Among the many things that could be shared about yesterday’s powerful training meeting about the new Church Handbook, I’m surprised that nobody else seems to be mentioning the great story President Monson shared about his work as an Apostle in East Germany in the 1970’s. Hilarious.
The government of East Germany would not allow Church materials to be taken into the country. So I was asked by President Spencer W. Kimball to memorize the new edition of what we then called the General Handbook of Instructions, to cross the border into East Germany, and then to type the handbook for the faithful Church leaders there. Although it would have been impossible for anyone to actually memorize the entire book, I did study it thoroughly and learned the concepts from cover to cover. I traveled to East Germany and asked the Church leaders there for an office, a typewriter, and a ream of paper. I commenced typing.
An hour or two—and many pages—later, I stood up to stretch, glanced around the room, and noticed on a bookshelf behind me a copy of the new edition of the General Handbook of Instructions in the German language. Someone had obviously smuggled it across the border. Since that time, I’ve been rather knowledgeable concerning the contents of that book.
UPDATE: Hello, Mormon Times readers! If you liked this story, you should check out The Autobiography of Thomas S. Monson.