For Christmas this year I received a new piece of technology with a retro flair. It’s a combination radio, tape player, CD player/burner, and record player. For years I’ve had a stack of records in storage, waiting for their fate to be decided. Down to the family room they came this year, just in time for the holidays. It took me way back to listen to the Christmas albums that use to announce the arrival of the season when we were kids. (Tennessee Ernie Ford, Perry Como, Julie Andrews, Barbara Streisand, and of course Bing Crosby).
I couldn’t wait to play some of the old records for my grandkids. Surprisingly to me, none of them had ever seen a record before. “Is that a giant CD Grandma?” was the comment made several times. They were all quite fascinated as they gazed down into the phonograph and watched the record go round and round.
As I enjoyed my new fangled machine it sparked my memory of some other records I’d grown up with, records that have long since gone to the Deseret Industries. Family scripture study was a Sunday morning activity for my family. This dedicated time often involved the playing of a very impressive set of beautiful Gold Records. On Sunday mornings the nine of us would gather in the living room and listen to the Book of Mormon being read through the phonograph in a beautiful and most majestic manner.
The last time I remember having anything to do with the Gold Records was as a freshman at BYU. I had taken the freshman Book of Mormon class but failed to actually read the Book of Mormon. So the day before the final I went home and got the Gold Records and brought them back to Heritage Halls. I figured that if I listened night and day I could finish before the final exam. I remember being in my dorm room and putting on the first record. My first thought was, “This will never do!” The reading certainly was still majestic but it was far too slow for my goal. “I can fix this problem,” I thought. “I’ll just turn up the speed on the record player.” For the next many hours I listened to the Book of Mormon being read in the voice akin to Alvin the Chipmunk. I’m sure I accomplished my goal, which was to be able to answer honestly to my professor that I had read The Book, but it was far from being a spiritual experience. Although I was closer to getting a descent grade, I was no closer to God when I finished than I was when I began.
I’m sure I’m not entirely unique. Like many other members of the Church I grew up with plenty of opportunities to connect with the word of God. I knew all the stories in the Old and New Testaments. My parents conducted regular Family Nights. There were four years of Seminary and four years of religion at BYU, not to mention the Gold Records, but something was definitely missing!
I vividly remember the day and the experience that set in motion a change in me, and in my desire to really connect with the word of the Lord in scripture. I had become miserable over my struggle with compulsive eating. I had been introduced to the 12 Steps as a way to come unto Christ and receive the help I so desperately needed. This way of life, this manner of living the Gospel promised to help me solve a problem that had baffled me for decades.
One Sunday I was sitting in Relief Society and my attention drifted from the teacher to the picture on the wall next to the blackboard. It was the picture of Mary and Martha, the one where Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus devouring His words to her, while Martha looks on in frustration. Thinking of Mary, I directed this thought toward Heaven. “I want to be like her Lord.” Deep inside I knew that in order to make any lasting change I needed to be like her. I needed to love the word of God more than anything or any one else. To my surprise, my divinely directed desire was greeted with a return feeling. If I were to put the feeling in word they would be, “Nannette, developing this kind of Mary-like, loving communication with the Lord is a very real possibility. The scriptures are the key”
I went to the office supply store and purchased 12-colored pencils, one for each of the 12 gospel principles represented by the steps. I took my new scriptures, the ones I had never marked, because I was afraid I might do it wrong and mess them up, and I began to color them for the steps that promised to change me. In my journal I recorded what the verses or the stories had to do with me and my life and the personal application of the 12 Steps. I did this day after day and as I did I began to change.
It doesn’t seem to matter how shiny the Gold Records are, or how majestically each verse is read, or how dressed up and leather bound our scriptures are. It doesn’t seem to matter whether we have Internet, I pod, MP3 or Palm pilot scripture capability or how many bells and whistles we have at our finger tips to help us reference and cross reference. The scriptures become new life to us only when they get inside us and wrap themselves around every aspect of our lives. The only completely reliable technology for that operation is the working of the Spirit of the Lord.
This miracle happened in my life when I became needy enough to want to devour the scriptures for myself. They finally penetrated my heart, and my life has been greatly blessed. Somehow those shiny Gold Records got inside of me, and when they did I became a different person than the girl who was satisfied to listen to the Book of Mormon at high speed for a grade.
By Nannette W.
Posted Thursday, March 5, 2009
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