Friday, August 19, 2011

Illiteracy, It Hurts

As you can probably tell from this poster, illiteracy can sometimes hurt. Because that poor penguin couldn't read the words or understand the symbols, he was left with a bruised head and a bruised ego. In the United States the literacy rate is 99% meaning that only 1% of the population cannot read or write. Compare that with places such as South Sudan with a literacy rate of only 27%. Imagine that, 1 out of 4 people can read a sign, a document, a book, or anything else written!

In an April General Conference address, Elder Christofferson presented the idea of another kind of illiteracy: scriptural illiteracy.
Many people may be able to read, but are they taking time to read the scriptures? Many people may read the scriptures, but do they really understand and apply what they read? One of my favorite things that the video below points out is that the Lord has given us greater access to the scriptures than any other time in history. Therefore, how great is the importance of our study and learning from them. Back in William Tyndale's day, getting access to the word of God was either expensive or illegal. To have him give his life to provide the rest of England with the scriptures, obviously shows us how important they were to him. As a missionary, I've been blessed with the opportunity of studying the scriptures everyday. Back home I enjoyed them, but now I've developed a love of them. Before I could see that it was a good thing to do, but now I see that it is one of the fastest ways to invite the Spirit into our lives and come closer to our Heavenly Father. If we'll just put in the time with them, we will understand how much of a blessing they are and how grateful we are to have them. We will come closer to our Savior and literally change into the kind of person he would have us be. I can promise this because I've not only seen it in my life, I've seen in the lives of those around me. God does live and He's given us the road map to our lives, if we'll only read it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Crossword Puzzles

Last year while I was at college, I spent time in between classes working on solving the crossword in the local paper. I always loved doing it because it was a challenge to see if I could work my way around the puzzle figuring out how things fit together. At times I would get frustrated because it seemed like there was no possible way that "pood" is a word and therefore all my other words must be wrong too. When I would see the solutions the next day, I would find that not only is "pood" a word (it's a Russian weight) but I would also be surprised at how simple some of my missing answers were. Apparently I would spend hours over thinking the clues when in reality the answers were simple, clear, and made sense.

Just as with crosswords, it can seem as if our lives are one big board full of empty squares that we have to fill in. When we work on it alone, it may seem that none of it makes sense or we may miss the meaning all together. Luckily, however, we have the solution key: the scriptures. Through the holy scriptures, God has given us the answers to the questions in life as well as the path we should follow. As we read and apply them in our lives today we can see how things like "grace", "faith", and "repentance" work together in the puzzle of our mortal lives: 


Even though it may seem hard at times, I know that if I'll just turn to the answers, I realize that it isn't nearly as complicated as I thought. God loves each and every one of us and has shown us the path and "key" that we should follow if we are willing to seek his word from the holy scriptures.