John, or Jack as he is known to friends, was born to goodly parents in Las Vegas, NV. When he was twelve years old, he found a book giving life sketches of each of the major characters of the Book of Mormon. Since that day, he has been determined to understand as much as possible from the Book of Mormon and the truth it contains. Jack currently teaches Seminary in St. George, UT, with the support and companionship of his wonderful wife, three little boys, and his dog, Charlemagne.
John graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University with coursework divided between family studies and ancient languages. This background has assisted him in creating modern application from ancient religious writings and presenting those application to students of a variety of ages. He is currently on track to receiving a master’s degree from Southern Utah University.
What is one book everyone should read?
This question is an easy one for 4 authors that are publishing a book called, “Teaching the Book of Mormon”. I think all of us genuinely feel that the Book of Mormon is easily the most influential book to come forth in the last 1000 years–and beyond that it is in the top two of all time with the bible! In fact, if you check out the introduction to our new book, you can read all about why we think this to be the case. It changes lives.
If you were a superhero what would your name be?
Probably, Teancum’s Javelin–TJ for short.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
If you’ve ever had to teach a gospel lesson (in a classroom, at home, in seminary, from a pulpit, etc.), then our book will interest you. Over an over we hear the admonition from chuch leaders to “teach from the scriptures”. Our book helps people do just that. Whether you are trying to teach specific chapters from the Book of Mormon, or just trying to use the Book of Mormon to teach a topic like faith or prophets, then our book is for you.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I think we’ve all thought about it, but we are holding our tongues to see what happens.
What inspired you to want to become a writer?
For me personally, there wasn’t a moment when I thought “I will be a writer!”. We are ordinary guys, and I think we just feel like if we have something to offer to fellow teachers, why not offer it? This book has been a great medium for that.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
This will reveal my “church-nerd” nature, but I actually mention this in my author bio a little. When I was about 9 or 10 our family had a copy of “Book of Mormon Timeline” by Pat Bagley. It was basically a summary of events and biographies of major figures in the Book of Mormon in a way kids could understand. It had little illustrations on every page, and I loved looking at those and reading the descriptions over and over again. In fact, I remember that was the first time I marked my scriptures personally, because I read the bio on Captain Moroni and wanted to find his actual speech in Alma. Books can be powerful influences for good. I guess that’s the kind of effect we want to have on someone–lead them deeper into the Book of Mormon itself.
What is your favorite Quote?
As for religious quotes, President Henry B. Erying once taught, “If you have felt the influence of the Holy Ghost today, you may take it as evidence that the atonement is working in your life.” Isn’t that great? That’s why all the things we do to ‘feel the spirit’ are so critical.
If we are talking non-religious quotes, then Longfellow always comes to mind. One of my favorites is, “The heights by great men reached and kept / Were not attained by sudden flight, / But they, while their companions slept, / Were toiling upward in the night.”
Who are your favorite authors of all time?
I’m an old-school reader myself; Kipling, Tennyson, Longfellow, and Irving generally top my list.
How do you react to a bad review?
I’ve probably already thought the same thing! I think all the authors with me feel that honest opinions are necessary for a work to achieve quality. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17).
You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?
A copy of our book! Just kidding. I would make sure my family was cared for and out of debt. Then I would build a huge personal library with lots of leather-bound books…and a shelf-ladder… and a big globe.
What is the last thing you bought?
To be honest, it was books. There is no doubt about it, I am a bibliophile. I love having all kinds of books around. My most recent purchase was the Mishnah in a bilingual Hebrew/English edition. As many of your readers know, owning books can become a bit of an addiction. A wonderfully edifying and educating addiction.
Craziest thing you ever ate?
Cow feet soup. No comment.
What makes your book standout from the crowd?
We think what we have produced is pretty unique out there. There are lots of works on how to study the Book of Mormon, but not many on how to teach it. That our focus: Getting the great messages from the Book of Mormon into the hearts of others. We also think the format is pretty unique. It is designed to be an “all-in-one” resource. On one page you have the scriptural text, lesson ideas, supplemental quotes, activities, and room for notes. If there is something else like it out there, we haven’t seen it.
Describe your book in 5 words
Uplifting. Useful. Compact. Facilitating. Enjoyable.
Write a Haiku about your book
Ha ha, this question seems challenging so I’ll take it. Here goes,
The Book of Mormon
Has valuable lessons
we help you teach them
This or That
Answer a few or all of them…
TV or Movies? Movies
Hot or Cold? Hot
Night owl, or early bird? Night owl
Print or Ebook? Print
City or Country? Country
Gum or Breath Mints? Mints
Spontaneity or Planning Ahead? Spontaneity
Introvert or Extrovert? There’s time for both.
Teaching the Book of Mormon is full of powerful teaching ideas to change lives. Helpful components include creative object lessons, group activities, discussion questions and more to build an influential atmosphere of learning and interaction. With this all-inclusive resource, parents and teachers will engage their children, their seminary students, or their Sunday School class in powerful learning. It contains creative & powerful lesson ideas and a place for personal notes and the scripture text all in a glance to make putting together a powerful lesson a snap.
A little about the authors: John Bushman, Reed Romney, John Manis, and Curt Wakefield have been teaching the scriptures for many years to youth and young adults. In this book they are sharing dozens of years of great ideas.