Have you ever set a scripture-study goal that sounded something like this? “From this day forward, I will study my scriptures for an hour every single day—and I will do it perfectly.”
If you have set that kind of goal, how did it go? Chances are, not very well. Trying to develop a new habit can be really challenging, especially because we often come up with unrealistic goals (like the one above) that we quickly get tired of or overwhelmed by.
To really make scripture study a habit, it’s best to start small. Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave a great suggestion: “Many young people spend an average of seven hours a day looking at TV, computer, and smartphone screens. … Will you replace some of that daily screen time—particularly that devoted to social media, the internet, gaming, or television—with reading the Book of Mormon? … Even if for only 10 minutes a day.” 1
We asked five youth to accept Elder Stevenson’s invitation. They tracked their daily screen time, and then they replaced 10 minutes of it with Book of Mormon study. Check out how it went—maybe they’ll inspire you to try it yourself!
“After keeping record of my time spent on social media for the first week, I was a little shocked at the amount of time I spent on my phone. It was definitely a good idea for me to use some of that time for the Book of Mormon, especially because diligently reading scriptures is not one of my strengths.
“Ironically, one of the first days I read my scriptures in the morning was a terrible day. However, I knew that reading scriptures would only improve my life, so I kept reading.
“I think the greatest impact from reading every day was that I felt much more in tune with the Spirit. I was able to make decisions much easier. I felt more love for the people around me and an increased desire to serve. When I read my scriptures in the morning, the day went so much better. When I read at night, I slept well. I would strongly recommend that everyone try this. What a difference it makes!”
Bryn C., 18, Utah, USA
“When I tracked my phone usage, I realized that I was on my phone the most on Sunday. I thought that was sad because that’s when I should be trying to get closer to my Savior—but instead, I had been staring at my screen.
“As I started reading my scriptures, I would read the 10 minutes every night before I went to bed, which for me was just about a chapter a night. As I did this, I noticed that I was able to fall asleep much easier. I also found myself making better decisions throughout the week, and I overall just felt better about myself.
“I am grateful that I was able to receive this invitation, and I plan to continue to read for 10 minutes a day and say my nightly prayers.”
Ryan E., 16, Alabama, USA
“I didn’t really think I was on social media that much until I was asked to track my usage, and that’s when I realized how much of my life social media was consuming.
“As soon as I started really focusing on reading the scriptures every day, I felt such an eagerness to read the Book of Mormon, and I wanted to learn from it. As I read for 10 minutes each day, I became more and more invested in the stories. About halfway through I decided that, before I read, I would pray that I would find answers to my questions, and without fail I received those answers through the Holy Ghost.
“I know that God speaks to us through the scriptures and that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. It can truly bless our lives through fervent and prayerful study. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to participate in this, and I invite everyone to do the same. It was a life-changing experience.”
Sydney B., 16, Arizona, USA
“Before I tracked the time I spent, I thought it was going to be really hard to take time out and read the scriptures—but after realizing how much time I spent on social media, taking 10 minutes out of that felt super easy! I could read at lunch or right before seminary started.
“After I had read the scriptures, I was a lot more aware of what I looked at on social media. If I stumbled across something bad, with bad language or a negative message, I noticed it and tried to avoid it way more than before. I also noticed that my prayers were a lot more sincere and that I was receiving more answers to them. This is definitely something that I hope to continue for a lot longer!”
Izzie J., 16, California, USA
“Even though I forgot to read a few times, overall it was a success. I realized that before I started Elder Stevenson’s invitation, I was really only reading about 3 minutes each night, and by increasing my reading to 10 minutes each night, I saw a difference in my life. When I read, I feel more in tune with the Spirit and I can feel the blessings of spiritual protection every day. The same way that it can be hard to start reading after not reading the scriptures for a while, once I started the habit of reading, I couldn’t stop.
“I noticed that for me, when I read the scriptures right before bed, I normally fell asleep or didn’t get as much out of my reading. It worked best to read either in the morning or after school.
“I had a blast doing this and would challenge everyone to try it.”
Rachel A., 15, Colorado, USA