There’s an expression that some people are “closed books”. It indicates someone who cannot be easily understood, someone unfathomable or puzzling, while others are “open books”. One may feel this way about a book of sacred writings. Some people I know feel that holy books are closed to them. Other friends feel that a book of God has things that speak specifically to them.
As a youth long ago, I learned to love the scriptures. To me, they are open books. In Seventh Grade, I remember starting to see specific verses as if they were a good friend. Learning, pondering, searching, and memorizing scriptures is like filling a cabinet with friends, values, and truths that can be called upon any time, anywhere in the world:
(Or same video at lds.org link.)
One’s feelings are key to an open book. If I love an author, it’s usually because I love the way the writer uses words, how I feel about how she or he expresses thoughts in writing. Some authors I like because they express thoughts similar to mine, while I love others, having expressed thoughts so distinct from mine, due to the way they open my mind to new things. What’s essential is less the words of sacred authors and more how their meaning resonates both to my mind and to my heart. God combines intellect and inspiration to tailor something personal to me, that nourishes my spirit, food that I need to feed my soul on a daily basis. Watch how he taught the Children of Israel this lesson:
(Or same video at lds.org link.)
I particularly love how I have come to see the scriptures as a proactive attempt on God’s part to be less puzzling, and I understand that openness to spiritual feelings is an important part of that. These spiritual feelings come in whispers to my soul. Did not our heart burn within us, …while he opened to us the scriptures? Heavenly Father speaks directly to his children through the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. One of life’s true paradoxes is that through these whispered feelings and thoughts, he does wonderful works through us. By small and simple things, God brings to pass great things. “…by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.”
As a boy, Joseph Smith learned from his parents to trust the scriptures. He learned to read by them, studied them, and struggled to understand them better. When reading James 1:5-6, he learned to ask important questions with confidence that God would reveal to him the answers. By following those answers, Joseph was able to help his family find certainty in uncertain times.
The epitome of the power of the small and the simple is expressed by the essence of this Christmas season—By a babe long ago in a manger in Bethlehem. Watch how we may use his scriptures to make small and simple changes to our actions in order to bring more peace into the world.
(Or same video at mormonchannel.org link.)
Christ wants all of us to feel safe and secure, even when we have pains and troubles, big or small. I have learned for myself that he has given us the scriptures to guide us away from ideas that lead us to mistakes and regrets and towards peace and happiness, both for us and for those near and dear to us. From our family to yours, may you have the happiest and holiest of holidays.
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1. Watch how a teenage competition through a maze is used as an analogy to show how the scriptures help us get through life. (Length: 10:02.)
2. Watch how this teacher encourages young men to search the scriptures. (Length: 1:41.)
——– End of Bonus Material ——– WebCredits—List of web resources used in this post but not explicitly credited above:
- Photo, family scripture study—www. lds.org/media-library/images/scripture-study?lang=eng#family-scripture-study-208903
- Video, “Words with Friends”—www. youtube.com/watch?v=IyMlkkkcbfs
- Video, “Daily Bread: Pattern”—www. youtube.com/watch?v=2eMJ6ZDCAp4
- Illustration, Joseph searching scriptures—www. lds.org/media-library/images/gospel-art/church-history?lang=eng&start=1&end=10#joseph-searching-scriptures-37717
- Photo, snowflake ornament—www. lds.org/media-library/images/christmas?lang=eng&start=21&end=30#snowflake-ornament-130226
- Video, “The Maze”—www. lds.org/media-library/video/2012-06-1030-the-maze?lang=eng
- Video, “Searching the Scriptures”—www. lds.org/media-library/video/2013-03-002-searching-the-scriptures?lang=eng
- Photo, lights in snow on Temple Square—www. lds.org/media-library/images/christmas?lang=eng&start=51&end=60#lights-temple-square-613721
——– End of WebCredits ——–