The Scriptures

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from a BYU Devotional by William H. Baker

In addition to learning from the temple and from the Ensign, we need daily scripture study. Just as helium slowly escapes from an inflated balloon, allowing it to shrink and fall after a few days, so do we slowly lose the power and memory of the scriptures without daily reading. President Gordon B. Hinckley has said:

I hope that for you [studying the scriptures] will become something far more enjoyable than a duty; that, rather, it will become a love affair with the word of God. I promise you that as you read, your minds will be enlightened and your spirits will be lifted. [“The Light Within You” - April 1995 Gen. Conf.]

In August 2005 President Gordon B. Hinckley asked all of us to reread the Book of Mormon by the end of that year. He promised us “an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God” (“A Testimony Vibrant and True,” Ensign, August 2005, 6). Faithful Saints from all over the world responded to the call.

Regarding this challenge, a member of my BYU stake shared the following special experience with me. To the best of my recollection, he said:

I was flying back from a trip to the Far East. It was the middle of the night, and most of the passengers were asleep. I, however, had my reading light on and was reading the Book of Mormon so I could finish by the end of the year as the prophet had asked.

Suddenly I was interrupted by a flight attendant who was walking down the aisle. She whispered, “Where are you?”

I responded, “I’m in Helaman.”

She replied, “I’m in Ether.” Then she said, “Turn around and look.” I turned and looked toward the back of the plane and saw several other reading lights on. She whispered, “All reading the Book of Mormon.”

Although our lives are filled with countless demands and distractions, I think we all learned from our prophet that we can find the time to study the scriptures if we are determined enough, each in our own way and place and time. He has told us the what; individually we work out the how.

In addition to giving spiritual strength, the scriptures contain counsel to help address life’s practical challenges. Some years ago I served as a branch president at the Missionary Training Center. I often told the missionaries that the scriptures could help them solve all their missionary challenges.

One Sunday, in priesthood meeting, we listed on the chalkboard several typical missionary challenges. Then I assigned small groups of elders to look up scriptures to address each of the challenges. After a few minutes I asked them to report their findings. One group had tackled the problem of dealing with girlfriends back home. The verse they found to solve the problem came from John 2:4: “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.”

"Knowing, Doing, and Being" - July 25, 2006 BYU Devotional