Editor's note: With the upcoming 100-year celebration of the LDS Church's seminary program, Mormon Times is sharing experiences and blessing from those who participated in seminary.
The phrase “To memorize a scripture is to forge a new friendship” sank deep into my heart.
The talk from last general conference “The Power of Scripture” by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve made me recall my cherished teenage years in Mexico. Fond memories came to my mind of early-morning seminary, recreational activities, dedicated teachers, wonderful friends, but most of all, the impact that scripture mastery scriptures have had in my mind and heart since then.
As Elder Scott mentioned in his talk, those scriptures became my friends and constant reminders every time I need them. When the adversary tries to distract my thoughts or persuade me to compromise my standards, Doctrine and Covenants 10:5 comes to my mind: “Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work.”
When I feel inadequate or incapable of reaching a goal or too weak to overcome a challenge, Ether 12:27 is one of my companions: “And if men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness, I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for it they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”
At times I have been questioned and even mocked for belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Whenever I started to feel sad or even the least bit afraid to stand up for what I knew to be true, Romans 1:16 was the scripture that came to my rescue: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth ”
What is most amazing is the fact that, as Elder Scott stated, a memorized scripture becomes an enduring friend that is not weakened with the passage of time. I have a strong testimony of that. As time has passed, I have gained a greater understanding of those scriptures through personal study and inspired college religion instructors who facilitated an environment where the Spirit taught me. I realized that I had memorized several scriptures that I hadn’t really pondered on. But the fact that I had memorized them brought them on the path of discovery for me.
I came to know more about what is taught in John 3:17. I know that life eternal means more than living forever with Heavenly Father. I know that life eternal comes from coming to know, or becoming one with our Father and Jesus Christ his son through the Atonement of Christ. It is having the kind of life they have because of my efforts in becoming like them.
Another memorized scripture that I have come to more fully understand is Mosiah 3:19: “For the natural man is an enemy to God...unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”
When I was 14 years old, I thought this was too long to memorize, but it has become one of my favorite scriptures. Since then I have come to know that the process of becoming like Christ does not happen overnight for everyone; becoming like a child, covered by the Atonement of Christ, may take a lifetime for many of us. But it is the purpose of our existence, to consistently yield day by day to the promptings of the Spirit that teaches us to pray, to be kind to others. Yielding also requires one of the hardest things to do for mortals, which is to give up our own will and submit to the will of God. The more we yield, the more we allow the Lord to change us through his Holy Spirit.
One of my favorite hymns about the scriptures is the children’s song “Scripture Power.” It reminds me that the word of God is powerful, mighty to change the imperfect heart.
“Scripture power keeps me safe from sin. scripture power is the power to win. Scripture power! Ev'ry day I need The power that I get each time I read.”
In light of this song and Elder Scott’s conference talk, I made a goal this year to take more time to be quiet every morning, meditate and benefit more from memorizing scriptures. Like in my seminary years, it is a great way to start a day; it invites the Spirit and empowers me with a better attitude to do my best to follow Christ.
As I realize the need to revisit with some of my longtime seminary friends this year, I realize that I also need to strengthen my friendship with specific scriptures, and why not add more to the scripture mastery list? As the old adage says, “One can’t have too many friends.”