As a missionary in the Washington D.C. North Mission (including the D.C. temple Visitors’ Center), one of the best times of the year is the Festival of Lights. In the month of December, thousands of people come to visit the Visitors’ Center to see the lights and crèches, go to a concert, and watch the nativity. It was missionary heaven! All of these people were coming to us, and we got to share the gospel with them!
One night, I walked up to a woman visiting the event, and as I held out my hand with the Book of Mormon, and asked if she had heard of it, she gave me a disgusted look and said, “Sorry, I have already been saved.”
So I’m usually a nice person, but something snapped in me and with my voice raised and holding the Book of Mormon up higher, I said, “Don’t you think that the Man who saved you would want you to know more about Him?” Time awkwardly stood still as we stared at each other. After a long 30 seconds, she slowly nodded her head and walked away from me.
I have thought a lot about that experience since. I really do believe that the Man who saved us does want us to know more about Him.
Elder Maxwell has said, “Only by searching the scriptures, not using them occasionally as a quote book, can we begin to understand the implications as well as the declarations of the gospel…. One cannot have adequate faith in a Christ whom he does not adequately know.” (Neal A. Maxwell “Called and Prepared From the Foundation of the World” General Conference, Ensign, May 1986, pg 34.)
One of the best ways to learn more about our Savior is through reading the scriptures.
If You’re Not Perfect, Welcome to the Club!
We know that studying the scriptures daily is something that we should do, but do you ever feel like President Nelson describes below?
“We should never make reading the Book of Mormon seem like an onerous duty, like the gulping of nasty medicine to be swallowed quickly and then checked off with finality.” (Russell M. Nelson, “Strengthen the Shepherds” Address given at the General Conference Leadership Meetings, Sept. 28, 2016).
Perhaps the biggest obstacle is finding the time in our day to do it, but this quote from Elder Scott is a huge reminder to me about my priorities:
“Don’t yield to Satan’s lie that you don’t have time to study the scriptures. Choose to take time to study them. Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!” (Elder Richard G. Scott, “Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority” October 2014 General Conference)
Likewise, consider this more recent counsel from Elder Stevenson:
“I recently learned that many young people spend an average of seven hours a day looking at TV, computer, and smartphone screens. With this in mind, would you make a small change? Will you replace some of that daily screen time—particularly that devoted to social media, the internet, gaming, or television—with reading the Book of Mormon? If the studies I referred to are accurate, you could easily find time for daily study of the Book of Mormon even if for only 10 minutes a day. And you can study in a way that allows you to enjoy it and understand it—either on your device or in book form.” (Elder Gary E. Stevenson “Look to the Book, Look to the Lord” October 2016 General Conference.)
Let’s figure out how you can make scripture study easy and a part of your daily life.
How to Make the Most of Your Scripture Study
Here are some things that have worked for me:
- Study at the same time every day. Mornings are hard for me, and nights get busy, so I like to study my scriptures right after lunch. That’s nap/quiet time for my kids, so it works well for me. What’s the best time for you?
- Don’t feel like you need to wait to study until your kids are asleep. I feel like it is important for our children to see us studying the scriptures! (Plus it feels more doable for me to be able to do it during the day.)
- Pray before you start. Sometimes in my prayer, I tell Heavenly Father how much time that I have to study, and ask Him to help me be focused.
- Say a prayer of gratitude after. I ask that I will be able to remember the doctrine and stories that I read.
- Use a scripture journal and study guides. I feel accountable when I have to write something down, and it’s great to go back and reference. And I have been loving this study guide. Also, Institute and seminary manuals are AMAZING. You can find them on lds.org and also on the gospel library app. You can also look up different versions of the Bible to give you a different perspective on different or more difficult verses.
- Change up the things that you study! Topics, storylines, people (my husband and I have studied a different person every night for a while in the index on gospel library). Get creative! My husband once studied all of the “bad guys” of the Book of Mormon. Studying Christ’s life chronologically through the gospels is great if you haven’t done that yet, too.
- Listen to words of the prophets on your phone. Podcasts, Mormon Channel, Conference talks, are all available on different apps.
- Study the scriptures that talk about the Savior. Recently, President Nelson has encouraged us to study every scripture about the Savior written in the standard works. A daunting task, but doable! “How can you increase in your discipleship? I have an invitation that will help — an assignment, actually — if you choose to accept it. Commence tonight to consecrate a portion of your time each week to studying everything Jesus said and did. … This may seem like a large assignment. But I encourage you to accept it. If you proceed to learn all you can about Jesus Christ, I promise you that your love for him, and for God’s laws, will grow beyond what you currently imagine.” (President Nelson CES fireside “Prophets, Leadership, and Divine Law”)
- I also like to study something different everyday. This schedule has helped keep my scripture study fresh so that I don’t get tired of studying just one thing. It has also helped me to be prepared to participate in the lessons on Sunday:
Our lives are busy, but I really do believe that it is the small decisions that we make everyday that make the biggest difference.
Elder David A. Bednar said it well: “Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results.” (“More Diligent and Concerned at Home” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 19–20).
I know that it is important for us to take the time out of our busy schedules for the Savior. When we get to know the Man who saved us, we will ultimately become more like Him.
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