Monday, June 1, 2009

Why do I read these books?

This past year, my calling (or responsibility) in my church has been to work with all of the seminary classes for our local congregations. (A seminary class is a class of high school students who gather once a week (for home-study) or every morning to study the scriptures together with a teacher.) You do not have to be a member to attend and a few of our students this year weren't... which is great!

I attended early morning seminary when I was in high school. This is very common in areas outside of UT and places where there are not a significant amount of students attending one school. I continue to be in awe of these high school student who make it a priority to be at class by 6 AM so they can study together for 45 minutes before heading off to school. If that's not truly admirable, I don't know what is!

This past Sunday was seminary graduation for the seniors. My big planning event for my calling! I rec'd so much help and support from the youth, teachers and others that my job was really not that hard. However, the one thing I was not too excited about was having to speak! I don't mind speaking in front of others if I am only telling them instructions, etc... but this talk required picking a topic, studying it, writing it and presenting coherent thoughts... which is not a talent I am blessed with!

After a lot of thought, I decided to choose the topic of WHY? WHY do we study these books of scripture? WHY do you get up at 5 in the morning to read together as a group? WHY is it important to study and ponder the words and not just simply read for pleasure. WHY are the scriptures important in our EVERY day life? We have a lot of things that can fill our time quite nicely... WHY is scripture study ESSENTIAL. Well, I was REALLY impressed with what I found as I did my research. This information has always been before my eyes, but I never bulleted it out until I wrote the talk:

So, WHY:
The title page of the Book of Mormon states scriptures are:
1. Written by way of commandment, … by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation
2. Come forth by the gift and power of God,” and its interpretation is “by the gift of God”—by the Holy Ghost.
3. Shows “what great things the Lord [has] done” and has given to us “that [we] may know the covenants of the Lord,” that we might not be “cast off forever.”
4. To convince us “that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God.”

Then, moving on, the Introduction states:
1. It contains “the fullness of the everlasting gospel
2. Outlines the plan of salvation
3. Tells [us] what [we] must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.
4. Promises each of us that “all who will come unto [the Savior] and obey the laws and ordinances of his gospel may be saved.

SWEET!!! That's what I want!

We read in 1 Ne that Lehi found what the scriptures teach every one of us as we read, study and ponder

1. Who we are
2. What we can become.
3. Prophecies for us and for our posterity.
4. The commandments, laws, ordinances, and covenants we must live by to obtain eternal life.
5. And how we must live in order to endure to the end and return to our Heavenly Father with honor!! :)

As we learned this year studying in the NT, the Savior taught from the scriptures. If HE was reading them why should I even question the importance of reading them! For example: after His Resurrection, on the road to Emmaus, His disciples “said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” To His disciples then and to us now, His words proclaim: “Search the scriptures; for ... they are they which testify of me”—a testimony borne by the Holy Ghost, for “by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”

There are two words I love associating with scripture study. The first is found in Doctrine and Covenants 19:23 Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me. ---
Peace--- what a wonderful word. It is not something that is felt often in a turbulent world, but we have been promised that we can feel peace in the rest of the Lord. I have felt a great deal of peace as I’ve read my scriptures.

The other word I like to associate with the scriptures is POWER. Sir Francis Bacon is the individual attributed to stating “Knowledge is Power”. But, I think it’s even more appropriate to say Scripture Knowledge is Power.

There is a cute song for kids called "Scripture Power". The refrain goes...
Scripture power keeps me safe from sin.
Scripture power is the power to win.
Scripture power! Ev’ryday I need
The power that I get each time I read.

This is WHY I read these books!!

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