There’s a Primary song my children love to sing, Scripture Power.
Because I want to be like the Savior, and I can,
I’m reading His instructions, I’m following His plan.
Because I want the power His word will give to me,
I’m changing how I live, I’m changing what I’ll be.
I’ll find the sword of truth in each scripture that I learn.
I’ll take the shield of faith from these pages that I turn.
I’ll wear each vital part of the armor of the Lord,
And fight my daily battles, and win a great reward.
Scripture power keeps me safe from sin.
Scripture power is the power to win.
Scripture power! Ev’ryday I need
The power that I get each time I read.
The power that I get each time I read. Don’t we all seek for and want that power? Don’t we want that for our children too? We can have that, you know. It takes some work, and LOTS of patience, but it is attainable.
One Sunday, many years ago, I witnessed an inspiring moment. My then 4 year old daughter, Marie, was singing ‘Nephi’s Courage’ (Children’s Songbook, pg.120) with the rest of the primary children. “I will go; I will do the things the Lord commands. I know the Lord provides a way; he wants me to obey.” As the song ended Marie picked up her Book of Mormon, turned to 1 Nephi 3:7, and showed her teacher saying, “That song comes from this scripture.”
Her teacher was amazed. “How did you know that?”
Marie pointed to her scriptures where I had drawn a green circle with the word GO written inside. “I learned it at school!”
As a family we try to hold regular scripture study every evening, but I felt I could do even more with my children by incorporating study of the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon, in their daily school schedule.
Why the Book of Mormon? President Ezra Taft Benson said: “Combined with the Spirit of the Lord, the Book of Mormon is the single greatest tool which God has given us to convert the world.” (A Witness and a Warning, by Ezra Taft Benson, pg.11) This challenge and promise includes our families. Don’t we want our children to be converted to the gospel?
I’d like to share with you what we do in our home to build our children’s faith and clothe them with the armor and power of God.
It’s nothing earth shattering. We call them our Scripture PJs.
Scripture Picture and Journal Study
We read each morning before doing any other school subjects. If you don’t homeschool this could easily be a morning devotional before sending everyone off to school. We each take a turn reading out loud. Sometimes we read just a few verses, sometimes a chapter or more. We are more concerned with how much is retained than with how much is read.
Depending on the reading levels of your children, the Book of Mormon Stories reader published by the Church can be very helpful, but I recommend reading straight from the scriptures. At first it may be hard, but from personal experience with my own family, even young children are not too young to understand the scriptures! Reading the beautiful language of the scriptures greatly increases a child’s verbal, reading, and comprehension skills. Also, do not forget that reading the scriptures invites the Spirit. And there is no greater teacher than the Holy Ghost.
We have purchased the inexpensive copies of the Book of Mormon for each child. When we get to a scripture or story we would like them to remember, we draw simple figures or pictures in their scriptures to help them locate the scripture faster and see at a glance what the scripture is about. The green circle with GO inside is one example. Here are other picture suggestions:
- a sheep on Alma 17:25 for the story of Ammon tending King Lamoni’s flocks
- children’s faces inside a circle of fire on 3 Nephi 17:25 to mark when Christ blessed the Nephite children
- a tower on Mosiah 2:8 for the story of King Benjamin’s address to his people
- a CTR shield for 2 Nephi 2:27 to remember that we are free to choose
The possibilities are endless. Just remember to keep the pictures simple. Colored pencils work the best. They don’t bleed through and you can still see the words. You will find that the pictures act as visual cues for younger children. My older children mark their scriptures differently using a variety of colors for different gospel principles. These markings and pictures have helped my children find stories in the scriptures quickly, sometimes even faster then their Primary teachers. More important than speed, though, they are learning to mark their scriptures; they focus on what the scriptures are saying. Thus, their minds are being infused with the word of God.
After we read, my children (the ones that can write anyway ages 4 – 16) write in their scripture journals. These are just regular composition notebooks. At the top of the page they record the date and scripture references that we read. Then they summarize what took place. They also jot down a gospel principle they learned and how to apply that principle in their life. Any other thoughts and impressions they received while reading are recorded as well.
The four year old draws a picture and then dictates to me or to an older sister what he wants written. We love to review previous entries and see how their understanding of the scriptures has increased. Can you imagine what precious keepsakes these will be for them?
That’s all we do – read, draw pictures, mark scriptures, and write. It only takes 15- 20 minutes each day. But, oh, the rewards that have come from studying the Book of Mormon daily!
The promises made by Pres. Marion G. Romney are literally being fulfilled. He said, “And so, I counsel you, my beloved brothers and sisters and friends everywhere, to make reading in the Book of Mormon a lifelong practice… I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to that counsel. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity – the pure love of Christ – will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.” (Conference Report, April 1960, pp. 112-13) Could your family benefit from these blessings too?
There are many effective ways to study the Book of Mormon. “Scripture PJs” has worked for us. No matter what method you choose, may you be encouraged to immerse your family in the scriptures.
Are you ready to start? Then, GO!