And upon these I write the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.
Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord ; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard. (2 Nephi 4:15-16)
The scriptures are awesome, but it’s sometimes hard to feel awesome about reading them
Most of us have experienced moments where the scriptures have come alive
Elder Neal A Maxwell:
“For my part, Brothers and Sisters, I am glad the book [of Mormon] will be with us ‘as long as the earth shall stand.’ I need and want additional time. For me, the Book of Mormon is like a vast mansion with gardens, towers, courtyards, and wings. My tour of it has never been completed. Some rooms I have yet to enter, and there are more felicitous fireplaces waiting to warm me. Even the rooms I have glimpsed contained further furnishings and rich detail yet to be savored. There are panels inlaid with incredible insights, and design and décor dating from eden. There are even sumptuous banquet tables painstakingly prepared by predecessors which await all of us. Yet we as church members sometimes behave like hurried tourists, scarcely venturing beyond the entry hall. May we come to feel as a whole people beckoned beyond the entry hall. May we go inside, far enough to hear clearly the whispered truths from those who have slumbered, which whisperings will awaken in us individually, a life of discipleship as never before. “
Neal A. Maxwell, The Great Answer to the Great Question, FARMS audio cassette, Deseret Book.
What do I need to do to feel that strong influence of the Spirit every time I read?
- The bad news: you won’t feel that every time you read.
- The good news: you can experience it a whole lot more than you do now—even more often than not.
President James E. Faust:
“Sister Celia Cruz Ayala of the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission decided to give the Book of Mormon to a friend. She wrapped it in attractive paper and set out to deliver her present.On the way she was attacked by a bandit who stole her purse and with it the wrapped copy of the Book of Mormon. A few days later she received this letter:
“’Forgive me, forgive me. You will never know how sorry I am for attacking you. But because of it, my life has changed and will continue to change. That book [the Book of Mormon] has helped me in my life. The dream of that man of God has shaken me. … I am returning your five pesos for I can’t spend them. I want you to know that you seemed to have a radiance about you. That light seemed to stop me [from harming you, so] I ran away instead.
I want you to know that you will see me again, but when you do, you won’t recognize me, for I will be your brother. … Here, where I live, I have to find the Lord and go to the church you belong to.
The message you wrote in that book brought tears to my eyes. Since Wednesday night I have not been able to stop reading it. I have prayed and asked God to forgive me, [and] I ask you to forgive me. … I thought your wrapped gift was something I could sell. [Instead,] it has made me want to make my life over. Forgive me, forgive me, I beg you.
Your absent friend.
Such is the conversion power of the Book of Mormon.”
James E. Faust, Ensign July 2002
If the scriptures have power to soften the heart of a hardened criminal, how much more power they must have to change the heart of those who actually want to be touched and changed by them.
Gordon B. Hinckley:
“Take advantage of every opportunity to enlarge your understanding of the gospel.”
Gordon B. Hinckley, “Tithing: An Opportunity to Prove Our Faithfulness,” Ensign, May 1982, 40
Getting up the Motivation
- Promise yourself and God that you’ll read every day for the rest of your life
Now you are only working on your attitude toward what is inevitable. Humans are phenomenal at making the best of situations they are forced to be in. We have a powerful built in need and ability to adapt and make seemingly negative situations positive. That’s why you need to make that commitment first. You can’t get out of it, so now you can work on making the best of it.
- Slow down
- Make Scripture Study “Me Time”
- Positive reinforcement
- Develop a love of learning
Ed J. Pinegar:
As a leader of young missionaries for four years I had struggled with the question of motivation. I had searched the scriptures, used reasoning and logic, and had pleaded with my Heavenly Father for more insight. I felt that in order to get to the heart of productivity in missionaries and to offer them a key to the conversion process, I needed the answer to the question: What is the beginning—the stepping off place—of righteous desire?
I felt that if I could get a handle on that, if I could get to the very seeds of desiring righteousness, I could help missionaries and investigators to know how to begin.
At 4:00am on December 25, 1988, I was awakened by a direct response from the heavens to my four-year search. Apparently Heavenly Father had some growing for me to do and so had allowed me to pursue the answer to my question and to struggle for all those months. But at that time, as he always does, he began to provide the reward for the price I had been paying in this pursuit. This time the answer wasn’t found in a witness of the Spirit to a passage of scripture or in the words of a modern Prophet. It was one of those occasions when the Spirit communicated directly and tangibly to another spirit through no medium but himself. He impressed a comprehension indelibly on my mind and in my heart. I got up immediately and wrote it down: “Recognizing the goodness of God puts the knowledge that He loves us into our hearts. That great moment then produces the fruit of gratitude and righteous behavior can be the result. Therefore, gratitude is the beginning of all righteous desire.”
Richard G. Scott:
Scriptures can calm an agitated soul, giving peace, hope, and a restoration of confidence in one’s ability to overcome the challenges of life. They have potent power to heal emotional challenges when there is faith in the Savior. They can accelerate physical healing.
Scriptures can communicate different meanings at different times in our life, according to our needs. A scripture that we may have read many times can take on nuances of meaning that are refreshing and insightful when we face a new challenge in life.
Ensign Nov 2011
M Russell Ballard:
Some years ago one of my missionaries came to see me. He said: “President, I am losing my testimony. I have some questions that no one will answer for me. My bishop and stake president just told me to forget them, and they had no answers.”
I asked for his questions in writing and then suggested he come to see me in 10 days, and I would answer every one of his questions.
As he was leaving my office, I was prompted to ask him, “Elder, how long has it been since you have read from the scriptures?”
He acknowledged that it had been a long time.
I said: “You have given me an assignment; it’s only fair that I give you one. You read at least one hour from the scriptures each day until you come back for your answers.”
He agreed to do this.
When he came back, I was ready. He said: “President, I don’t need the answers. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet. I’m OK now.”
I replied: “You will get your answers anyway. I worked hard on them!” All of this anti-Mormon stuff was what we were dealing with.
After our discussion I asked him, “Elder, what have you learned from all of this?”
And he gave me a very significant response: “I’ve learned to give the Lord equal time!”
“Follow the Doctrine and Gospel of Christ,” CES Fireside for Young Adults, November 7, 2010 • Brigham Young University
Neal A. Maxwell:
In the revelations, the Lord speaks of how the voice of His spirit will be felt in our minds. He also says that if we read His words—meaning the scriptures—we will hear His voice. Many disciples have had private moments of pondering and reading the scriptures when the words came through in a clear, clarion way. We know Who it is who’s speaking to us! We’ve all had the experience of going over a scripture many times without having it register. Then, all of a sudden, we’re ready to receive it! We hear the voice of the Lord through His words.
Neal A. Maxwell, “Becoming a Disciple,” Ensign, June 1996, 12
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Chas Hathaway is the author of the books Scripture Study Made Awesome, Marriage is Ordained of God, but WHO Came Up with Dating? and Giraffe Tracks. Learn more at chashathaway.com. Please participate in the conversation by adding comments and sharing with friends on the web!
Gospel Living Made Awesome is not an official work of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If Chas says something stupid, it's his own fault.