"I would like to discuss one of the most significant gifts to the world in modern times. The gift I am thinking of is more important than any of the inventions and technological revolutions. This is a gift of greater value to mankind than even the many wonderful advances we have seen in modern medicine. It is of greater worth to mankind than the development of flight or space travel. I speak of the gift of the Book of Mormon."
(Ezra Taft Benson, "The Keystone of Our Religion," Ensign, Jan. 1992, 2)
"Book of Mormon Stories," Children's Songbook, p. 118.
And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fullness of the gospel.
(Doctrine and Covenants 42:12)
Highlights from the Life of Ezra Taft Benson:
1988: Born in Whitney, Idaho
1907: Baptized in Logan, Utah
1921-23: Mission to Great Britain
1926: Received Bachelor's degree from BYU
1927: Received Master's degree from Iowa State University
1938: Became Stake President in Boise, Idaho
1943: Ordained an Apostle
1945-46: President of British and European Mission
1953-61: United States Secretary of Agriculture
1985: Becomes President of the Church
1988: Asks members to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon
1994: Dies in Salt Lake City (age 94)
(Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and William W. Slaughter, Prophets of the Latter- days, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003], p. 178-9.)
It was 1918, and a large crowd filled the Tabernacle in Logan, Utah. The benches on the main floor overflowed with over a hundred young Boy Scouts, all dressed in crisp uniforms dotted with the merit badges they had worked hard to earn. Each Scout had a yellow kerchief tied smartly around his neck. The balcony seats and window sills were packed with anxious parents and friends. But this was neither a court of honor nor a Scout jamboree. It was a boys' choir contest. Each member of the audience was pulling for their ward scout troop to bring home the honor of best young men's choir in the Cache Valley region.
At the start of the competition, lots were drawn for placement on the program, and the honor of singing last fell to the troop from Whitney, Idaho. This group of twenty-four lively young boys had a special reason for wanting to win: Ezra Taft Benson, their assistant Scoutmaster and choir director, had promised to take them on a thirty-five-mile hike from Cache Valley across the mountains to Bear Lake. . . if they came out on top.
When their turn on the program finally came, the boys from Whitney marched confidently up the aisle as the pianist played "Stars and Stripes Forever." Once in place, the eyes of every boy focused on Brother Benson, who had squeezed between two benches to direct the performance. The scouts sang their hearts out and soon hear their troop's name called out as the first place winner.
In an instant, the happy boys crowded around Brother Benson to remind him of the hike he had promised them. Of course he would take them. With approval from the parents, a prehike meeting was held. Food, camping gear, and clothing were planned, and the dates for the hike were set. Then one twelve-year-old Scout raised his hand: "Mr. Scoutmaster, I'd like to make a motion. Just to make it easier, we should all clip our hair off so we will not be bothered with combs and brushes on the trip." Everyone agreed, laughing to think what they all would look like with shaved heads.
Just before the hike, the troop paid a visit to the barber shop. When Brother Benson sat in the chair to get a trim, the barber spoke up. "If you'll let me shave your head, I'll cut the hair of the rest of your boys for nothing." The boys roared their approval. Brother Benson grinned and finally agreed.
Two days later, a bald Scoutmaster, with his bald assistants, led twenty-four hairless Scouts on an unforgettable ten-day hike to Bear Lake. The trip was glorious, filled with fishing, camping, hiking, swimming, and brotherhood.
(Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and William W. Slaughter, Prophets of the Latter- days, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003], p. 105.)
Obtain a number of picture depicting events from the Book of Mormon. If necessary, put a colored piece of paper behind each picture so the picture or description is not visible from the back and place in a plastic sheet protector. Place them face down on a table or floor.
Explain to your family that you have a number of pictures from the Book of Mormon and they need to guess the picture. Have a family member choose a picture. Have them hold it so no one can see what the image is. Have the rest of the children ask questions to figure out what the picture is. Use yes and no questions only. You might have to suggest some questions to get them started such as "Are there children in the picture?" "Is there water in the picture?" etc. Have the child holding the picture answer the questions (they can look to you for help if needed). Tell the family they have to guess what the picture is in 20 questions or less (after 20 questions, show them the picture).
After the picture has been revealed, call on a child to briefly retell the story the picture represents. Remind your family of President Benson's love for the Book of Mormon.
Ezra Taft Benson's Lemon Meringue Pie
Baked 9-inch pie shell
Grated rind from 2 lemons
3 cups sugar
2 heaping tablespoons flour
2 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
5 egg yolks, well beaten
4 cups water
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoons butter
5 egg whites
3 tablespoons sugar
In a large saucepan grate outside rind of 2 lemons; add sugar, flour, and cornstarch. Stir in beaten egg yolks, then water and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly till the mixture is thickened. Stir in butter. Pour into baked pie shell.
To make meringue, beat egg whites until foamy; stir in 3 tablespoons sugar and continue beating until stiff. Carefully spoon onto pie. Bake at 425 degrees to 450 degrees F. for 3 to 5 minutes, or until meringue is lightly browned. Source: Flora Amussen Benson, wife of President Ezra Taft Benson.
(Lion House Desserts, [Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate, 2000], p. 75.)