A New Approach to Scripture Study: Day 3

Family Scripture Study

Family Scripture Study

Tab flat1. Discuss something that one of the family members learned in their personal scripture study.

Tab flat2. Look at the other lists, choose a method, and modify it to work for family scripture study.

Tab flat3. With every verse you read, discuss how the scripture applies to our time, our families, and our individual lives.

Studying with Young Children

Tab flat1. Perform the scriptures – act out the stories with your children.

Tab flat2. Have stuffed animals (each with its own unique voice) do the reading.

Tab flat3. Read it like a melodrama – have the kids BOOO! or YAY! depending on what’s happening in the scripture story you are reading.

Tab flat4. After reading a scripture story, have each child draw what happened in the story. Put the pictures in their scripture journals or in a family journal.

Tab flat5. Get dolls and action figures to act out what happens in the scriptures. If it is a sermon chapter, have the animal act like the one who is speaking.

Tab flat6. Have the kids draw what they hear as you read out loud.

Scripture quote of the day:

James E. Faust:

In the future, infrequent family scripture study may be inadequate to arm our children with the virtue necessary to withstand the moral decay of the environment in which they will live. Where in the world will the children learn chastity, integrity, honesty, and basic human decency if not at home? These values will, of course, be reinforced at church, but parental teaching is more constant.

James E. Faust, “A Thousand Threads of Love,” Ensign, Oct 2005, 2–7

Suggested Talk: Reading His Words Together

A New Approach to Scripture Study: Day 2

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Questions and Answers

Tab1. Come up with a gospel or life question and then dig through the scriptures and the words of living prophets for the answer.  Whether you find the answer or not, you will learn something by searching.  If you have trouble coming up with a question to ask, start reading somewhere to get an idea.

Tab2. With your scriptures in front of you, say a quiet prayer and ask Heavenly Father a question. Then open the scriptures at random, and see if the first verse that your eyes rest on contains the answer.  If not, keep reading until you do find an answer.  Once you find the answer, pray and ask more questions, closing and opening the scriptures again to a new place.

Tab3. Think of a simple question that you already know the answer to, and write it down with your answer.  Then prove your answer by finding specific verses that teach that truth in the scriptures. If necessary, turn to the words of modern day prophets.  If it’s too hard to find, ask yourself why you believe it to be true, and make a note to yourself to be on the lookout for a scriptural or prophetic answer to the question.  Then try a simpler question.
If this is too easy the first time, try a harder question until you find one that challenges you so you can search for the answer.

Tab4. Choose a place in the scriptures to read (or pick up where you left off) and begin reading the verse very slowly, searching for questions that the verse holds the answer to.  Write the question above the verse, or write the question and verse in your study journal.

Tab5. Look for questions written in the scriptures, such as “can ye feel so now?” or, “Believe ye that I am able to do this?” and ponder the answer you would give for yourself.

Scripture quote of the day:

David A. Bednar:

“The Prophet Joseph Smith provided an important guideline about pondering and reflecting upon the scriptures. He taught: ‘I have a key by which I understand the scriptures. I enquire, what was the question which drew out the answer, or caused Jesus to utter the parable?’ (History of the Church, 5:261). Thus, striving to understand the question that preceded a particular revelation, parable, or episode can assist us in obtaining a deeper understanding of the scriptures”

(“Because We Have Them before Our Eyes,” New Era, Apr. 2006, 6).

Suggested talk: Getting the Most Out of Your Scripture Study

A New Approach to Scripture Study: Day 1

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Basic Methods

1. Love Notes. Just open the scriptures and read the first verse you see. Consider it a love note from Heavenly Father.
2. Just read! This works great for chronic readers. Just start at the beginning and go through verse by verse. There is power in the chronology of the scriptures. Make a schedule for yourself. Set some goals.
3. Do a read, ponder, and pray cycle. Begin reading slowly, carefully pondering what you read, and pray briefly every thirty seconds or so, seeking better understanding and ways to liken the verses to your life. Ponder what you feel. Read more, ponder, and pray. Continue this cycle for the duration of your study.
4. Listen to the scriptures on CD or on the Internet. You can listen to all of the scriptures online or download them to your hand-held device at http://lds.org/audio

Scripture quote of the day:

Joseph B Wirthlin:

Every one of you can read something in the scriptures each day. You should spend some time pondering and studying the scriptures. It is better to read and ponder even one verse than none at all. I challenge each young man to read something in the scriptures every day for the rest of your lives. Few things you do will bring you greater dividends.

Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Growing into the Priesthood,” Ensign, Nov 1999, 38

Suggested talk: Treasuring Up the Scriptures in My Mind

One Week of Scripture Study Ideas!

TabI love the scriptures. They mean so much to me. I know they are true, and I have discovered what a comfort and guidance they can be in my life.

TabIf you are like me, you occasionally struggle getting the motivation to study. If this is the case, try looking at the method you are using for study. Is it effective? Does it keep your attention? Does your method make the scriptures alive for you?

TabIf not, maybe you need a new method.

TabI have long felt that the method we use to study the scriptures is not nearly so important as the fact that we DO READ them. I have found that using a variety of methods at different times has helped me to read my scriptures every day. I don’t want to brag, but I can honestly say it’s been years since I’ve missed a day. I attribute that in part to using various methods that have kept the scriptures fresh to me. As a result, I’ve developed quite a collection of scripture study methods.

TabI’m going to do something unique this week. For one week (Tuesday to Tuesday), I’ll post a new list of scripture study methods that I have found have worked for me at some time.

TabIf you’re scripture study method works, stick with it! But if you’re running dry or lagging, here are a few ideas.

In Eden’s Garden: an Original Hymn

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In Eden’s Garden

I’ve never considered myself much of a poet, but once in a while I get the urge to try it out.  Did you know you can submit original hymns to the Church?  I wrote music for it, too, but I don’t know what I ever did with that music.  Maybe I’ll write a new tune for it someday.

Anyway, here’s one of my original hymns:

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In Eden’s Garden

In Eden’s luscious garden green,
where fruit and flow’rs grew wild and free,
God’s holy presence could be seen
beginning mankind’s destiny.

Though all was good, and life was fair,
and all things lived just as they would,
our parents Continue reading In Eden’s Garden: an Original Hymn

Homecoming – The Meaning Behind the Music

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Homecoming: The Meaning Behind the Music

Homecoming is one of the piano solo pieces from my Dayspring CD.

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How comforting the light of the gospel is in the face of something as shocking as death!  Testimony, born of faith, adds a spiritual element to the otherwise abstract complexities of life.

That testimony is a real and powerful confidence that becomes indisputable in the heart of those that embrace it, and it is a real and life-sustaining thing.  This mortal life is but a moment.  After death we continue life as we had previously known it, before it was crudely interrupted by this frightening but essential phase of existence.

To those with such faith, death is not a thing to be feared at all.  In fact, death is more of a reunion than a separation.  The partings that come with death are only very temporary, and when all is said and done, this mortal life will seem to have been but a passing moment.

I have a photograph that I like to get out and look at once in a while.  It is of my older brother’s missionary homecoming. He is only seconds off the airplane from his mission to Brazil, in a tight embrace with Mom and Dad.  Their faces are full of excitement, joy, and love.

That picture has a lot of meaning for me.  I took it on my own full-time mission, and it reminded me that I must serve my mission honorably, so that when I return, I will have such a moment.

It also reminds me of another homecoming that I will someday experience.

The thought of leaving this life and rushing into the arms of my Heavenly Parents sometimes fills me with so much hope, and so much anticipation, that I have to remind myself that I still have much to do before I can qualify for such a reunion.

Perhaps it is the fear of the unknown that frightens us about death.  We thrive so much on regularity and tradition that even a minor change from the ordinary can throw us completely off balance.  Adventurous as we may occasionally feel, it seems that few of us feel ready to step beyond the comfort-zone of mortality into the surreal and unknown mystery we call death.  Even the most courageous people can’t deny that there is a bit of apprehension that accompanies impending death.  Perhaps to some, it is like lying down to sleep, knowing that whatever dream first enters their mind will be their new permanent reality.

But again, this is where faith plays such an essential role in our lives.  Life as we know it has the greatest opportunity for growth, experience, and learning.  It also allows us glimpses of the joy that will be available in the eternities.  Such glimpses give us hope for the fullness of joy that will be awaiting the righteous in the life to come.


Purchase Dayspring CD
, by Chas Hathaway, buy Homecoming MP3 on iTunes, or see other writings about the meaning behind Chas Hathaway’s music.

The Chronic Distraction

I was deeply impressed with President Dieter F. Uchtdorf‘s talk this evening in the priesthood session of the Church’s general conference about not getting distracted by less important things.  It got me thinking about how easily I get distracted from quality family time.

