Making Life a Bliss Complete

Honest and heartfelt stories and lessons about home, family, love, faith, and personal growth.

I Wrote A Book!

Update: Here is the link to my book! It is available as a paperback, hardback, and Kindle e-book. The e-book is exactly the same as the printed copy, but you will need a pen and paper to answer the reflection questions.

Amazon.com: Likening the Book of Mormon War Chapters to Your Life: A Study Journal: 9798863509884: Al-Bjaly, Mandy: Books

And here is a cute video I made: https://youtu.be/k-9OBKOnZxE

Nearly 11 years ago, I began teaching a Book of Mormon class for young mothers. I learned and grew as a person through studying the scriptures more thoroughly and sharing thoughts with the women in my class. My favorite chapters to teach were what latter-day saints call the war chapters (Alma 43-62). This really surprised me for two reasons: I had never liked Captain Moroni (the main hero of these chapters), and I had never really related to those chapters before, thinking they were boring and had nothing to do with my life! How wrong I was. I realized for the first time that these chapters can be likened to the spiritual wars in each of our lives. I wished I had known and understood that when I was a youth.      

And then, I had an idea. It was more like a call from God, really. My oldest son, Casey, was a preteen at the time, and I felt so strongly that I needed to write a book for him and other young people to help them become valiant servants of the Lord.                  

So, almost eight years ago, I began researching and writing a book about the war chapters of the Book of Mormon.  I knew I wanted to tell every story and highlight every hero and villain. I started with all my notes from teaching my class and went from there. It was a difficult process — I remember I had probably 100 pages of notes that I had to then organize and fashion into book form.                                                

Now, my fourth child was a baby during this time, so life was crazy, and it took me a very long time to finish my first draft (more than four years actually). I sent it out to friends and family who were willing to read it. I didn’t end up with much feedback because people were busy with their lives, but I was especially grateful for the comments from my cousin, Brooke. Her words gave me confidence when I needed it most.

She said, “I loved it. Since I’m not Mormon, it was very informative and I learned a lot about it. It was simple and to the point but very detailed. I understood what you were saying and I know minimal about that religion. Everything flowed together. So for me, it was great. I don’t know how you found time to write it, but I’m proud of you.”                                                                                     

In early 2021, I was going to submit my manuscript to Cedar Fort Publishing, but I was shocked to find out that this publisher required more words than I had written. How was I going to get enough words? Well, at the time, my family had just started reading about the prophet Mormon as he led the Nephites through their final battles before they were destroyed by the Lamanites. One night, I saw something I had never seen before: those chapters coincided perfectly with the war chapters. I then knew what I had to do to make my book long enough. I truly felt God’s hand helping me know what to write and how —and my book became long enough to submit it to the publisher.

I ended up sending my manuscript to two publishers that spring, but sadly, neither one of them accepted it for publication. I felt so defeated. There are so few latter-day saint publishers anyway, and not all of them were accepting self-help, nonfiction, religious books. So, for a time, I gave up.  Then in early 2023, I tried again. I found another publisher and submitted my manuscript. Well, this publisher didn’t accept it either. I was just beside myself with confusion and disappointment because I knew with all of my heart that God inspired me to write this book, and He had given me so much help along the way. I didn’t know what else to do except give up again.            

Well, God gave me a good break (I’m thankful because I had a little baby at the time), before giving me a clear spiritual nudge last October that I needed to try again. A couple of friends had recently spoken to me about self-publishing, so that was my answer. Before I took that huge step, though, I asked for help from friends and family to read and edit my book. I got some feedback, but not as much as I would like (people are so busy, so it’s understandable).  After waiting as long as I could, I asked for help again in February, this time with an incentive. I was finally blessed to get the help I really needed.

The past several months have been filled with more hours than I can count getting my book ready to be published, from setting everything up on Kindle Direct Publishing, to updating the manuscript with people’s edits, to working with a dear friend on cover art, to fixing major formatting issues and adding headers and footers, to adding important things like a copyright page, table of contents, acknowledgements, and about the author sections. By far, the formatting was the most frustrating, especially when paired with the headers and footers. I can’t tell you how many times I spent hours on one little thing. What you see in Word is not the same thing you will see once you upload the document to KDP, so yeah, there were many tears of frustration along with the little victories.

Last week I felt that I should go through all my scripture references to make sure they were accurate. I didn’t want to (there are tons), but I did. I’m glad because there were a few mistakes. And then, I read the entire book. I had hoped not to have to do that, but when I was going through my references, I found a super random paragraph in one of my chapters that made no sense. Since nobody had caught it (totally understandable since the book is so meaty), I went ahead and read the book from start to finish, which was super helpful. I found a couple redundant reflection questions, fixed some flow issues, and even added a few new things that I thought of as I was reading.

It has been a long but very fulfilling time (especially the last three months), and I am so incredibly grateful for all the friends who selflessly helped and encouraged me to finally get this book out to the public.

I received the author proof of my paperback version today, and it was really emotional for me. Here are some photos, as well as a video with some sneak peaks!

https://youtu.be/HA3Pfl8FrnI

 

 

 

For more information about my book, here is the description:

You know about Captain Moroni, Helaman, and the stripling warriors already, but there is so much more to the war chapters of the Book of Mormon. In Likening the Book of Mormon War Chapters to Your Life: A Study Journal, you will learn the stories of all the heroes, the villains, and even the deceived. You will be able to study the entire 14 years of the war in detail (Alma 43-Alma 62) while answering profound questions and taking heartfelt notes to help you apply these chapters to your life. You will also have a handy timeline of the entire war at your fingertips. That alone would be amazing, but that’s not all!  As you study this book, you will dive into much deeper messages like overcoming fear, the seriousness of oaths and covenants, the pitfalls of flattery, anger versus righteous indignation, and so much more. You will even be able to compare and contrast the war chapters to the final battles of the Book of Mormon, led by the prophet Mormon! These deeper messages and analyses will change your perspectives and increase your faith.  Let your study of the war chapters of the Book of Mormon help you better fight your own spiritual battles and wear the whole armor of God!

You can purchase Likening the Book of Mormon War Chapters to Your Life on Amazon starting June 1, 2024. I don’t have the link yet. I will post it when I do (here and on social media). If you have friends or family that you think would love this book, please tell them about it. I would be so grateful.

I really appreciate all the love and encouragement. I truly hope that everyone who reads it loves it.

Thank you for sharing!

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