How much time do you spend on your spiritual needs?
It seems to me that sometimes the spiritual side of things can get neglected in the daily lists of things to do. Even when time is given to things like scripture study and prayer, what is habitual can become mundane. I would like to present a spiritual challenge to help spark things up a bit.
The Speed-Read Scripture Study Program
What it is:
Read the entire Book of Mormon in only 6 weeks focusing on a single topic. The suggested topic that I will be studying is "hope." We will have some form of online discussions to keep each other motivated and to share with and learn from everyone else.
I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, ... and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”Background:
—Joseph Smith, Introduction to the Book of Mormon
Generally when I study the scriptures, I like to take my time and analyze all the little details. And yet, I have thought it would be fun to read the whole Book of Mormon thinking of only one topic. I can't imagine how much that would drag on if it took forever to read it! So I tried the impossible and set my goal at 6 weeks focusing only on "Faith" as my topic. Unfortunately, I fell so far behind, that with only one week left, I was barely beginning Alma!
The amazing part is that even though I didn't actually finish my goal last time around, I have loved how much improved my scripture study has been. I can feel a difference in me and in my life having put more emphasis on reading. The most prominent feeling I've experienced is a greater desire to do missionary work. I have discovered new analogies to my life and new things to do as a parent with my children as I've done this fast reading of the stories instead of scrutinizing every verse. It's been a really cool experience. I'm hoping that some others will be willing to join with me in the next 6 weeks to keep me accountable to staying on track.
My in-laws suggested a family study based on the 6 Attributes of Christ section found in Preach My Gospel. The first attribute there is "Faith" and the next one is "Hope." Hope is also a basic principle that would probably help with most problems or issues in our lives and I personally have never studied it before. Who hasn't felt discouraged about things in their life recently? (Being a good parent, child, or spouse; feeling good about yourself physically or spiritually, etc.) However, if you have a different topic, that is fine.
“When I read the Book of Mormon, something inevitably happens to me. My burdens feel lighter. Faith and hope replace my worries, concerns, and doubts. Life appears brighter.”
--Richard G. Hinckley, "Fruits of the Book of Mormon," Liahona, June 2008
Not Enough Time in the Day?:
It's just 12.6 pages a day. That's less than a chapter in the Twilight books! When I got behind, I finally discovered some tricks. I put it on my iPod and listened while running in the morning or doing mundane chores like dishes when kids were napping. I didn't like that as much as reading and writing my notes, didn't get as much out of it, but it went faster and I think it was the only way to make up lost ground once I was behind.
We've also taken the original audio files for the Book of Mormon and sped them up by 50%. So you can listen to 10 minutes of the Book of Mormon in only 6.67 minutes. We'll figure out how to distribute those files to anyone who's interested (or create a tutorial on how you can do it yourself).
Leave a comment or send me an e-mail if you are feeling up to this challenge.
"Without reservation I promise you that if each of you will observe this simple program, regardless of how many times you previously may have read the Book of Mormon, there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God."
--President Hinckley, regarding his reading challenge given in 2005