To Comfort the Earth

Many times scriptural insights do not come with an initial reading, but later in some personal experience. I recall one spring day when I looked out of my window and felt nature beckoning me. I decided to leave the morning dishes in the sink, and went outside to plant a bed of petunias.

As I knelt down and placed both hands in the warm dirt, I remembered Enoch’s experience with the earth found in Moses 7:49: “And when Enoch heard the earth mourn, he wept, and cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, wilt thou not have compassion upon the earth?” Pondering those words, I realized that the earth had been cursed to help mankind work out his salvation, her soil bringing forth thorns and weeds, her beauty made barren. In many ways, she is dependent upon men for fulfillment.

This may be one motivation for beautifying our homes and yards—that our gardens might yield an increase and flowers lend their fragrance to the air, a balm of Gilead for the earth. Deanna D. Bean, Payson, Utah

My Own Scriptures

Recently while sitting in a church meeting a scripture came to my mind. I had forgotten my triple combination, so I asked the lady next to me if I could borrow hers for a moment. I remember how unfamiliar and strange her Book of Mormon felt in my hands—how the pages turned in a different rhythm and how I missed my own familiar markings and notations. I love my own worn cover, taped pages and children’s scribbles.

It hadn’t been too many years ago when the scriptures were merely books that pricked my conscience as I glanced at my shelf. But as a mother of nine children I found I needed more understanding than the world could offer—understanding and comfort found only in the scriptures.

Now, each time I read my sacred books, I think of the Savior’s words, “Feed my lambs. … Feed my sheep. … Feed my sheep,” (John 21:15–17) and I know it is I being fed by him. Carole R. Burr, Provo, Utah

Summer School in the Scriptures

Our eldest daughter, her husband, and their six children live in northern New York. To overcome the separation twenty-five hundred miles imposes on us, my husband and I decided to invite our grandchildren one at a time to spend part of their summer with us.

One fall, after saying goodbye to our number three grandchild, Christopher, we felt concerned about the quality of our influence on his life. Surely we had filled his days with fun activities, but had we touched him spiritually?

The next summer when nine-year-old Sally arrived, we had a plan ready. My husband, as a boy, had learned the names of all the books in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. This, we decided, was to be one of his projects with Sally. One of my assignments was to help her read and memorize favorite passages of scriptures. One passage became our favorite: Paul, in counseling young Timothy, stated, “I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also” (2 Tim. 1:5).

At the end of our time together, we presented Sally with a leather Bible, a book she had come to love and now knew a great deal about. This summer plan has become a set pattern for our other grandchildren who have visited us. Not all have achieved their goals, but all have left with a greater love of the scriptures and memories of spiritual experiences with their grandparents. Edythe K. Watson, Salt Lake City, Utah

Chapter upon Chapter

When I first decided to study the scriptures, I determined to go slowly and prayerfully so I could understand each verse and chapter as I went along. That may be a good system—only it didn’t work for me. No matter how much I prayed, I could not understand everything I was reading. I became discouraged and quit reading.

Then one day, embarrassed at not being able to say yes when asked if I had read the Book of Mormon, I decided I’d read it all the way through regardless of whether or not I understood everything.

It was wonderful! I read chapter upon chapter. My conscience did not bother me at all when I kept going, ignoring what I didn’t understand and enjoying what I did. Now I had an overview. I knew something about where important ideas and events could be found, and if I had a lesson to prepare I knew a few places to look for scriptures. It’s hard to explain the comfort and sense of “at-homeness” with the scriptures that came as I read them straight through.

Now, whether I’m studying a specific subject in several books or taking a class on another, I’m always reading one book of scripture chapter upon chapter. Dottie M. Packer, Provo, Utah