The Book That Inspires, Teaches, Changes

I teach my first class of the school year today. I’ve prepared all summer, reading the text for the course every day, even if it was just a little. Ten minutes per day adds up but not very quickly. Two weeks ago I was only half way. In a burst of panic that I might not finish it, I read the book for two days—straight to the end.

“There,” I said when I finished. “Now, I’m ready.”

But, yesterday, when I sat down to outline my lesson for the first day, I felt like I’d never read this book or taught before. I pondered, Was this feeling to sway me from what I’ve already learned in the last two years of teaching? Or was this just an out-of-practice feeling?

No, I concluded, the pause I took after I studied the material but before I determined how to teach was different. The blank page of paper in front of me did not bring anxiety, lack of confidence or inexperience. Instead, the opportunity and responsibility to teach this book—which always inspires, teaches and changes me—brought humility to my lesson prep.

I felt in those moments as if I was living this saying, the more I learn, the more I learn how little I know, which is an English translation of thoughts widely attributed to Socrates.

Still, I’m eager to continue the process, even if I grow smaller each time. One thing I do know is that I learn more when I read or listen and then express that understanding in writing or speech, especially about matters of the spirit.

As I’ve taught a daily seminary class to teenagers in the past, I’ve shared my feelings from both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible here on my blog. The Bible provides a common context for my writing about spirituality with many of you, my readers, who are not members of the LDS Church.

The Book Of MormonThis year the Book of Mormon is the course of study for the students in my class. For those of you not familiar with the Book of Mormon,

It is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel.

My study of the Book of Mormon enhances my testimony of Jesus Christ and strengthens my faith in him, just as my study of the Bible does. When I teach religious education to young people, we constantly relate these truths to everyday life. These connections inspire me personally, and I want to write about them.

You may read my insights here on my blog and wonder about my references. For this reason, I’ve posted a link on my sidebar where you can find more information and answers about this book. I’m also open to questions and comments you may have about the Book of Mormon or my faith. I’ll try to explain and share in an open and respectful way and invite you to do the same.

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