Our beloved prophet has recently asked us to read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year. As I have accepted this invitation, I have found myself discovering new and exciting things in this book even though I have read it many times before. For instance, I rediscovered 2 Nephi 4:15 [2 Ne. 4:15], which reads, “For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.”
This scripture teaches us how to read the Book of Mormon. It mentions three important ideas.
First, “My soul delighteth.” I love this phrase! I have thought about hungering and thirsting after knowledge as I read the scriptures, but delighting in them is something else. I find that what I take away from the scriptures is determined by what I bring. Each time I read them, I am, in a sense, bringing a new person with new eyes to the experience. Where I am in my life, the experiences I am having, and my attitude all affect how much I will gain. I love the scriptures. I treasure the truths I find as I read them. Joy fills my heart as I receive encouragement, direction, comfort, strength, and answers to my needs. Life looks brighter, and the way opens before me. I am reassured of my Heavenly Father’s love and concern for me every time I read. Surely this is a delight to me. As one little boy in a Sunbeam class put it, “I feel happy about the scriptures!”
Second, “My heart pondereth them.” How I love to carry the scriptures with me in my heart! The spirit of what I have read rests there to bring me peace and comfort. The knowledge I have gained gives me guidance and direction. I have the confidence born out of obedience.
Sometimes I have the luxury of immersing myself in the scriptures. Sometimes I read them in snatches. However, it doesn’t seem to matter where or when I read the scriptures; I can still carry them in my heart. I have found that by reading them in the morning I am able to carry the influence of the Spirit with me throughout the day. When I read them midday, it is usually because a need has taken me there where I am able to find answers and directions that influence my decisions and actions. When I read them at night, the sweet, comforting messages from the Lord linger in my subconscious mind as I rest. Many times I awaken at night with ideas or thoughts that originate from the words I read just before drifting off to sleep. My mind may go many places during the day, but my heart securely embraces the words of the Lord found in the scriptures and “pondereth them.”
Through this I have learned that “as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). As I ponder the scriptures, something happens to me. I have a stronger desire to live close to my Heavenly Father. I long to serve Him. I want to live the principles that I learn in the scriptures, and as I do, my heart “writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.”
I, of course, do not write scriptures as did Nephi, but when I read the scriptures and live the principles learned, those scriptures become written in my life. They govern my actions and are written there for my children to see and follow. I can build a legacy, a tradition of righteous living, based on the principles I learn in the scriptures.
Doctrine and Covenants 93:39–40 [D&C 93:39–40] teaches: “And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.
“But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.”
By reading the scriptures, I can be assured that I will know the “light and truth” that will bless me and my family. As I know what to do, I can work to bring my actions—my “traditions”—into line with what I know. Then my example will not lead my children astray but rather will lead them to the scriptures and to the truth that is found there.
I love the Primary song that teaches:
Search, ponder, and pray
Are the things that I must do.
The Spirit will guide, and, deep inside,
I’ll know the scriptures are true.1
I find that if I pray not only to have a witness of the truthfulness of the scriptures but also to have the Spirit with me as I read, my sensitivity is heightened, and I see ever so much more clearly. I can see where I am in my life and where my Heavenly Father wants me to be. I can understand principles of truth, and I can see how to make the needed changes in my life. I can feel assured that the Lord will help and strengthen me to accomplish the task. Thus the scriptures become written in my life.
When we read the scriptures we are hearing the voice of the Savior. He is not absent from our lives. He is actively positioned in the verses of these holy books. Our prophet has asked us to draw closer to the Savior by reading the Book of Mormon.
And what of our children? How blessed is the child whose parents base their lives on the teachings in the scriptures! There is absolutely nothing more important we can do for our families than to strengthen them in the scriptures. Parents, call your families together to read the scriptures, and work to make it possible in your busy family schedules. Children, respond quickly and happily when you are called to scripture study.
President Gordon B. Hinckley gave us an invitation, but he also gave us promises if we choose to accept. He promised “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.”2
One of my daughters, who is in a wonderful place in her life where her greatest blessings are her greatest challenges (she has three small children), said to me: “Mom, I am doing it. I am reading the Book of Mormon. And I am holding on to those wonderful promises. They are exactly what I need in my life right now.”
Are these blessings what you need in your life? They are ours for the taking. As individuals, let us pledge to follow the prophet. As families, let us claim our blessings. President Hinckley, we love you, we have heard your voice, and we will follow.
May I bear my testimony that I know that Heavenly Father lives and loves us. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that the scriptures are true. They are the word of God. I know that Gordon B. Hinckley is our prophet today. I know that as we follow him, we receive great blessings from our Father in Heaven. I am so grateful for this witness. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.