When Spencer W. Kimball was 14 years old, a speaker at a stake conference asked the congregation, "How many of you have read the Bible through?" Though still young, he felt the weight of that question keenly, as he recalls:
"An accusing guilt complex spread over me. I had read many books by that time, the funny papers, and light books, but my accusing heart said to me, ‘You, Spencer Kimball, you have never read that holy book. Why?’ I looked around me at the people in front and on both sides of the hall to see if I was alone in my failure to read the sacred book. Of the thousand people, there were perhaps a half dozen who proudly raised their hands. I slumped down in my seat. I had no thought for the others who had also failed, but only a deep accusing thought for myself. I don’t know what other people were doing and thinking, but I heard no more of the sermon. It had accomplished its work. When the meeting closed, I sought the large double exit door and rushed to my home a block east of the chapel; and I was gritting my teeth and saying to myself, ‘I will. I will. I will.’"
[. . .]
Approximately one year later, Spencer finished reading the Bible: “What a satisfaction it was to me to realize I had read the Bible through from beginning to end! And what exultation of spirit! And what joy in the over-all picture I had received of its contents!” The experience made a lasting impression, and later in life he referred to it often in general and area conferences.
If the Book of Mormon is "the keystone of our religion," then the Bible makes up one of the major supporting stones. After all, in the Bible we read about Christ's mortal life and ministry, we learn about Moses and the Ten Commandments, we try to understand the seminal prophecies of the mighty Isaiah--all stories that teach us important lessons.
But they're not stories many of us had read about firsthand. Like President Kimball, we've heard about them in Sunday School (this year we're studying the New Testament), but not from the pages of the Bible itself. In fact, in a study conducted last year, only one in five Americans were found to have read the Bible from start to finish, though 61% of Evangelical Christians reported that they had.
In light of those statistics, we at LDS Living wanted to conduct our own quick poll: have you had the opportunity to read the entire Bible? Answer the question below to find out the statistics!