The Need to Study
by Rae Simmons
The feeling that I had a responsibility to study began when I reread my patriarchal blessing one summer, under the urging of the Spirit-when I finally allowed myself to hold it up as a guide for my spiritual growth. I might insert here that my blessing uses some very powerful language as to how the Lord would like to use me for his work if I allow him to do so. And there are some very specific guidelines to follow to this end. I mention this because the first and foremost instruction is to study.
The best reason I can put forth for the importance of study is in Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."
Like many of us, I had no real idea how to begin. I asked my pastor and a couple of other friends for suggestions, and I made a sincere effort to begin.
Recently, I read some words by Thelona Stevens that struck a very personal chord. In an article about her efforts to learn to study she refers to "the dreaded hour" she'd set aside for study. She said it was such a chore at first, she really didn't learn a lot because her comprehension was very limited. Then she realized she hadn't ever asked her Heavenly Father for help. She'd been struggling because, as she said, she had no one to study with, she had no one to help her, and she had no teacher. It was a long time before she realized she did have a wonderful teacher-her Heavenly Father (see Recent Book of Mormon Developments, vol. 1, 1984:103-104).
This is what I've found in my own life. The Lord has guided me through every step of my efforts. Looking back I can see that he has used my friends and family to direct my course. They have sent me tapes, reading material and have referred me to certain books. The depth of my material has grown as I have grown and my knowledge has increased.