The work of translating of the Book of Mormon began on April 7, 1829, and was finished later that summer on June 30. An annual Facebook event is encouraging members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to read the book in that same amount of time.
The Facebook event, known as "The Book of Mormon Translation Challenge," is a byproduct of the personal scripture study of Russell Simon, a Mormon seminary teacher from Riverton, Utah.
Simon said in an interview with the Deseret News that his study of LDS Church history prompted him to create the rigorous study plan 10 years ago. After examining the history of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and their monumental undertaking in translating the Book of Mormon, Simon wondered if he could read the book as fast as they were able to translate it.
"I had an amazing experience!" said Simon, who completely finished reading the book that summer a decade ago. "There are definitely gems to be found by a slow and careful study of the Book of Mormon. But I also found that there are divine patterns and themes that I was able to discover with a quick-paced study."
The following year, Simon invited his wife and family to join him in the challenge. Each year, he began inviting more people to join him in his study, eventually leading to the creation of a Facebook fan page at facebook.com/BookOfMormonTranslationChallenge in March 2012.
"I felt that if I could expand the exposure of the challenge, then I could increase the impact that the Book of Mormon could have for good in the world and the lives of each reader," Simon said.
Starting April 7, those who choose to follow Simon's highly structured study plan will finish reading the Book of Mormon by June 30.
Printable copies of the reading schedule, which generally consists of reading several chapters per day, can be found online at bookofmormontranslationchallenge.wordpress.com.
In past years, study tips, schedule reminders and LDS-themed pictures have been posted each day of the challenge on the event's Facebook page as a way to keep participants up-to-date with their reading. Readers are also encouraged to post their testimonies online once they finish the book.
Currently, more than 1,500 Facebook users have accepted Simon's invitation to take part in the event.
"I expect that anyone who prayerfully and sincerely studies the Book of Mormon as part of 'The Book of Mormon Translation Challenge' will feel the blessings promised by prophets of God," Simon said. "They will have an increased measure of the Spirit of the Lord, they will have greater power to resist temptation, and they will know for themselves that it is true scripture from our loving Heavenly Father."