Since returning home from my mission, scripture study has been one of the hardest things for me to keep the habit of. I'll spend half the day opening, closing, then reopening social media apps to the same tweet or picture that was there before, but I'll let a whole day pass without reading the word of God knowing just how powerful it can be in blessing the rest of my day. If you struggle with reading your scriptures, daily prayer, or any of the other little things we've been asked to do, know that you are not alone.
This past LDS General Conference, Elder Gary E. Stevenson offered an invitation and a promise in his talk "Look to the Book, Look to the Lord"
I recently learned that many young people spend an average of seven hours a day looking at TV, computer, and smartphone screens. With this in mind, would you make a small change? 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? If the studies I referred to are accurate, you could easily find time for daily study of the Book of Mormon even if for only 10 minutes a day.
Within the book’s pages, you will discover the infinite love and incomprehensible grace of God. As you strive to follow the teachings you find there, your joy will expand, your understanding will increase, and the answers you seek to the many challenges mortality presents will be opened to you.
After watching that talk again, I made a goal to read from the Book of Mormon each day last week. Unfortunately, I failed. Although I didn't achieve my goal, there was some silver lining 1) I read more within the week than I usually did and 2) I can honestly say I was blessed; normal things that would get me down rolled off my shoulder, I was way more patient, and learned new insight from the scriptures I'd read many times before.
One of those new insights was in 1st Nephi Chapter 5 : 5-8. Here Lehi consuls a worried wife after sending their children into a dangerous situation to reclaim the plates. After reading these verses it hit me; Sariah is the wife of a prophet, and yet still had doubts about what their family had been commanded to do. If the wife of a prophet had doubts then I'm confident the Lord expects us all to run into times where we doubt the things we've been told.
The second thing that hit me was the process that allowed Sariah to have her testimony strengthened. In verse 5 Lehi testifies what he knows to be true via the Holy Spirit and says-
I have obtained a land of promise, in the which things I do rejoice; yea, and I know that the Lord will deliver my sons out of the hands of Laban, and bring them down again unto us in the wilderness.
In verse 7 Nephi and his brother come back, and then in verse 8 Sariah says - Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them.
Those verses are great, but it got me thinking. What if Lehi never opened his mouth? Their sons would have come back anyway, but the opportunity for Sariah to strengthen her testimony of principles like a "modern day Prophet" or "listening to the Spirit" would have passed; leaving room for more doubt in similar situations throughout her life.
Having doubts is normal. Its part of life. But each of us have been blessed with spiritual things that we do know. God has blessed us with those simple experiences and testimonies to help us down the road & to help our Brothers and Sisters as well. Let's not let opportunities where our testimony can help strengthen the testimony of someone we care about pass. Lets also recognize that doubts are part of this journey and nothing to be ashamed of.
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