Reading the Book of Mormon should be a deliberate effort to learn, not a race to see how rapidly we can finish. Start by stabilizing the environment. It may be best to read in the same place, at the same time, and be as free as possible from outside interference.

The guide to effective scripture reading comes from the scriptures themseves. In the Book of Mormon, we read the following: "...feast upon the words of Christ." (2 Ne 32:3); "...he that hath the scriptures, let him search them." (3 Ne. 10:14); "For my soul delighteth in the scriptures and my heart pondereth them." (2 Ne. 4:15); and "...ask God the Eternal Father in the Name of Christ." (Moro. 10:4)These are the key words:

-Feast on the words of Christ by carefully reading and re-reading.

-Search by checking the cross references for additional clarification.

-Ponder outstanding words or phrases by pausing to consider their meaning.

-Ask, according to the exhortation of the Book of Mormon, and seek confirmation of the truths read.

By diligently following this pattern we can becoem as Mormon, receiving "...much knowledge unto the salvation of our souls." (3 ne. 5:20) -H. Marvin Drake, West Point, Utah

How we did it:

Use for problem solving

President Benson has counseled that the problems in our lives could be solved if we would turn to the Book of Mormon for solutions. I have been far more productive in my study of the Book of Mormon since I took his counsel seriously.

Whenever I am faced with a problem, I specifically seek resolution of the problem by studying the Book of Mormon. I generally start with the Topical Guide subjects that are related to the problem and let the references lead me to the solutions. This problem-oriented search through the Topical Guide, coupled with pondering and praying, have generated extremely satisfying results and greatly increased my appreciation of the divinity of the Book of Mormon. For example, I had a lady come to me in total despair. So I started with the Topical Guide looking under the category of hope. She discovered there was some hope, and we were able to build on that. The results in nine months have been nothing short of miraculous.

-John R. Thorderson, Livonia, Mich.

Mornings effective

I have found that for me to get the most from the time I spend studying is to start each study time with prayer and ask for a blessing to understand and retain what I have read. I also have found that my most effective study time is early in the morning rather than late at night when my mind and spirit are tired. I have used several different study aids as companions to my study of the Book of mormon and find that they help me to study rather than just read. Consistency and the spirit with which we study are important. Another excellent way to gain more from studying the Book of Mormon is to make this a family effort. We discuss questions, topics, etc. We learn from one another and the scriptures. --David LO. Hafen, Walla Walla, Wash.

Listen to tapes

I commute 50 miles to work. To take advantage of this quiet time, I play Book of Mormon tapes. I rewind portions I don't readily comprehend, sometimes several times. Hearing the reader's emphasis and inflections increases my understanding of certain passages.

Also during the day, I have moments to ponder the words I have listened to that morning. Then in my evening personal study, I read the portion that I listened to that morning. --Jerry A. Hann, Palmer, Alaska

Allow for meditation

I have found early morning to be the best time for me to study the Book of Mormon. My mind is clear, and I'm able to focus on what I'm reading. During this time I have no distractions. I start out by allowing myself a few minutes of meditation. I then pray for the Spirit to guide me as I study. Generally my scripture study lasts about 20 minutes. I follow a course of study, but sometimes I read scriptures on specific topics when preparing talks or pondering problems. There's spiritual power in reading scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon. A person can't study them in the morning without gaining something to apply in his life throughout that day. --Rulon C. Chandler, Wendell, Idaho

Study prayerfully

Having just begun teaching a Book of Mormon institute class, I am working at more effectively implementing the following when studying and teaching the Book of Mormon:

-Study prayerfully. Seek the guidance of the Spirit in developing an understanding of what the writer was trying to communicate and how it applies to us today.

-Identify specific ways while reading the Book of Mormon in which you can change your life or help another as a result of studying the Book of Mormon. Write these down. Communicate them to your Heavenly Father and, if possible, to another close friend.

-Choose sound methods to fix the information you have read in your mind. One way of doing this is to teach the most important concepts of what you have read to someone else. Scripture memorization is another good method. My students and I are memorizing a scripture passage each week and are beginning to delight in being able to quote a fair repertoire to each other. --Wilford J. Teerlink, Waynesboro, Va.

Bear testimony of it

It's important to highlight the Book of Mormon when we bear testimony. We shouldn't just say the Book of Mormon is the word of God, but we also should be able to testify to the truthfulness of the messages of specific scriptures and prophets.

Emphasize the principles of the Book of Mormon in your own life and the lives of others around you. The Book of Mormon should be in our minds and hearts, and we sould use it in our preaching and teaching. Ponder and pray about the Book of Mormon, and look for ways to translate its message into our daily lives by being humble, charitable, helping the poor and the elderly, and being an example. --James I. Kamaka Sr., Nanakuli, Hawaii

Be consistent, flexible

These are three ideas that have helped me in getting more out of my study of the Book of Mormon:

-Be consistent in your schedule. Find a time that is good for you and do it at that time every day.

-Be flexible in the amount to be read. Make it enjoyable. Don't set strict goals to read a specific number of pages or a specific number of chapters. Allow yourself the latitude to read a chapter, several verses, a single verse or study a particular topic.

-Be prayerful. Ask for guidance and understanding. -Robert L. Bills, Englewood, Colo.

WRITE TO US

Jan. 16 "How to overcome a bad habit."

Jan 23 "How to restore a family relationship gone awry."

Jan. 30 "How to maintain spirituality when one must work on Sunday."

Feb. 6 "How to influence and help grandchildren without being meddlesome."

Feb. 13 "How to avoid placing too much importance on appearance."

Feb. 20 "How to help someone who has been disfellowshipped or excommunicated."

Feb. 27 "How to have an enjoyable dating relationship when there are few or no Church members to date."

March 5 "How to identify a spiritual prompting"

March 12 "How to draw closer as a family through family home evening."

March 19 "How to develop self-reliance and independence."

Have you had good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110. Contributors may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

How to checklist:

1 Seek spiritual guidance by praying and pondering.

2 Set aside a consistent time, place, routine for study.

3 Search for information on specific problem subjects.

4 Share what you learn with your family and friends.