Jenni and I were talking amongst ourselves, and we decided to set some not-New-Years-resolutions (goals, we’ll call them goals; Jenni thinks that New Years resolutions are doomed to fail haha). One that we fell on was finding a way to make our scripture study less mechanical. Lately, we just read our chapter before bed, struggling to get through the verses before our yawns turn to snores (or maybe that’s just me!)
One idea we had is to perhaps cut back on how much we read and up how much we talk about what we read, with some help from the Sunday School lesson manual for a few beginning points. We also thought occasionally doing some writing would help spark some life into as well, so we settled on a biweekly (as in every two weeks) blog post here!
We spent this evening discussing the visit of the angel Moroni to Joseph Smith in preparation to receiving and translating the Book of Mormon. This included the first visit to Joseph in his home, and the follow-up visits every year for four years before receiving the plates.
The importance of repetition.
Isn’t it interesting that when Moroni appeared to Joseph, he came three times? And a major portion of the message didn’t vary a single word? For me personally, I tend to loathe repetition and value novelty (oh look! shiny!)– especially in Church. I get disgruntled when a sacrament talk in largely quoted from a conference talk of a general authority.
And– to repeat the well-known lesson– repetition serves a purpose, and you need to be humble enough to use it as a learning opportunity. I’m sure Joseph did; having an angel appear must have been a surprise, and he may have spaced out the first time the angel appeared. The second time, he could start to construct the basic ideas Moroni was getting across. And the third time, Joseph probably could remember it well enough that he could write it down, some of it verbatim, as he does in his history.
Psyching yourself out
We’ve all had a time when a parent, a mentor, or leader, told us that we could do something or that we would do something, and we didn’t feel we could. I feel a good dose of imposter syndrome every day at school, conducting research, writing papers. The beginning is always hard. I could imagine Joseph feeling the same thing, as Moroni told him he had a work for him to do, that he’d translate an ancient record, and that his name would be known for good and ill the whole world over. You feel so small! Where am I even supposed to start?
But great expectations inevitably bring that. We change, we grow, we learn. As we do, we see the world differently. We can reflect back on our prior experiences and see what brought us to where we are. I’m sure that some of the things Moroni taught Joseph weren’t fully internalized until much later and are learned with much reflection. Jenni reminded me of the time when we were married. We thought our wedding day would be one of deep spiritual profoundness. But you don’t hear much of the ceremony, as you’re being whisked from one room to another. We tried to take in as much as we can, but the special-ness and the lessons didn’t fully settle until we were able to reflect upon them.
This first one has been fun! I hope we can keep doing it!