News Release

Hershey Kisses and the Book of Mormon

A man from Kosrae receives answers to prayers and a testimony of The Book of Mormon

Daniels in Kosrae 2023
Daniels in Kosrae 2023
© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Benkin Daniel lives on the small island of Kosrae in Micronesia. One day two missionaries showed up at his house.  They spoke very good Kosraen which surprised him.  The elders called him by name which also surprised him. He asked the elder’s how they knew his name.  They told him that a friend of his referred them to him.  He allowed them to come in and teach him.  They began teaching him about the Book of Mormon.  He shook his head at them and said that he did not believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or the Book of Mormon.  These missionaries were not discouraged by his comments.  They kept coming to his house to visit him.  (Sometimes, Benkin would tell his wife or children to tell the missionaries that he wasn’t home.) When the missionaries talked to him about baptism, he told them that he had been baptized a member of the Pentecostal church. He asked the missionaries a lot of questions.  He said that sometimes they didn’t have an answer to his question.  It impressed him that after they left his house, they prayed about it, and would return with the right answer on their next visit.  They asked him if he knew what the priesthood meant.  He told them that he did not know anything about it.  The missionaries taught Brother Daniel about the authority of the Priesthood.  He told them: “I need time to think about this.  I need to pray on my own to find out if this is true.”  And he did.  That night, after the elders had left and his family was asleep, he prayed to know the truth about the Priesthood. He remembers asking God to please give him something to let him know that it was true because it was very important to him to know.  He told the Lord that this was his life and if He truly loved him, he would help him.  He said that the tears rolled down his cheeks as he prayed. In the morning, he felt a desire to read the Bible.  He said: “Instead of reading it, I thought that I would just open it up one time and see where it landed!”  The scripture that laid open was Amos 3:7. It talked about how the Lord doesn’t do anything without first revealing it to his prophet.  He pondered on that verse quite a while.  It really touched him.  He was taught by the Spirit that there was only one church that has a prophet like this scripture said.  When the elder’s returned, he told them that he wanted to get baptized!  They couldn’t believe it and both in unison exclaimed: “What!”  He knew they heard him, but he repeated his desire to be baptized.  He said: “I was baptized in the Pentecostal church, but now I question whether they really had authority to do it.  I have learned that Priesthood authority is important.”  The elders were so happy!  They continued to teach him for a few weeks.  They taught him about the Word of Wisdom. He drank a lot, chewed tobacco and smoked marijuana.  He was even growing a small garden of marijuana on his property.  He tried hard to stop using these substances, but it was difficult.  During this time of trying to quit, a roll of chewing tobacco showed up in the mail.  He was really fighting not to use it again.  He was able to put it aside and when the elders came by, he showed them the unopened container!  He gave it to them to destroy.  The elders told him that they had been praying for him and asking the Lord to help him be strong to overcome his addictions.  It was made even harder when his friends would come over and use the substances in front of him.  He fought hard to be strong. He read the Book of Mormon and prayed like the elders had taught him.  The missionaries brought him some chocolate Hershey kisses.  They told him that every time he felt like chewing tobacco or smoking, to eat one of the kisses!  He was able to get baptized shortly after that time in 2014.  After he was baptized, he destroyed all the marijuana plants in his garden!  He had the opportunity to baptize his children and eventually his wife. 

Going to church made him feel happy.  The other members helped him to feel welcome and loved.  He could feel the love of God at church.  He enjoyed going with the elders to teach other people about the gospel.  Some of his friends were not happy with his decision to join the Church and turned their backs on him.  He didn’t let it bother him because he said: “I had given myself to God.”  He prayed for his friends and for himself.  One time, he remembers asking the elders to bring six or seven Books of Mormon with them.  His plan was to hand them out to different people on the island with the missionaries.  He made a list of people that he thought might be interested.  They handed out every one of the books! The last one was to a pastor of another religion.  He was nervous to give it to him.  The missionaries said: “Brother Daniel, don’t be scared with people who cannot kill your spirit!”  The pastor took the book, said thank you but no thanks, and walked away.  This seemed to be quite common.  The people would take the book to be polite but were not really interested in hearing about it.  He understood because this was the way he had been in the beginning as well.

His wife had told him earlier that if he joined the church, she would leave him.  He is very grateful that she chose to stay with him anyway.  Her heart was softened and changed one day when they didn’t have any food.  She didn’t know what to do or how they were going to feed their family.  Brother Daniel gathered his family together and they prayed asking God to help them with their needs.  Not long after the prayer, the elders showed up at their door with food for their family!  This really touched his wife’s heart and his as well.  The Lord had answered their prayer quickly because of their need.  They began reading the Book of Mormon as a family for family home evening.  Soon, his wife was baptized and became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They were a very active family for many years.  The missionaries have started to come to his home again and reminding him of how he felt all those years ago.  They come over and serve his family by helping out with jobs around the yard and other projects he is working on.  Brother Daniel said that he’d really like people to know about the Book of Mormon.  It is God’s word to us.  It talks about the plan of salvation.  He said that it’s really hard for the people in Kosrae to accept the Book of Mormon.  He explained: “How do you know what the food tastes like if you never try it?” He wants to encourage people to read the Book of Mormon, ‘taste it’, and pray about it.  He knows that priesthood authority is very important.  He knows that this is the Lord’s work and that it’s important to teach the word of God.

Elder Neil L. Anderson, October 2019:   “Lehi says: “I did…partake of the fruit;…it was most sweet, above all that I [had] ever…tasted…[And] it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy. This fruit was ‘[more] desirable [than any]other fruit.’ (1 Nephi 8:4-12). ” 

Daniels in Kosrae 2023
Daniels in Kosrae 2023
Sister Cyndi & Elder Kim Burtenshaw, Sister & Brother Daniel, Elder Joseph & Sister Carol-Lynne Hirschi at the time of the interview© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

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