I'm joining the "Book of Mormon challenge." And no, watching the musical doesn't count.

book-of-mormonI decided this afternoon, on the spur of the moment, to read the Book of Mormon again. It's been a while since I delved into the whole thing -- at least three years, truth be told -- and I've been idly wondering for some time how I might get back into regular scripture study.

But something has held me back, and this afternoon I remembered what it was: Oh, yeah. I hate reading alone.

One thing I learned with both Flunking Sainthood and The Twible is that individual spiritual growth is important and all very well, but at least for me, the chief bailiff of Extrovertville, it takes a village.

Yes, pathetically enough, I need an entire freakin' village to keep me on the spiritual straight and narrow. I'm just not spiritually tough and monastic and John Wayneish.

Well, today I found a potential village. I joined a Facebook group to read the Book of Mormon together, a chapter a day, for 239 days. I'm already a week behind it seems, so I've got to get cracking on 1 Nephi.

Affirmation, the gay Mormon support group that is sponsoring the read-fest, is encouraging people to read the chapters, pray, and share our thoughts online if we want to. According to the Salt Lake Tribune,

This is not the place to debate LDS history or to discuss the Book of Mormon text, organizers says, "from a scholarly, apologetic or critical point of view."

"Our approach is studying it for spiritual and personal growth," Affirmation President Randall Thacker writes in an email, "versus ‘Is the book true?’ ’’

My hope is that many different kinds of people will want to do this -- gay or straight, Liahona or Iron Rod -- whether they join up publicly or read quietly on their own. (Introverts tend to do that sort of thing, just go off in a corner and think deep thoughts alone. Weird, huh?)

And who knows? Maybe you'll join me too. There's a lot that my Mormon blog readers disagree about, but surely reading the Book of Mormon isn't one of them. From time to time I'll be sharing my thoughts on what I'm reading over the next eight months or so . . . both the sublime and the disturbing.