For those of us who took Seminary while in High School, some of our memories may include days spent learning the scriptures that the Church has chosen for the students to memorize.
I remember kids crumpling up the page that the scripture was on so that they could find it more easily during the “Scripture Bowls.” We were tested on our knowledge and had class scripture chase challenges (we would see which row would find the scripture the fastest).
For whatever reason, I was never good at it. The references never really stuck in my head.
Then I became a Seminary Teacher and administered those same games, tests and challenges.
I got better at memorizing, but that’s really because when you spend (approx.) 4 class periods a day, five days a week, for seven years saying;
” Please turn to 1 Nephi 3:7, that’s 1 Nephi 3:7. Where? 1 Nephi 3:7. Come on Sally and Luke, 1 Nephi 3:7. Ok, we’re at 1 Nephi 3:7 everyone – you there yet?” It kind of sticks with you!
When my sister and I were teaching the New Testament together, she would sit down with her guitar and make up a song for each new scripture. I visited her class at some point in the year and there the students were, singing the songs that she had written and loving every minute of it!
While Scripture Mastery study in school is fun and brings back happy and silly memories, the principle of the concept needs to be discussed. This is vital so that one can understand why so much time and effort needs to be put into these scriptures.
Shortly after my mission to Bulgaria, I was on a plane ride to Europe. I worked for Southwest Airlines and got fantastic flight benefits. On the way, I met a man who also worked for an airline. We ended up traveling together, and on the long plane ride to our layover in Iceland, we discussed religion. He was of a different Faith and had recently begun attending the Seminary for his church to become a minister.
He began to ask me question after question about our beliefs, and while I could spout out the doctrine, I was unable to find many of the corresponding scriptures. I kept thinking – “What is wrong with me, I’m a returned missionary!” He knew the New Testament scriptures better than I did, and I was quite embarrassed and frustrated.
In his talk, Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon, General Conference, October 1988, President Benson said:
I have a vision of thousands of missionaries going into the mission field with hundreds of passages memorized from the Book of Mormon so that they might feed the needs of a spiritually famished world.
That quote stayed with me for years. I wondered if I even had the capacity to have hundreds of passages memorized. When I began teaching Seminary, I found that there were 25 passages from each of the standard works – 100 total. A very good place to start.
On the following pages, you’ll find the Church’s Scripture Mastery Lists. They’ll never change, and if you can think of a song or two, maybe you’ll have success in helping yourself and your teenagers memorize the scriptures that can bless the lives of people around them.