Photographing Mission Scriptures for Personal History

Latter-Day Saint missionaries are allowed a few resources for scripture study. They include the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and hymnals. For my husband who served a foreign speaking mission, his scriptures and hymnal were in Mandarin Chinese.

My husband wrote about his time in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah for his personal history. The story includes learning Mandarin Chinese. He was one of a small few who learned but did go to an Asian country. He was going up north to Canada! He still gets strange looks about that combination. However, the missionaries who served in this area and the people who lived there, know exactly why the language missionaries were needed.

The first photograph shows the stack of books to emphasize which books were appropriate to read on his mission. In the coming weeks, I will share other resources he could use to assist him in making sense of what these books contain and for assistance in teaching potential members.

Interior of scriptures written in Mandarin Chinese

This second photo focuses on the act of reading. With an open book, you can see what the scriptures my husband read looked like. I can not read Mandarin, so I’m not sure which page this is. However, this photo invites you to imagine a young man studying and preaching in a different language.

Another view of the scriptures surrounded by other reading material

This third photograph simply changes the perspective. Although the second photo zooms in on the writing, this last one captures the collection of items and the opened page. By changing the orientation of the camera, the photo drew the elements together. This one is my personal favorite of the last two photos.

As I mentioned before, I’m working on my husband’s missionary scrapbook. He has provided me with a lot of wonderful photos and the stories behind the photos. Combined with these artifact photos, I look forward to telling his story to inspire his children.

Heritage scrapbooking is not only about people who have long passed or are in the sunset of their lives. Heritage scrapbooking is also about the legacy we live our posterity. Many religions invite their members to do mission work. If you have participated in a mission, consider photographing the souvenirs you brought back from the adventure. Then combine the photos in a slide show or scrapbook to inspire your children and grandchildren.

FYI: The set up for these photographs was near an open window using soft natural light. The ‘seamless’ backdrop was still a bit more wrinkled than I had hoped. I used a white foam board to bounce light back onto the artifacts. 

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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