Ever wondered how other people study the scriptures? Me too! I’m interviewing well-known LDS people about their perspective on Scripture study in hopes to help each of us be inspired and improve our own Scripture study. If you have someone you would like me to interview, add a comment!
Al Fox Carraway is my hero. Her love for The Book of Mormon is contagious and inspiring. If you haven’t read her story, pick up her new book “More than the Tattooed Mormon”, which is about her life’s journey of conversion, building a personal relationship with God, and her love for the scriptures.
Here’s the interview with Al Fox Carraway!
What is your favorite scripture?
Al: 3 Nephi 13:33: “Seek ye first the kingdom of god and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
How did that become your favorite?
Al: It was right when I joined the church and everything started to go horribly wrong and trials came in full force and I had no one’s support. No family. Lost all of my friends. I read it and my whole body started to tingle. It was in that moment I knew that no matter what happens, if we put God first, our trials and losses, our lonely times will be made up to us. And it would be not just okay but better than what we ever had in mind, better than before the hard times had even started. It was this scripture that I held on to by my fingertips with all the energy I had left, when it felt like I was being pulled by my ankles in the opposite direction. It was this scripture that helped me to use this faith I wasn’t sure I had at times.
What is your favorite way to study the scriptures? Cover to cover, by topics, or something else?
Al: I read cover to cover. I feel like I waste too much time wondering ‘where should I start’, ‘what should I look up’, if I do it any other way other than cover to cover. And when I finish I say a quick prayer to see if I should read the Book of Mormon over again or if I should do Doctrine and Covenants. (I read the Bible regularly too, but not daily like our triple combination). And I start again that very day.
What helps you to study the scriptures every day?
Al: Contrast & passion. I have learned long ago that if I don’t read from them every day I don’t have the best days. I act and react and think differently. I’m not as patient. I’m not as happy. I don’t want to do that to myself, haha. Just set goals and make habits. The reality is we have a spirit living inside of us & it’s crucial to feed it. Scriptures heal hurting hearts and wounded souls.
When do you do your scripture study? Morning, night, or some other time?
Al: I set my alarm earlier in the day to make time to read scriptures first thing in the morning–when the world is quiet but the Spirit is not. Sets the tone for the rest of the day for myself and it’s a guarantee to make sure it doesn’t get pushed aside with other things the day brings. I wrote a blog post called 5 Ways To Make More Time For The Scriptures, which may be the best answer to this question.
What are some interesting or unique ways you mark the scriptures?
Al: Every time I read the scriptures I read a new copy (and by new I mean an unmarked set. Can be the free ones the missionaries hand out, or for like a quarter at D.I. or any kind of donation centers like Salvation Army). So that every time I read it other markings wont be there to influence my thinking, but will allow the Spirit to talk to me differently each time and I learn and notice new things a lot more that way. Then when I finish I put them into my nice leather set. I’m not shy with my markings, they’re meant to be personalized. It’s a teaching aid.
What is one of your first memories with the Scriptures?
Al: I’m a convert. So I didn’t start reading the scriptures until I met the missionaries right before my 21st birthday. I only read the Book of Mormon because I wanted to prove to them that nothing would happen form it. It didn’t make much sense to me at first, but just the act of reading gives you strength. Others noticed it before I ever did. Long story short, I got baptized, and when I did I lost all my friends, my family stopped talking to me and my co-workers would lock in my an office, tell me I’m an awful person now, and made me watch these untrue videos about the church. I would hide the Book of Mormon in my pants so I could have it everywhere I went. Every time things got hard, every single second that I had free, every day, I would pull the Book of Mormon out of my pants and I would read it. every second I could of every day. And not once did my situation change because of it, well-not really. But every single time I was given the strength & the knowledge to be able to handle what I was going through. That book, that is where strength comes from. I don’t know what I’d do without that book.
What are your traditions for watching and studying General Conference?
Al: It’s different now that I’m in Utah. Back in New York where I’m from we would go to the Stake Center to watch it and I’d get all dressed up and buy a new journal and a new dress out of excitement and would share the chapel with the whole mission and watch it with about 100 missionaries. Now in Utah as a family we stay home to watch it together. My husband and I each have a separate conference journal we use just for this. We pray together and separately before each session starts, and at the end of conference weekend we go on a walk around our neighborhood or go to temple grounds to sit, and we tell each other and go over the notes we took for each talk. I also wrote a blog post that would answer this too called 9 Ways To Get More Out Of General Conference.
Who is your favorite General Authority and why?
Al: President Packer and Elder Scott. But now I need new favorites…
Who is your favorite Prophet of all time and why?
Al: Easy. Joseph Smith. He’s who I learned about 1st as I was learning about the church. I admire him more than I have words adequately enough to express. And living in New York, about 30 minutes from the Palmyra sites, I would go to the sacred grove and Joseph Smith’s farm and the Hill Cumorah with the elders for my lessons, it’s hard to not feel connected to him.
Have a well-known LDS blogger, artist, or person you’d like to be interviewed about their scripture study? Let me know in the comments!