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Improvement

By Justine Dorton

Talk to me about scripture study.

I need to do it every day more faithfully.

I also need to do about 479,000 other things every day.

The Lord is kind of yelling at me right now in exhortation.

How do you do it?

How do you make it meaningful?

How do you invite the Spirit into your home?

About Justine Dorton

Justine is a mother to five children, and has a husband lodged somewhere (probably in the den). She is not very fond of speaking of herself in third person.

10 thoughts on “Improvement”

  1. Well, I'm probably the wrong person to be commenting as I too struggle with it. But my wise Mother has told me repeatedly that scripture study is one of those essentials like eating and sleeping. So what if you don't get every little thing done. Scripture study needs to be a more important priority. Being spiritually connected is that vital–especially as a mother. A few ways that scripture study has become more meaningful to me is by writing down my thoughts on what I learned, what I liked about what I read, etc. I also use the student manuals.

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  2. I have done bloggy breaks before, and am probably due again. I don't allow myself to turn on the computer until that is done first. It's sort of the 'first things first' thing for me. I'm assuming you're talking about doing it for yourself, right?
    For my kids, I read to them while they eat breakfast. They have full mouths so they're not talking much. Their hands are occupied so they're not monkeying with stuff. It lasts 5-10 minutes tops, but that is all my 4 year old can take. This will be the first time we've finished the Book of Mormon, unabridged. I think after this we'll go back to easier fare for the 4 year old's sake (the ones that look like drawn slide show versions of the scriptures so she can get all the plot, characters, etc), and then maybe start back up again with the heavier stuff. I'll be interested to learn others' suggestions because I could certainly use them.

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  3. When I read the BoM for 30 minutes a day, which I think President Kimball or Benson recommended, I found myself more able to focus on what I'm reading and get more out of it. I am not as good about daily reading or 30 minutes as I used to be.

    Some of my favorite times of reading the scriptures have been when I had a dictionary close at hand to look up a lot of big and little words, and pencil handy to make notes in the margins. Even looking up words I already know the basic meaning of can help a verse mean more.

    Another thing I have done is read every footnote. I don't think I've ever made it through the whole BoM that way, but when I do it, I'm surprised by the little treasures I have found. I've loved reviewing the historical context of Lehi's time period through footnotes, figuring out who's who and when, etc. Comparing the Bible's Isaiah vs. BoM Isaiah chapters verse by verse has helped me get through and understand those better.

    Right now, I'm working on getting back into the habit; during my son's nap is an ideal time. Journaling about what I read has helped, too. Praying beforehand is always good. I found that when I focus on understanding the scriptures more than on searching for an answer, the answers come–kind of a lose yourself/find yourself approach.

    As for inviting the spirit into our home, I formally ask for that in prayer. I play good music on and off throughout the day (I don't mean just spiritual music). I have found anger or frustration to be the quickest killer of the Spirit. Sometimes I have to pray a lot to stay grateful and positive. Sometimes I forget to pray, allow myself to dwell on the negative, and out the Spirit goes. Fostering love and a grateful, happy heart keeps the Spirit alive.

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  4. I switched to the morning. It's been going well for about a week now. So, I'm in the process of improving my scripture study too. Just take 15 minutes. Do it before you go eat or shower. It really helps to wake up, roll out of bed, brush your teeth, then read your scriptures. It's great.

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  5. I'm not as good as the rest of you ladies! These days I think I'm the president of the "One Wimpy Verse Club". I read with my kids and I try to study the lesson for Sunday School or whatever class I'm substituting that week, but there are a lot of days that I get one verse in and that has to be good enough. My life is so crazy with three kids under the age of five I don't even get other essentials done (most days I don't even get to have lunch until 2:00 in the afternoon). One thing that helps me is to do my scripture study online. I know some people think it's important to hold your actual scriptures in your hands, but I love having the cross references only a hyperlink away. I also like to look over the lesson manuals to see what I missed during class. I have the Sunday School student manual bookmarked in my favorites and as I go down my list of blogs it's right there. It's one more good reminder for me! Good luck! I know the Lord will bless you for your efforts.

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  6. It might sound lame, but I mark my calendar when I read my scriptures. Then, I can track my progress. Its unlikely that you're going to read them every single day for years on end. I can look over my progress, how I read more and more each month, and feel good about that.

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  7. For me, it's one of those "just do it" things. I picked a time (right after we put the kids to bed), and I read for 20 minutes. Every night. Period. No matter what! Picking a certain time of the day to do it and then just doing it is a very powerful step for me.

    To make my study meaningful, I always journal about what I'm reading. My goal is to write at least one thing that stood out to me each night, even if it's just copying a verse into my journal. Writing invites revelation for me. Sometimes I can only get through a few verses, the Spirit is so busy teaching me! But He can't get through to me if I don't crack open the book first.

    I know being consistent with my reading has invited the Spirit to be more present in my life, and I feel His influence more often as I make decisions and interact with my children. I know the same things can happen for you! Thanks for this post, too. It reminded me why I make scripture study a habit.

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  8. I do it before bed at night, usually. I'm a lousy morning person (although I did read this morning when I couldn't get back to sleep).

    I prefer topical study, and study whatever is on my mind or in my heart. I read footnotes, sometimes I journal, sometimes I add commentaries like the CES manuals. Sometimes I will listen to the scriptures…I like to shake it up a bit so it's not simply a mindless routine but is always (ok, almost always) alive and new.

    The general YW presidency challenged us at Women's Conference to read the BoM for at least five minutes. That seems like a good place to start. What I find is that when I really go into it to learn and feel the Spirit, a verse (my minimum promise to God) or whatever other minimum (now five minutes) is never enough. Feasting is fun!

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  9. I start my day with my own "sacred grove," (a phrase I got from Elder Kikuchi when he set me apart as my husband's companion when we served as mission president) a time for study, prayer and personal revelation. I set the stage with instrumental hymns playing in the background, a scented candle and my scriptures, journal and favorite writing instruments. Sometimes I study a topic, mostly I just continue reading wherever I left off. I find that writing in my journal is essential to the process, often the important stuff gets written bypassing my brain, directly from the Spirit to the paper. Fifteen minutes is a minimum, but sometimes when I don't have a pressing schedule I have even spent a delightful 90 minutes.

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