Flipping through the Scriptures

A couple of years ago, we had a high councilor visit our ward and suggest the we should occasionally just flip open the scriptures to a random spot and start reading. He promised us that if we did that we would be able to read something that will be very meaningful to us as a means of revelation to us (or words to that effect).

Normally I would feel that this is a bunch of hogwash. I would feel that way because of two reasons. One is that many people are so desperate for something - anything - that they could find meaning in flipping open a cookbook at random and start reading. There have been people I have known that I am sure would find deep spiritual meaning for themselves in just such an experiment. The other reason is that the scriptures are pretty good. And that if you read about any chapter in the scriptures there is bound to be something of value there.

Well, shortly after this high council visit I found myself waiting for an interview or something, and decided that while I was waiting I would try this experiment. Mainly I wanted to prove it wrong instead of right. So I was about to flip open the scriptures when I stopped and thought - what if I decide what it is that I would like to read about before I opened the scriptures instead of after. That would be a better test! So I thought about what I would like to read about.

I first decided that I would like to read about patience in prayer. At the time I had been praying for a blessing from the Lord for a long time, and was wondering how long I should wait for Him to bless me. I then thought about being a United States citizen. At the time I had been reading some things that brought out many criticisms people had made about the United States. I am very proud of my country and consider it the best country in the history of the world, and was wondering if I was justified in feeling that way - I would like to read about that. And then I thought of one other related thing. This was happening when the United States was first starting its operations in Iraq. What is the will of the Lord concerning one country going to war with another country? How should I feel about what we were doing in Iraq? I would like to read about that as well.

So with these three items in mind I decided to flip open my triple combination somewhere in the middle and start reading. My thumb stopped on D&C 98 and I began to read. At the first of this section we read:

1 VERILY I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks;
2 Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded with this seal and testament—the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted.

Wow, that was pretty good. That answered item #1 so I kept reading. A few verses later we read:

5 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.
6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;
7 And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.
8 I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.
9 Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.

Amazing! I was really feeling something at this point. I continued and found this:

32 Behold, this is the law I gave unto my servant Nephi, and thy fathers, Joseph, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, and all mine ancient prophets and apostles.
33 And again, this is the law that I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them.
34 And if any nation, tongue, or people should proclaim war against them, they should first lift a standard of peace unto that people, nation, or tongue;
35 And if that people did not accept the offering of peace, neither the second nor the third time, they should bring these testimonies before the Lord;
36 Then I, the Lord, would give unto them a commandment, and justify them in going out to battle against that nation, tongue, or people.
37 And I, the Lord, would fight their battles, and their children’s battles, and their children's children's, until they had avenged themselves on all their enemies, to the third and fourth generation.
38 Behold, this is an ensample unto all people, saith the Lord your God, for justification before me.

Are you kidding me?! All three of my predetermined issues were all directly answered in one section of the D&C. I had never experienced anything like that before. It taught me the God is in control and can even guide where my thumb happens to stop while flipping through the scriptures. This was a great experience for me. You should try it sometime.


At 12/09/2005, Blogger Kim Siever said...

That's petty cool. Welcome to the Bloggernacle.

At 12/09/2005, Blogger Eric Nielson said...

Thank you for your kind comment and for visiting my blog.

At 12/09/2005, Blogger NFlanders said...

I tried it but I got the Topical Guide. I guess that's better than the Gazetteer though.

At 12/10/2005, Blogger Eric Nielson said...

Better luck next time Ned. Perhaps you were supposed to read on an entire topic :)

At 12/12/2005, Anonymous J. Stapley said...

This has a technical term: bibliomancy. It is a form of divination. Most people in the church are a little wary of other forms of divination, but this makes it by because it is hard to argue with reading the scriptures.

At 12/12/2005, Blogger Eric Nielson said...


I agree. I was a little wary about posting this, a little like priestcraft. But it had such a direct positive result for me it was hard to argue with.


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