Day in and day out, millions of Mormons read their scriptures. This could be the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, or the Pearl of Great Price. It could be the words of modern-day prophets, as well. Some of us read by topic, others straight through. Several members listen on tape. Some of us use study manuals, or attend discussion groups. Some of us read for a set amount of time, others for a set number of verses. There are almost as many approaches as there are readers.
But we all inch along, or try to. However, today I’m going to suggest you slam on the brakes and pull out of the race. Stop pedaling, jogging, or whatever else you’re doing as you flip through the pages. Forget linear progress, deadlines, and sticker charts.
Instead, immerse yourself in a cooling waterfall. Soak in a relaxing hot tub. Smell the roses. Linger and luxuriate. No, I’m not suggesting you visit a spa or make an aftershave commercial. Those images are what you can experience by simply choosing a glorious section of scripture and then staying there.
Our culture is so industrious, so goal-driven, that holding still seems almost sacrilegious. But I urge you to try it. I did this last week, with the 12th chapter of Ether in the Book of Mormon. I highlighted the word faith every time I saw it in there. (Do this; you will be amazed.) I read it again. I thought about it. I tried to memorize parts of it. I read it yet again. I savored the wording. I found messages I need in my life right now, clarifications and direction. I let it fill my entire being, and then just sat there, feeling it. I completely resisted the urge to “plow through” or move on.
And it became a part of me. It seeped into my subconscious and my dreams. It popped into my head at stressful moments. I could close my eyes and see the word “faith,” scattered across the pages.
I read the glorious assurance of Moroni’s place in the hereafter. And I learned more about the difference between the faith that gives us confidence to accept callings, pray, pay tithing, and attend the temple—and the “causing” kind of faith that works actual miracles. I stayed right there in that one chapter for days. Instead of moving on, I moved in.
By giving myself permission to slow down, I felt liberated from duty and accomplishment, as much as I love those values. I received comfort, calmness, inspiration and revelation. I began to see this chapter as the familiar face of a dear friend. It wrapped itself around my fingers and became a sweet companion. If this is what “feasting on the word of God” means, then we are all fools to miss that banquet. Yes, we need to read daily. But not always from one chapter to the next. Sometimes we can stop at a delicious section that speaks to our hearts, and say, “I think I’ll have more of the same, please.”
Watch the music video of Hilton’s song, What Makes a Woman, from her new musical, The Best Medicine (with music by Jerry Williams). Her books are available here. Hilton currently serves as a Relief Society President.