Sunday, July 13, 2008


As Mormons, we are counseled by our church leaders to read the scriptures daily. As Mormon parents, we are counseled to read not only personally, but with our children. We are especially encouraged to make family study of the Book of Mormon a daily and lifelong pursuit.

Wanting to be obedient, we tried hard to follow that counsel but getting a routine going was tough. We'd just feel like we were on a roll when something would happen to upset the schedule applecart: school would start, or school would end; new baby would arrive, or the chain-reaction childhood illnesses would begin and make their month-long runs through six kids. It was tough.

Then our oldest kids hit the Dreary Wasteland of tween-age hood, the end of innocence. Sibling bickering increased. After-school sports and activities ballooned the family calendar. Tension over doing homework--not to mention handing in said homework--escalated. Things got tougher.

And then we were reminded of this prophetic promise:

"I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness" (Elder Marion G. Romney)

We bought inexpensive copies of the Book of Mormon, kept the stack next to the dining room table, and tried again. Breakfast time became scripture reading time. And this go around, it stuck. We first finished the Book of Mormon as a family in 1990, and in the next 17 years finished it eight more times, just reading a few minutes each day. Sure enough, the promises of prophets came to pass. Mutual respect and consideration grew; the spirit of contention departed; loving counsel and responsiveness to that counsel increased--just like Elder Romney said it would.

At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior gave this great measure by which we can judge the goodness of anyone, anything:

"Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit" (Matthew 7:16-18)

The Book of Mormon is a true and good tree. Our family knows this, because the fruits are good.
Anyone who will give it an honest try will taste the same fruit.

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