The owner of the gym where I work out has become a friend with my husband and me. He shared with me a dream he had about what “hell” was like. He said it was not fire and brimstone but total darkness. He felt that “hell” was the absence of God. I told him he was absolutely right. And we spoke about our beliefs in generalities. Now, he has returned from a trip to Guatemala. He shared with me that even before he got off the boat he felt as though he had “come home”. He feels a connection to the land and the people. I have felt prompted to share a Book of Mormon with him. When I have tried to do this in the past with others, the gift of the Book of Mormon has been rejected by those I have offered it to. I don’t want to mess it up this time. Can you help me find a way to approach him or what I should say as I give him these scriptures? I have prayed to have the words come to me, but so far I’ve not been able to form what I should say.
Karen, from Seeley Lake, Montana
There are two things that you might do. One, put a little dedication in the Book of Mormon in order to personalize it as a gift, e.g., “to John, with kindest regards, Karen,” or some such thing. Then you can tell him that the book is the religious history of the aboriginal Guatemalan inhabitants.
Two, you might consider giving him also another book, called the Popol Vuh. I understand that the Spanish language version is now available in English. This book is the legendary religious history of the Quiché Indians, who lived in Guatemala and who were decimated by the Spaniards when they invaded Guatemala in the early 1500s. This is a fascinating account, written by a prince of the Quiché, who after his capture wrote the book in the Quiché language using the Roman alphabet. It was later translated into Spanish by Adrián Recinos and published in 1947.
The book begins with an account of the creation by the Mother and Father God, the Progenitors. It speaks of a Redeemer God, except in this narration the Redeemers are twin boys, engendered by a drop of saliva that fell into the hand of a virgin from a sacred skull located in a tree. The twin boys passed all the mental and physical tests to which they were submitted. They then allowed themselves to be put to death by having their heads cut off and thrown in a river. The boys ran down the river, collected their heads, put them back on, then went into the underworld, where they battle the evil forces. The book also talks about the Quiché people coming from the east, “from the other side of the sea,” and includes “a narration of their obscurity.”
Giving the two books would appear less like a proselyting effort ro which some people object.