I certainly learned a huge lesson from the research for this address. I began by making a list of anything to do with the scriptures and my children at the same time. Then, as I looked at the list, I realized that although we as parents got the ball rolling for reading the scriptures in their lives, they are really the ones who taught us! I selected ten lessons we learned from our children:
1) Exposure to the Scriptures: We began, like all new parents, trying to teach them the scriptures through regular scripture study, Family Home Evenings, Flannelboard stories and Scripture Scouts Audio Tapes. What we learned was that little children love the stories. Their love of scripture stories brought back memories of my dear Daddy sitting in his rocking chair when I was tiny, and reading stories to me from the large Family Bible Stories book.
2) Believing the Scriptures: When Kimberly was three years old, we had enjoyed a Family Home Evening about the creation and Adam and Eve. We had used a flannelboard story to show them and the tree and the fruit on it. The following morning, at breakfast, Kim looked at the big, yellow grapefruit on the table. She asked, "Mama, what dat?" I answered that it was called a grapefruit. She put her little hands on her hips, looked at her Daddy as he was eating a grapefruit and said, "Jesus say not posed ta eat da fwoot!!!" We should all believe as a little child.
3) Example of reading the Scriptures: My husband always has a book of scripture open on the kitchen table. (There's one there right now.) Any extra moment or time to eat a snack is spent reading the scriptures. I prefer to have my personal study sitting in my corner rocking chair. Now, we thought we were being good examples to them, but in reality, because they would comment on us reading, we would have to keep reading, . . . because they were watching! So they taught us to be good examples.
4) Learning about the Scriptures: When our children were old enough to attend Seminary and Institute classes, they learned from excellent teachers about how the scriptures affect us practically in our lives. Our children would come home excited and tell us what they had learned and how deeply they felt the Spirit of the Lord.
5) Power of hope in the Scriptures: When Karolyn was 10 years old, our family was in deep turmoil. An older child had become inactive and was deeply into drugs and trouble. We were also out of work at the time and struggling financially. One night after a church fireside, we came home and Karolyn started to immediately place chairs in a circle in the living room. Then she put all of our scriptures on the chairs and called us in. She said, "Our family needs more scriptures-we need more hope."
Romans 15:4 "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were
written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of
the scriptures might have hope. “
6) Diligence in reading the Scriptures: We had nothing to do with this! Katie read the Book of Mormon 13 times BEFORE her mission to Panama, including one time in Spanish, plus she listened through it by tape once in Spanish before she left.
7) Enjoyment in reading the Scriptures: When we bought our current home directly across the street from the Logan Temple, Karolyn and Kyle began walking over to the Temple Grounds on Sunday afternoons to read their scriptures. Sometimes they went together, sometimes alone, and sometimes with a date to find a secluded bench where they could read. They would always come home with a glow and a happiness that was palpable. Their emails from the mission field radiate such joy that permeates our home.
8) The Results and Influences of the Scriptures: For my talk, I called (and emailed) each of our six children and asked them how they were influenced by the scriptures in their lives. These are their answers:
Kimberly and Rob-- “When we read the scriptures every night in our home, the children don’t fight as much, there is much less contention in our home. (Actually, sometimes their is contention while reading the scriptures, but generally, it really helps.) It opens the minds of our children. They have 'Aha' moments about the gospel and about reading and other things. They are better readers, more articulate, have more understanding in general of secular matters, they understand more complex ideas and use bigger words.”
Ken--I decided to ask him the same question even though he doesn't attend church and does not read the scriptures.-- "The scriptures haven't taught me how to be a good person, I learned that from my mom and dad .“ (His parents know it was the results of training him up as a child-from the scriptures.) We'll get him back in the fold someday, there is a promise about that in the scriptures. One time Ken did make a comment about the scriptures. Kyle had been living with Ken and Shiann while working at a job to prepare for his mission. Everyday he studied his scriptures and Preach My Gospel in their living room. One day Ken told Kyle that he was really impressed that Kyle read the scriptures every day and that his commitment and dedication was impressive.
Katie--" You don’t have to read the scriptures every day, just every day you eat! Reading the scriptures is like a muscle in your body. When you exercise it regularly, it becomes stronger. If not, it begins to atrophy. Even the best scripture reader will become weak and incompetent if they stop reading everyday. If this happens to you, you lose."
Kristy--"The scriptures are always there for you—you can depend on them. I’ve learned that I can go to the scriptures for answers. Between the standard works and the discourses of the prophets and apostles, I can find verification for every truth.”
Karolyn--(on a mission in Novosibirsk, Russia--Siberia) "I love to read the scriptures. I just love the scriptures. It’s great when our investigators get excited and read way beyond what we assigned them. The scriptures are the basis of my life, not only in the mission field but at home as well.”
Kyle--(on a mission in Concepcion, Chile)--"The great peace that comes as I read fills my soul with joy and the joy is even greater when a simple scripture touches the heart of an investigator. Through the scriptures I come to know the will of the Lord and receive answers to my many questions. I´ve found my life’s liahona." (Wow, wish I had said that. --Lonna speaking)
9) Dedication and Commitment to reading the Scriptures: Kimberly had a memory of one night that she was visiting us in Logan. Karolyn and Kyle had stayed up really late playing games each night, way after midnight. But then she would always watch them get up and do their chores--dishes. And before going to bed each of them went to their room and read their scriptures. They taught their older sister something about dedication at that time.
10) Knowing our Savior through the Scriptures: Our children have been examples to us as they have often talked about knowing the Savior better because of the scriptures. We have experienced this as well. There is a scripture in D&C 18:33-36 that states:
"And I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it. These words are not of men nor of man, but of me; wherefore, you shall testify they are of me and not of man; For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you, and by my power you can read them one to another; and save it were by my power you could not have them; Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words. "
My very favorite scripture that has always touched me, clear since high school, is in 2 Nephi 25:26:
" And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. “
I know that the scriptures are the voice of my Savior and that they are definitely the source to which we may all go to look for guidance in our lives and in finding the way to return to the presence of God. They are truly our "life's liahona".