More Family Scripture Study
Last week I chronicled the start of our family scripture study. Having it in the morning worked for a few years, until we moved and Dad had a 1 1/2 hour commute each way. He left before six in the morning, otherwise it would have been a three hour commute into the city. Trust me when I tell you, you don't want to wake up pre-schoolers at that hour if you don't have to. So, we moved our reading time to after dinner and before bedtime. That worked.
As mentioned, we started by having Dad read the entire standard works while the rest of us listened. To get some participation, each evening we would start by reciting the books of the Bible, going as far as we were reading. (For example, when we were in Judges, we'd say "Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshusa, Judges" and stop.) Once we finished Malachi, we started the New Testament and added Matthew, Mark, etc. Then we went on to the Book of Mormon. We didn't recite "1, 2, 3, etc." when we got to the Doctrine & Covenants, but we did go all the way from Genesis to Articles of Faith by the time we were done. Since it took us a few years to finish the cycle, even the pre-schoolers were able to memorize the long list.
Brad remembered another trick we used for helping the kids pay attention. That was to give them a word to listen for and count how many times it was read. I guess it worked!
Once we made it through the Pearl of Great Price, we all listened while the Book of Mormon cassettes played. Then we went through the Book of Mormon again, but this time everyone had a chance to read a verse - oldest to youngest. We moved again the summer before Michelle started 1st grade. Because Florida had a different (as in earlier) "turn 5 by this date to start kindergarten" rule than California did, Michelle was a full year younger than most of her classmates. Her teacher saw her birthdate and was quite concerned that she'd be able to handle the academics. However, then she heard Michelle read, and said, "Don't you dare put her back in kindergarten!" Unfortunately, I didn't make the connection while still discussing the subject with the teacher, but I'm positive Michelle was an early reader because of the Book of Mormon. That's just one of the blessings of reading scriptures together.
I discovered another blessing of reading every day the fall of 2001. Wayne had started a new job 250 miles away from our house, which wasn't selling. So, for about six months every Sunday evening he'd drive to Clearwater, work there for the week, and then drive home on Friday. Remember I had learned that scripture study works best when the patriarch of the home is the leader? Well, we stopped having it Monday through Friday. After a few weeks, I noticed there was more bickering between the kids and the noise level at home just seemed louder. It wasn't making sense, until I made the correlation to lack of reading the Book of Mormon every day. As soon as we started reading again, even without Dad, the teasing and decibel level went down considerably.
The promise the prophets have given us really is true:
“There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called ‘the words of life’ (see D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance. These promises—increased love and harmony in the home, greater respect between parent and child, increased spirituality and righteousness—these are not idle promises, but exactly what the Prophet Joseph Smith meant when he said the Book of Mormon will help us draw nearer to God" (President Benson quoted by Pres. Eyring)