Coming Up For Air

Summer is here in all its glory. Yesterday, our two-year-old granddaughter came over to play and we took her swimming. It was great fun to watch her in the water. As we played, I learned two things about her.

  1. She is absolutely fearless. She will jump of the edge of the pool with zero hesitation. She will dive off the steps whenever the thought hits her – even if nobody is paying attention. This can become a bit problematic because…
  2. She doesn’t know how to swim.

It has been a long time since I have had a little one in the pool where I was responsible for their safety. Frankly, that kind of parenting is for younger people.

As I played with her we worked on some of the basics, but there are a few things she has already been taught.

  1. She moved her arms and kicked her legs. Or better said, she thrashed around in the water a lot.
  2. She knew how to monkey-walk like a champ.
  3. She knew how to blow bubbles under the water.

There is one skill she has that I think requires no training, as it is a survival instinct: The drive to do whatever is necessary to come up for air. She did a good job of getting to the surface and taking a breath. I stood next to her with my arms ready to grab her if she wasn’t going to make it, but, more often than not, she got a sip of air without my help. Having raised five kids, you get a feel for when they are in danger, vs when they are learning.

As I mentioned, with summer comes swimming, but at our house, there are a couple of problems that have a history of cropping up in the summer. For example: Last week was the first week since school got out. It was also the first week that we did not have family scripture study in a long time. Not once.

Researchers are back and forth about how long it takes to create a habit. Some say 21 days, others say 66. I don’t know which is correct, but one thing I DO know – I can blow up a well-established habit in ONE day. Piece of cake.

Case in point: We have only been successful in our family scripture study when we do it in the morning, If we try to do it in the evening, or at dinner it falls apart. I am saying that with chagrin and 22 years of family scripture study experience.

When it works: During the school year, the kids get up at some ridiculous hour and get ready for school. About fifteen minutes before they leave, we gather in the living room and read a chapter, then have kneeling family prayer. After they leave, I stay put and that’s when I get my personal reading in, and sometimes a blog post.

When it doesn’t work: During the summer or during holiday breaks, when everyone in the house gets to sleep In later EXCEPT FOR ME, I get up as late as possible, get ready for work, and hit the road. Not only does family scripture study get blown up, my personal does as well.

There have been some summers where we have defied the odds and were quite dependable, but it has been a struggle.  I imagine that most of you don’t wrestle with problems such as this. 😉

As I’m sure most of you know, when President Monson gave what was to be his last General Conference address, he spoke about the importance of reading the Book of Mormon. His final paragraph was this:

“My dear associates in the work of the Lord, I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives. I so testify with all my heart in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

The word “implore” means to “beg someone earnestly or desperately to do something.” (link)

Think about that. The Prophet’s final words to the Church were him begging us to read the Book of Mormon everyday. How did you respond? One person who responded very well was soon to succeed President Monson in his calling as President of the Church. President Russel M. Nelson.

President Nelson’s first General Conference address after the challenge issued by President Monson was about…President Monson’s challenge. (Apparently obedience is a requirement to be the Prophet.) Here is a snippet of what he said:

“My dear brothers and sisters, I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions—every day. I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open, and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life. I promise that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon, you can be immunized against the evils of the day, even the gripping plague of pornography and other mind-numbing addictions.”

A staggering series of blessings promised for reading the Book of Mormon everyday. Can you imagine?

I do know people who have not missed reading their scriptures for a single day – for months, years, 10 years, 20 years, etc. President Henry B. Eyring is one of those people. In the same Conference after President Monson’s challenge he said:

“Like many of you, I heard the prophet’s words as the voice of the Lord to me. And, also like many of you, I decided to obey those words. …I have read the Book of Mormon every day for more than 50 years. So perhaps I could have reasonably thought that President Monson’s words were for someone else. Yet, like many of you, I felt the prophet’s encouragement and his promise invite me to make a greater effort. Many of you have done what I did: prayed with increased intent, pondered scripture more intently, and tried harder to serve the Lord and others for Him.

The happy result for me, and for many of you, has been what the prophet promised. Those of us who took his inspired counsel to heart have heard the Spirit more distinctly. We have found a greater power to resist temptation and have felt greater faith in a resurrected Jesus Christ, in His gospel, and in His living Church.” (link)

I am not one of those people – but I should be. I should be fighting for that spiritual immunization and knowledge like my granddaughter fights for air. It should become a habit, driven by faith, hope and discipline – if not desperation. It should be such that when I miss a day my spirit notices and reminds me.

President Nelson added. “Whenever I hear anyone, including myself, say, “I know the Book of Mormon is true,” I want to exclaim, “That’s nice, but it is not enough!” We need to feel, deep in “the inmost part” of our hearts, that the Book of Mormon is unequivocally the word of God. We must feel it so deeply that we would never want to live even one day without it.” (link) (emphasis added)

While I will never be able to claim that I have read every day for fifty years, the beautiful part is that I can start keeping track today. And if I blow it up tomorrow, then I can start fresh the next.

Can I live and breath the Book of Mormon this summer? I think I can.

Who’s with me?



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  1. I want to, but I also need to keep up with my 12 year old son who is the #2 indexer in our stake! (Second only to the retired gentleman whose calling it is to lead the stake in indexing.)

  2. I have two questions I want to ask Heavenly Father when I next see him. Why is it difficult to establish good habits and so easy to break them? AND Why is it so easy to establish bad habits and so hard to break them? I know it is for our growth and mastery of the flesh, but why is sticking with good spiritual habits so hard?

    1. I’m not Heavenly Father, but I think it is because The Adversary wants us to retain bad habits and does all in his power to encourage them. He hates our good habits and does whatever he can to “nip them in the bud” However, since we have read the end of The Book and know who wins. Yes, the struggle to get there is hard, so very hard, but remember Elder Ellis’ teaching last October General Conference “Hard is Good”.

  3. I’m with you . That was really awesome reminder for those people who are very busy. I travel a lot, I always read the book of Mormon wherever I go. It will recharge my spirit and increase my testimony that this a true church. I am so glad I’m belong to this true church .

  4. Thank you. I love the Book of Mormon. I know it is true. I know we have living prophets, and I love them. BUT, I also am remiss in being intently obedient to President Monson’s, and subsequently, President Nelson’s imploring. BUT, like you, I can start fresh today. I’m so grateful for that gift!

  5. I’ve been so overwhelmed this morning with my responsibilities and fasting about how to bring some balance back into my life. Thank you for this post.

  6. I’m with you! I need to do better. Working in the public school system and getting ready to be out for the summer, I am recommitting to do better during the summer months. If I can master that, I will be doing
    better after school starts. I know there are blessings to doing this, I have felt it. I just need to start again…

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