Monday, July 09, 2007

Scriptures and Testimony

My mission president said one thing to us that has left a profound effect on me. He said, “We talk to God through prayer, and he answers us through the scriptures.”

In my life, there’ve been a few exceptions to this general rule, but by and large, I found it to be true. This is why prayer is number one on my list, and scripture study is number two. I’ve found that if I’m praying about something, I’d better be crackin’ open the books, because

  1. I might come across a scripture that I’ve read a thousand times before, and suddenly have the answer I need. It has happened that a verse will suddenly show me a slightly different application that I’ve always thought of it before, and that will be what I needed to know.
  2. Even when I don’t have a specific verse answer my questions, sometimes a story that I’m reading, or a chapter will lead my thoughts to the answer.
  3. Sometimes, my answer isn’t connected to the scriptures at all, but the fact that I’ve been reading regularly means that I’ve been opened up (spiritually) to receive the answer.

At times I wonder about those that leave the church. I’ve know some who’ve spent a significant amount of time reading the anti-mormon theories and refutations. I often wonder if they’d set that much time and effort into reading the scriptures, if their testimonies would have strengthened instead of weakened.

I know that I went through a time of wondering about Joseph Smith. My response was to reread the Doctrine and Covenants. That was a powerful thing for me and my testimony. I do understand that he was a normal, flawed human being. I also strongly believe that the Lord uses people like that, like me, to accomplish his tasks here on earth. I don’t believe that Joseph Smith was inherently more or less divine than any of us. He did, however have a much more direct calling than I do.

And it’s up to me to understand his calling, and his work. Because it was the work God called him to do. And anyone who doubts should study the D&C. Read the words of his detractors, or read his own words. It will clear it up.


Mark Hansen


  1. As one who has a strong personal conviction of the power of scripture study I have always placed scripture study first on my list. Yesterday I was listening to a member of my Stake Presidency who listed prayer first and I got thinking about why so many people list prayer first. As I thought about it I became more aware of how closely tied those two activities are. I realized that one without the other is incomplete. I also realized that we can't truly list them simultaneously so it doesn't bother me which one is listed first so long as they are the top two in any list on developing our relationship to Deity.

    It's always nice to see other people sharing their thoughts on this subject publicly.

  2. I love, LOVE, reading the Doctrine and Covenants. It is so fascinating to see the first-hand accounts of the restoration, and also to read scripture that was given to US in this day and age. The teachings in all the scriptures are true and should be followed, but there is something about modern revelation that is very soothing, like it shows God has NOT forgotten us. I don't know why I am so amazed when I find a scripture that gives me answers I need in life, it's kind of one of the points of scripture. But nevertheless, I always feel like I am so special when I find a scripture that says just what I need to hear!

  3. Hello there, Mark! I so agree with all your prayer and scripture comments. The older I get, the more I see by way of answers, and that always surprises me. Age does have its benefits :-)



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