.
He decided to pray to know if this book came from God. This is the answer he got:
“I felt my body become cold as the wind from the sea. Then my heart began to palpitate, and a feeling of gladness, as of finding something precious and extraordinary, bore consolation to my soul and left me with a joy that human language cannot find words to describe. I had received the assurance that God had answered my prayer and that the book was of greatest benefit to me and to all who would listen to its words.” (from “I Will Not Burn the Book!” found here.)
He taught his congregation from it, mixing its words with the words of the four gospels. Eventually, he found the Church and was baptized. Watch it below and read the full story here. It’s so wonderful!