Sunday, September 27, 2009

30 Days of Scripture Study

When I was a teenager, I read my scriptures every day. I continued this through college and my mission. I derived strength and inspiration from daily study of the word of God. After my mission, my scripture study started to slip. I would miss a day here and a day there, and it got to the point that I would sometimes go for a week or two at a time without opening the scriptures. (I would still read and ponder spiritual things, but there's no substitute for the primary source.)

I've had a concern that has been weighing heavily on my mind for the past several weeks. (I may blog about it later, but not now.) I was talking to one of my friends about it, and she gave me the best advice. She told me that I should take the problem to the Lord and study the scriptures every day for 30 days with that particular problem in mind. She had done that once, and it changed her life.

I'm on day 5 now. I haven't experienced anything life-changing yet, but I'm feeling a greater measure of peace and spirituality. I'm noticing the hand of the Lord more fully in my life. I'm getting back into the habit of regular scripture study. (I hear it takes 21 days to create a habit, so I'm hoping I can get the habit ingrained.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

After the Manner of Happiness

And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.
2 Nephi 5:27

I went to a mid-singles' conference this past weekend in Santa Cruz, and this scripture was supposedly the theme of the conference. (I say supposedly because the events and activities never really seemed to tie in.)

I've been thinking over the past few days about what it means to live after the manner of happiness. I'm not sure I have an answer. We're told that we will be happy when we live the gospel, and for the most part, I've found that to be the case. However, there are times when I've been living the gospel and I've still been miserable.

My mission was one of the most difficult experiences of my life, and I was definitely not happy most of the time. (There were moments, but not many.) Christ Himself was described in the scriptures as "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief".

Right now in my life, I'm quite happy. I know I need to study the scriptures more, and I know I need to be more serious about the Sabbath, but things are going well. I don't get it. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Update from Institute

I started attending institute again this semester. I signed up for a Book of Mormon class because it was the only one that would fit in my schedule. The first week was great. There were three of us in the class (plus the teacher), and we were able to have some great in-depth discussions of the material, the kind that wouldn't really work in Sunday school. The second week was okay. There were a few more people in the class, and the teacher asked me to tone down the level of my comments/questions. (There was nothing wrong/bad/subversive about my comments, they were simply complex.) I obliged.

The third week (yesterday) was a bit more frustrating. There were three brand-new investigators in class yesterday. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that people are investigating the church. I'm happy that they're attending institute. However, I'll admit that I was annoyed at the impact their presence had on the class discussion. When people ask questions like "Who is Lehi?" or "Why were they leaving Jerusalem?", it makes it harder for me to ask the questions I want to ask.

I was getting a bit grouchy and I was considering dropping institute for the semester. (With how busy my schedule is, it's a fairly significant sacrifice of time. I could spend those two hours studying.) Finally, I decided to stick with it just for the sake of going. I would like to say that I was rewarded with some new earth-shattering insight, but I wasn't. Instead, I had the opportunity to step out of the world for a few hours, feel the Spirit, and help share the gospel. Sometimes it isn't about me.