Intentional Study - Written by Elisa Diotaiuti
When I first heard rumors of church going down from three hours to
two, I didn’t believe it. Then, when it was officially announced, I was even
more shocked that it was actually true. But as Elder Cook explained during
conference the new Come, Follow Me program, it all started to make sense.
An official church announcement stated, “For years Church leaders have
been emphasizing that home is the best place to live, learn, and teach the
gospel, and gospel learning and teaching should be part of our daily lives,
not confined to Sunday classes.”
Still, I started out 2019 with low expectations. How could I replace
essentially an hours-worth of church on my own? We were to study the New
Testament, which is one of the more difficult books of scripture for me. I
didn’t know how I was supposed to get anything out of it. I almost wished
we had stayed with three-hour church!
However, I knew that this program must be inspired from God. If the
prophet approved, I had to at least try my best to follow it. So I did. I read
the assigned chapters. I tried to answer the questions in the manual. I didn’t
always understand each verse, but I did start to make a habit of studying the
scriptures rather than just reading them. Sister Bonnie H. Cordon said, “This
new effort is simply a way for us to be intentional and accountable about
acting on what we are learning—and to focus that growth in the four areas
that the Savior grew: spiritually, socially, physically, and intellectually
(see Luke 2:52). This will bring joy, peace, and lasting happiness to us all as
we follow the Savior!”
The first couple of months were focused on the life of the Savior. I
loved learning about his life and all the miracles he performed. But there is
one specific week that sticks out in my mind. It was the week of Easter.
During that week of study we learned about Christ’s last week before
his crucifixion. We read about all the miracles he performed and how he
prepared his followers for what was to come. As I read the story of how
Jesus suffered in the Garden, I was overcome with emotion. As I continued
to read about his crucifixion, I remember I started crying so much because I
could not even fathom what He went through. And He did it all because He
loves each and every one of us. Never before had I felt such emotion while
reading the scriptures, and I knew the Spirit had been there to help me
realize how important they are in my life.
President Nelson has encouraged us to think about what our life
would be without the Book of Mormon. What knowledge do you have
currently that comes from the scriptures? What lessons have you learned?
How would you think and act if that knowledge was suddenly taken away
from you? Our lives would be so different if we did not have the Book of
Mormon as a guide.
Now, I absolutely love the idea of a “home centered, church
supported” program. I have grown so much spiritually. I would encourage
you all: if you have not started the readings for this year, just start! Begin
with whatever week it is -don’t worry about trying to catch up on the whole
year. If you don’t think you can do it on your own, find a family member,
young women leader, or friend that would be willing to do it with you.
President Nelson has said, “We are each responsible for our own spiritual
growth.” I promise that as you study the Book of Mormon, along with the
Come, Follow Me manual and the Holy Spirit, you will learn so much about
the gospel, our Savior, and your divine purpose in this life.