'I Know the Scriptures Are True' is 2011 sharing time theme
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"There is nothing in this world more precious than your children. … Teach your children when they are very young and small and never quit" (President Gordon B. Hinckley, "Your Greatest Challenge, Mother," October 2000 general conference).
When we teach children from the scriptures they recognize the Spirit of the Holy Ghost and the Spirit will teach them the truth of all things. Even a young child can know the scriptures are true. Clinging to the rod, the word of God, they will walk the path back to their Heavenly Father. Life's challenges won't loosen, they will only intensify their grip.
The Primary sharing time theme for 2011 is, "I Know the Scriptures Are True." In Primary, children will be taught gospel principles from the scriptures each week. A Primary leader may ask, "Where do we learn about this principle in the scriptures?"
Children are amazing. Even young children can distinguish a Book of Mormon story from a New Testament story. What they are taught in their homes is reaffirmed in Primary. Children often bounce on their seats with their hands in the air to share what they know about a scripture story they have been taught in family home evening or while reading the scriptures with their families. President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, said, "Scripture study works well only if your children know you love the scriptures and they also know as individuals that you love them" (Ensign, July 2005, pp. 22–26). Like a dictionary, they turn to the scriptures as a resource to define their lives.
When the Lord commanded Lehi that Nephi and his brothers should return to Jerusalem for the plates of brass it was for a "wise purpose." Thousands of years later it has provided for us an opportunity to teach our children the word of God. At the time, Nephi's brothers murmured saying, "it is a hard thing" that was required of them. Nephi replied, "I have not required it, … it is a commandment of the Lord" (1 Nephi 3:5). Too often, as families today, we too respond, "It is a hard thing." Finding time to read the scriptures together as a family is not easy. Yet when one considers that every member of the Church age 8 and above is currently studying the New Testament, just think of the scriptural discussions families could have this year. It's never too late to begin the consistent tradition of reading the scriptures together.
One young mother was attempting to read the scriptures to her three young children, the oldest being only 3 years old. President Hinckley had asked the members of the Church to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. As she was reading, the baby was fussing and she wasn't sure any of them were old enough to get anything out of her reading. She stopped and in frustration asked, "Do you even understand anything that I am reading?" They were reading about keeping the commandments so she asked the 3-year-old son, "Do you even know what it means to keep the commandments?" Her 3-year-old, who attended the nursery, looked at her and in his quiet voice began to sing, "I will go I will do the thing the Lord commands." Yes, they do. Our reading the scriptures, even one verse at a time, does penetrate into their hearts the words of our Heavenly Father. The faith it takes as a parent to simply do it will invite the Spirit of the Holy Ghost to permeate their hearts and our homes. Reading the scriptures with children is like learning a foreign language. In time the natural rhythm of the words and the interpretation become clear. Alma compared the word unto a seed. Even among children the word "beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me" (Alma 32:28).
This restored gospel of Jesus Christ was brought about by a young boy, Joseph Smith, at age 14 reading the scripture, James 1:5. Reading the Bible was a part of his family life. He believed the scriptures were true and turned first to them for counsel. His answer was, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God."
Scriptures and prayer go hand in hand. As with Joseph, scriptures and prayer can open the door to personal revelation. The wise parents of a young girl, age 11, sought prayer as to how to help their daughter with her schoolwork. She could not seem to grasp the concept of reading, and she was getting more and more behind. Their daughter was very unhappy at school. The answer came through a parent's prayer. They were given an understanding of how precious their daughter was to the Lord and the challenge she was going through. The father gave his daughter a blessing and promised her that if she would read the Book of Mormon every day and not miss, the Lord would bless her and she would be able to read better. The mother was prompted to check her daughter out of school every day at lunchtime, so they could have the time together for one hour and during that time read the Book of Mormon. She began to be much happier at school and improved her reading skills to the point that she scored two levels higher than before. But the greatest reward was she gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon. That testimony of the scriptures is filtering to her four boys as they now read the Book of Mormon each day.
At the Primary age of 10, Mormon, "a sober child and quick to observe," was given the challenge to prepare for the future when he would abridge and add to the "sacred engravings … that they may come forth in the Lord's due time." We are living in the "Lord's due time."
Now is the time to cling to those sacred engravings and teach them to our children in Primary and as families within our homes. Ask your children who attend Primary, "What did you learn in Primary today? When did you feel the Spirit of the Holy Ghost? Do you know where we learn that principle in the scriptures?" "For my soul delighteth in the scriptures and my heart pondereth them" (2 Nephi 4:15). The real learning for children takes place as they "ponder" or share their understanding with others. Children will increase their listening skills, and they will be prepared to share their "ponderings" with more depth because parents inquire.
There is nothing more precious than our children.
The Primary presidency, in sharing time this year, joins with families to hold on to each child as we walk the path together. As we ponder the scriptures, we confirm, "I know the scriptures are true."