I received a question on my FB page from reader Deanna last night. She says this:
"Hi! I came across your blog last night and I'm so glad I did. My husband was born and raised in the Church and I am a convert. We had fallen away for about a year, and are just now starting to bring ourselves back to the Church in hopes to be sealed together [in the temple], etc. I have a difficult time studying/reading the Book of Mormon. Do you have any tips that may help me? I would greatly appreciate it, and I really enjoy reading your blog."
First of all, I want to say, "Good for you, Deanna!" There is no nobler goal than that of being sealed in the temple to your spouse and forming an eternal family. (I can see that your family will soon be growing too! Congratulations!)
I have to confess that I am not the fastest reader in the galaxy. I would much rather listen to someone lecture than read the exact same things, because I enjoy hearing their inflection, and I guess I'm just a people person. Reading, to me, is sort of a lonely sport. For instance, I can't hold a conversation with someone and read at the same time, so I suppose that might be my issue! :)
Anyway, just off the top of my head. This is what I would suggest to you, and to anyone else who wants to grow spiritually, but is having a hard time developing a love for scripture study.
First: PRAY for guidance. Ask the Lord to tell you through the Holy Ghost what method will bring YOU the most success in your desire to gain a love for the scriptures. (I'm assuming you've already done this.)
Also pray every time you read. Before. During. After. And remember that The Book of Mormon has a built in promise that if you pray about it, you will know of its truthfulness. You can do this more than once! :) (And there are many more promises that you can read about in the link above.)
Second: If you are finding it hard to read your scriptures, my first suggestion is to READ THE WORDS OF MODERN DAY PROPHETS. Look up talks from recent General Conferences which talk about scriptures...and in your case, talk about temples, families, sealing, testimony, and returning to activity. (Click here to study by topic.)
Read one talk a day and then scroll down to the bottom and look up EVERY scripture referenced in the talk. Keep a journal and record your thoughts about what you read every day. It might help to write out your favorite verses in your journal or to READ ALOUD to keep you focused.
Third: I love the Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual. You can access it online, but get yourself a hard copy if you can and start studying it. I firmly believe that everyone needs to GAIN A TESTIMONY OF THE BASICS. If I were you, I'd start by studying every concept taught in this manual. Again, read EVERY scripture referenced in each lesson.
3.5: Select scriptures to MEMORIZE - Click here for a manageable list of Book of Mormon verses from A-Z. Your daily study could consist of just memorizing a scripture. Post your favorite verses in places you can see them (and ponder them) throughout the day. But don't just read them off the paper, look them up in your scriptures!
Fourth: I never really became passionate about reading my scriptures until I read it because I REALLY wanted to know and understand its message...like my life depended on it.
When I was in college, I read The Book of Mormon at the beginning of each study session, and I would often find myself studying my scriptures well into the time I should have been studying Portuguese (can you blame me?).
What had changed? My desire. Make sure that you are hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Perhaps if you trained yourself to read a few verses of scripture EVERY time you wanted to watch TV, you'd start to RETRAIN YOUR DESIRES.
Fifth: READ IT LIKE A NOVEL. When I challenged myself to read the Book of Mormon in 30 Days, I found myself having to read 20-30 pages a day (depending on how far behind I got!) Instead of getting bogged down in the "And it came to passes," I blew through stories rather quickly. I might not have caught every intricate piece of doctrine, but I started to get a better feel for the storylines and personalities in that book, which I didn't internalize as easily when I was reading only a few verses at a time.
Sixth: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TECHNOLOGY. We live during a time when reading is not your only option for obtaining the word of the Lord.
I listen to the scriptures sometimes in the car, and almost always have General Conference playing while I clean the kitchen. We aren't like Tangled...living in a tower, with hours a day at our disposal to read, and bake, and play puzzles...but you can do yourself and your family a favor by choosing uplifting music and listening to scriptures and making those the permanent soundtrack for your home!
Technology can help us to absorb good messages all the time if we use it correctly. (Click here for links to different scripture formats.) And if you do read your scriptures online, it makes reading footnotes and cross-references much easier.
Seventh: USE A SCRIPTURE-MARKING TUTORIAL like the ones at The Red Headed Hostess to bring a fresh perspective to the way that you study.
Ultimately, what will relight the fire of your testimony is the influence of the Holy Ghost, which you will be most open to as you spend time in the scriptures every day! Even if you only read a few scriptures each time, open your book and JUST DO IT! :)
So those are the suggestions that immediately came to mind, that have helped me to gain a love of the scriptures. Now, I'm going to go take a dose of my own medicine.
Do you have any suggestions to add to this list? Please speak up and add your thoughts below. I am sure that we will all appreciate it!