When the Lord commanded Lehi to send his sons back to Jerusalem to get the brass plates, He knew they would face danger, challenges, and peril. We might ask ourselves why, after rescuing Lehi’s family from the impending destruction of Jerusalem, the Lord asked them to go right back into danger to retrieve the records. As Terryl Givens observes, “The cost in expense, effort, and human life demonstrate a profound valuation of scripture… in the Book of Mormon” (The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction).
The scriptures are so vital to our spiritual survival that lives were lost, and taken, in order to obtain and preserve them. This naturally begs the question: how important are the scriptures, and particularly the Book of Mormon, to your family dynamic? President Ezra Taft Benson, in 1988, emphasized that the Book of Mormon needed to take a more central role in our worship and missionary work:
“The Book of Mormon is the instrument that God designed to ‘sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out [His] elect’ (Moses 7:62). We need to read daily from the pages of the book that will get a man ‘nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book’ (History of the Church, 4:461). The time is long overdue for a massive flooding of the earth with the Book of Mormon” (“Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon”).
Flooding the Earth Begins at Home
As I have spent the last year writing and teaching about the Book of Mormon, I have been amazed at the depth of its doctrine and the breadth of its insights into the life and mission of Jesus Christ. I have come to feel so strongly about it that I want my children and grandchildren to get as excited as I am, yet opportunities to share its messages slip by me every day. So I have decided that, in a first step toward flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon, I’m going to flood my home with it!
If your family is anything like mine, right now the Book of Mormon may represent more of a trickle than a flood in your family supply of “living water.” Rather than feeling guilty or setting more goals, there may be some simple ways to make your home more “user-friendly” when it comes to the scriptures. Here are five ways to help you flood your home with the Book of Mormon:
1. Take a Stand
As a busy parent of eight, my mom had very little time to sit and read. But she had a simple wire book stand that stood on the kitchen table, and it usually held an open book of scripture. When Mom sat down to dampen the ironing or eat a quick sandwich, she read for a few minutes, and she often chatted with us about what she was reading.
I have never heard my mom tell me I should read my scriptures, but it seemed like a natural thing to read them in order to be part of this ongoing conversation with her. At 92, my mother still has something interesting to say about the Book of Mormon whenever you talk to her, and I still want to be part of that conversation. And it all started with a simple book stand.
Tip #1: Put a book stand on the kitchen table and set the Book of Mormon on it, open and ready. You could also set it on a coffee table or other conspicuous place in your living room or kitchen to get a little spiritual food along with your meals.
2. Become a One-Verse Wonder
In his novel Go Tell it On the Mountain, James Baldwin describes a humble family that, each night, “read a verse of scripture and fell on their knees and prayed.” Sometimes we become so tied to the idea of reading a whole chapter, or a certain number of pages, that we forget that the important thing is not just “getting through” the scriptures; it is having the scriptures get through to us. Often the key to that process is to combine scripture with prayer. Try reading just one verse of scripture and let it sink into your heart as you approach the Lord in prayer.
Tip #2: Put the Book of Mormon where you kneel, and open it and read just one verse before you begin to pray.
3. Listen to the Voice in Your Ear
Many of us spend hours listening to music or talk radio, yet we have trouble finding time to read the scriptures at night. Why not listen to the scriptures instead? The scriptures are great literature as well as sacred text and have a unique impact when they are heard. In fact, we are told in Romans that “faith comes by hearing” (Romans 10:17).
I have trouble sleeping, so I listen to the scriptures in the night when I am trying to go back to sleep. There have been many times when the Book of Mormon has been a quiet comfort to me in the lonely hours of the night.
Tip #3: Put the Book of Mormon on your phone and listen to it in your car, as you work around the house or in the yard, and before you go to sleep.
4. Maximize Your Throne Room
Most of us have some kind of reading material in our bathrooms, so why not the Book of Mormon? Inexpensive copies of the scriptures belong everywhere that we spend a few minutes each day! Make sure that your teenagers and your little children have scripture stories or a copy of the Book of Mormon in their bathrooms as well.
Tip #4: Put a copy of the Book of Mormon in every bathroom and use those minutes that all of us must spend there taking in a little inspiration.
5. Control the TV Controller
We often talk about how media has flooded our homes, and some of the scenes it brings are not uplifting. Acts of violence, sexualized scenes, and language can frequently come into our homes this way without invitation. Connecting the use of the TV to reading of the Book of Mormon can do just a little to stem that tide.
One sister shared how she and her husband decided that they would not turn on the TV at night until they read a chapter of scripture together. While reading a whole chapter might not work for large families with busy schedules, you might make a decision that the TV doesn’t go on until a few verses have been read from the Book of Mormon. You might even take a piece of Velcro and attach the controller to a copy of the Book of Mormon as a gentle reminder!
Tip #5: Attach the TV controller to the Book of Mormon, and read at least a few verses together before you turn on the set.
Bonus Tip: Having a journal edition of the Book of Mormon somewhere visible in your home can inspire your family members not only to read a few verses but to jot down their thoughts, feelings, and impressions so you can have them always.
Nephi vs. Netflix
Nephi had to face Laban in order to bring the scriptures to his family, and, like him, each of us must overcome obstacles in order to place the scriptures at the center of our homes. So what is your “Laban?” What do you need to eliminate in order to give the scriptures greater priority in your home? It may not be anything really evil. We can be defeated by too much time in front of the TV, at work, or even at the gym. Even worthwhile activities can eat away at the time we need to spend with our scriptures. Just the fact that the next episode of your favorite TV show will come on in 20 seconds if you don’t do anything may trap you into many extra hours of Netflix binge-watching. That could be a sign it may be time to take the sword of Laban and cut the cable cord!
The simple act of physically placing the scriptures in as many places as we can will help us pick them up more regularly. And allowing ourselves to read just a little at a time may help us enjoy them more. Now that I’ve shared these few ideas with you, I hope you will take some time to think how you can flood your home with the Book of Mormon and share some of your own. This book contains the testimony of Jesus on nearly every page, and its sweet, enduring witness will bring His grace and love more fully into our lives every time we open it.