Every one of us knows we should read our scriptures daily, but wouldn’t it be interesting to see the percentage of members who actually do it? Bishops and Stake Presidents tell us all the time that, when they counsel members with problems, the first thing they ask is if the members are reading the Book of Mormon regularly. And, sure enough, they usually aren’t.
For decades leaders have urged us to make daily reading of the Book of Mormon a priority in our lives. There’s tremendous power in it, even if all you read are three verses a day. It’s the regularity and the routine that elevates your mind and heart, and brings the Holy Ghost’s inspiration clearly into focus. Short of the word “magic,” there’s almost no other way to describe the transformative power of obeying this one admonition.
Some people have no problem whatsoever; it’s built into their daily schedules. But others struggle and “fall off the wagon” repeatedly. They know their lives would be better for it, they know the prophets have told them to do it, but there it is—the equivalent of the broken diet. Its numbers might even be worse than our home and visiting teaching stats.
For those who know better but let busy lives and other excuses get in the way, take heart. You are among thousands, perhaps millions, of friends. It’s okay to admit you need a gimmick. Satan would have you think a contrived trick to get you to read your scriptures is cheap and lowly. And, sure enough, it would be better if we were all paragons of discipline who never needed the occasional motivational ruse. But, cheap and lowly or not, it’s better to use whatever method you have to, than no method at all. No method leads to exactly where you are now—and that’s even cheaper and lowlier, right?
So here are a dozen ways to frustrate the adversary and sneak a powerful new habit into your schedule:
- Many of us have a “remote control basket” to corral the ridiculously high number of electronic gadgets that operate our television systems. Why not tuck a Book of Mormon in there, and have a rule that no control can be operated until 3 verses are read?
- Do you take a daily vitamin, or other daily pills? Store them with a copy of the Book of Mormon, and read a page every time you take your pills. This one can be your Vitamin M.
- Keep a Book of Mormon where you store your toothbrush, and read it while you’re brushing. We’re supposed to brush for a solid two minutes, anyway. You’d be surprised how much you can read in two minutes.
- Carry a copy of the Book of Mormon in your car, jacket, or purse, for those “waiting times” in the carpool lane, the grocery checkout, at doctor appointments, and other times when we’re standing in line. It might be a great missionary tool, too—what a conversation starter!
- Keep one in the fridge—or by the cookie jar– and don’t let yourself eat until you’ve read at least three verses. I keep one open on my kitchen island, the one I pass countless times each day. It reminds me to slow down, sit down, and drink from the right fountain.
- Store one in the microwave oven. Every time you open it to heat something, read until the food is ready. It beats standing there, staring at the oven timer.
- Keep one in your car’s glove box, and read it while tanking up with gas, or going through a car wash.
- Keep a copy of the Book of Mormon by the phone. Instead of drumming your fingers as you find yourself on hold, listening to someone else’s choice in music, fill your mind with the wonderful messages of the scriptures.
- Take it to soccer games, practices, and other events where there’s a lot of set-up time before you really need to pay attention.
- If you use public transportation, read it as you travel. If you’re afraid you’ll miss your stop, set a timer on your watch or cell phone.
- Buy audio tapes of the Book of Mormon, to listen to as you drive.
- Tuck one in your shoes, and don’t let yourself finish dressing until you’ve put in some reading time.
In short, find what works for you, and don’t buy Lucifer’s message that it’s silly to use contrived reminders. Remember the adage, “You can’t knock success.”
Remember, also, that you don’t have to carve a solid hour out of every day. Someday you may wish to do that. But if you’re just starting out, take it in small steps and see what happens if you read just three verses a day. Test the promise. See if you aren’t happier, more productive, and more pleasant to be around. See if the answers to your problems don’t come to you more quickly. See if you don’t feel closer to your Savior. Share these techniques with your children, and with friends.
And, along with trying to break a few bad habits, you can start a wonderful new one.
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Cruise with Joni and her husband, Bob, to Spain, Italy, and France May 12-19, 2012. Super low rates! For more information, go to jonihilton.com.
Joni Hilton has written 17 books, three award-winning plays, and is a frequent public speaker and a former TV talk show host. Her latest book, “Funeral Potatoes– The Novel,” has just been scheduled for publication by Covenant Communications. She is also the author of the “As the Ward Turns” series, “The Ten-Cow Wives’ Club,” and “The Power of Prayer.” Hilton is a frequent writer for “Music & The Spoken Word,” many national magazines, and can be reached at her website, jonihilton.com. She is married to TV personality Bob Hilton, is the mother of four, and currently serves as Relief Society President in her ward in northern California.