October 20, 2011

Falling In Love With The Scriptures by Wendy Oswald

 (I asked my neighbor and new friend Wendy to write a post for me covering 
her lesson at our recent Super Saturday.
 She was nice enough to oblige me. You can fine her blog {Here}.)

I was asked to write my class down for a friend that has a blog. So after a partial clean up, I am at home to see if I can remember what I said twice today. :)

I have been thinking about this topic for two months. I decided to ask my husband about it, I like to get his opinion on things sometimes. He went in a totally different direction than I was thinking. And the more I thought about it, the more I knew he was right. So I will give a brief overview of what I was thinking to begin with and then share some of his thoughts with my new direction.

When we read scriptures, it is good to know:

    Who - is "talking" and who is being addressed
    Where -  they are
    What - is being said and what is going on.

Knowing these things is helpful to keep track of the story.

My husband got me thinking about the Why. And then I went to the General Relief Society Broadcast and listened to President Uchtdorf. One on his 5 'forget nots' was forget not the why. And I knew that was what I needed to focus on.

Why do we read the scriptures? (This a discussion part. Feel free to add items to the list.)
  1. It is a commandment.
  2. To learn about Heavenly Father and Jesus.
  3. To invite the Holy Ghost into our day.
  4. Our homes are more peaceful when we do read
  5. To be an example to our children.
  6. To find answers.
  7. When we need comfort.
I loved Elder Scott's conference address from this past Conference (October 2011). He basically gave my assignment. Here are some of the "whys" he gave for reading the scriptures.
  1. "They are readily available.
  2. Inspired communication from the Holy Ghost - Pure Truth.
  3. Foundation of truth.
  4. Pondering a passage of scripture can be a key to unlock revelation.
  5. Calm an agitated soul.
  6. Heal emotional challenges.
  7. Accelerate physical healing -- I did not know this one.
  8. Blessed with an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord.
  9. Blessed with a greater resolve to obey.
  10. Blessed with a stronger testimony.
  11. Greater happiness, peace and attainment in this life."
Elder Scott also encouraged us to memorize scriptures. He shared some of his favorites.

It reminded me of my life. When I was a Merrie Miss in the Primary, we were encouraged to memorize the Articles of Faith. There was a scripture to memorize for each Article. The scripture that I remember from then is Amos 3:7 "For surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."

When I was senior in high school, someone I loved and trusted tried to destroy my testimony. This person had wandered from the Church and has lost their testimony. I spent a long night afraid that what I had believed all my life might be wrong. I was too afraid to pray. But my whole being was focused on this question. I believe this can be a form of prayer. I don't think I slept that night. When the dawn broke the scripture I had memorized six years earlier rang through my soul, and I knew that prophets spoke directly with God. That experience and answer are the bed rock of my testimony. When I am in turmoil, I can "cast [my] mind upon the night that [I] cried unto [him] in [my] heart, that [I] might know concerning the truth. . ." And I testify that he "[spoke] peace to [my] mind concerning the matter." (see D&C 6:22 - 23).

That scripture was definitely my friend that night, and in all my troubles since. Knowing that, I am a bit ashamed that I have not continued in my efforts to memorize scriptures. Elder Scott has encouraged me to begin again.

We are blessed to have the scriptures in our homes. It has not always been so. Elder Christofferson related the story of William Tyndale in his address in April 2010. He determined to translate the Bible into English. He had to hide in Germany to work on his translation. He was eventually found and imprisoned for 18 months in a dark, damp cell. Then he was executed. The prophets who wrote the scriptures were at times killed for their testimonies. The brave Reformers often were killed for their efforts to bring the scriptures to the common man. Today we are the beneficiaries of these brave and true men. We often have multiple copies of the scriptures in our homes.

So now the question is How do we read them.

The first time I read the Old Testament, I had just received my mission call. I wondered how I could be a missionary if I had not read the scriptures. So, in an attempt to be obedient, I read the Old Testament. For many years, I considered it as checked off my to do list.

Then I decided to read it again. The second time, I read it with the Institute Manual. These manuals are prepared by the Church education department. They offer testimonies and stories of modern prophets, explanations of ancient culture and vocabulary and insights to ancient geography.

I have found the more I read the Old Testament, the more I love it. And that can be said of every standard work.

I picked one of my favorite verses from four of the standard works to share.

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy path."  Proverbs 3:5 - 6

Just before His arrest and death, Jesus told his apostles: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth , give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."   John 14:27

After Moroni had been alone for a long time. He had already written what he thought was his last words in the book that would bear his father's name. He included two of his fathers personal letters. The entire world that he knew had fallen into wickedness. Mormon described briefly the depravity of the Lamanites and the worse state of the Nephites. He said, ". . . I cannot recommend them unto God lest he should smite me. But behold, my son, I recommend thee unto God, and I trust in Christ that thou wilt be saved." In that evil time, a righteous father raised a righteous son. Moroni 9: 21 - 22

Our lives are filled with things to do. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed that we feel like we are running in circles. Jesus told Joseph Smith, ". . . Stop, and stand still until I command thee, and I will provide means whereby thou mayest accomplish the thing which I have commanded thee." We need to make time where we can be still and quiet so we can hear Him. D&C 5: 34

The scriptures are a gift - from a God that loves us.
They are an invitation - for us to follow Him.
They are a map - for us to know the way.
They are love notes - from our Father who wants us to return to Him.

Let us open them, and read them, and love them.

The Book of Mormon Forum


Curls said...

Great stuff! This would make a good FHE. Thanks for posting it, and thanks to your friend for writing it.

Jocelyn Christensen said...

I really like this outline of Elder Scott's main points....calming an agitate soul...excellent!

mmbear said...

Stopping by from another blog hop (although late, but at least I did make it)!! I am now following your blog thru GFC and Facebook and would love a follow back when you get the chance. Thanks so much for your help and have a great day!