Why is that so stinkin’ easy to do?!  Why is it so easy to push my kids away so I can check my Facebook?  I tell myself it will only be for five minutes, but it never works out that way – and it has nothing to do with Facebook itself.  It’s me.  And if the distraction is not Facebook, it’s the piano, or email, or the garden, or even the dishes.  Sure, those are all good things – things that I should take advantage of.  But must I use the most quality family hours to do them?

I suppose everyone struggles with stuff like that.  That’s why I think it’s SO good to get these reminders once in a while.  Usually the things the church leaders encourage us to do are simply things that our conscience has been trying to get us to do for a long time.  The reminder simply brings it back to our immediate attention – oh, yeah, my family really IS more important to me than the computer.  Oh, yeah, my relationship with my Heavenly Father really IS more important to me than preparing a time-consuming meal.

Then I tell Heavenly Father about my mistake, and how I’ll do better, and I expect Him to say something like, “Duh, dude!  Hulllloooo!”  But instead He just smiles and gives me a hug.  If there’s anything that will solidify a re-dedication, it’s that.

He always does know what works best.  Always.

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Missionary Work

On this blog, I occasionally share aspects of my faith, and I try to word things so that what I say will make sense to a general Christian audience. For this entry, however, I would like to speak specifically to members of the church. I do hope that those of you who aren’t members of the church will read in order to understand why we do so much missionary work.

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints, and as most people know, we are a very missionary-oriented church. We share our faith constantly. A friend sent me a Facebook message explaining that they were giving a talk in church on Sunday about missionary work, and sent these five questions to friends for their input. I’m sure mine was longer than it should have been, but this is a subject I am very passionate about, though it’s also the gospel principle that I struggle with more than any other.

Here are the questions:

1.What is missionary work?

2.Why are we as members so afraid of sharing the gospel?

3.What is a ‘member missionary’?

4.What can we do as individuals to be better missionaries?

5.What does visiting teaching have to do with all of this?
Here are my answers:

1.When we truly care about a person, our greatest desire is to help that person know the truths that will bring them the greatest happiness. The truths that will bring them the greatest happiness are the truths of God, Jesus Christ, and their plan for our eternal progression. We are God’s children, and the gospel is the way for us to become like Him and live as He lives.

2.For me personally, I think my biggest fear in sharing the gospel is that I will somehow come across as self-righteous, as if I think myself somehow beyond the person I am speaking to. I don’t want people to think that I am some religious fanatic. Especially among friends or co-workers, I would hate to have them think that I think myself better than them.

This is really unfortunate, because I can think of nothing that brings more joy into my life than seeing someone accept the gospel at my suggestion. It would bring more joy than saving a life or preventing a suicide. That is difficult for people to understand who haven’t yet accepted the gospel, but it is true.

3.Honestly, it’s kind of funny that we have the term member-missionary. I suppose it’s mainly because we don’t do missionary work as well as we should. If members of the church would do missionary work as we should, there would be only be two kinds of missionary work: missionary work, and full-time missionary work. Member missionary is a redundant term. If someone really understands what it means to be a member of the church, they will do missionary work without even having to be asked. But I guess we all struggle with that.

4.I think one of the best things we can do to be better missionaries is to be authentic. It’s so easy to hide our true selves behind a pretended mask of being normal, or just like everyone else. Of course we aren’t better than everyone else, but we do have knowledge and a lifestyle that is very different than the rest of the world. Why should we hide it? If we simply live the way that feel comfortable and stop worrying about what everyone else thinks, we will have a lot more opportunities to share the gospel.

5.Being a guy, I’ll address home-teaching, though the principles are the same. I love home-teaching. I struggle like everyone else to get out and do it, but I love it. To me it’s an excuse to get out and visit friends. I’ve always been the shy type, and though I love to go visit friends in their homes, it’s hard for me to come up with an excuse to do so.

Home-teaching gives me that excuse. I can hide behind the calling when I ask to come visit. Then when we arrive, I can have an enjoyable comfortable visit. Being the home-teacher is an extra bonus, too, because if my friends need help with anything at all, I’ve got a whole ward to back me up.

Why Mormons Build Temples

With the hype that the Church has gotten about temples lately, I would respond that the temple is a house of God, and I deeply love its ordinances.  They get me closer to my Savior Jesus Christ, and they help me become closer to my family.

I attended the temple this last weekend, and every time I go, I love the Lord more, I love my family more, and I want to try harder to be like my Savior.

Through the ordinances of the temple, I can have my family forever.

Here’s a video the Church put out about why we build temples.  I agree with it one hundred percent!