Monday, January 5, 2009

Mark E. Beecher's Education Week Address

I stumbled across this article last month and thought a reprint might prove helpful. The article (written by Lacie Hales) summarizes an Education Week speech about scripture study given by Mark E. Beecher. Brother Beecher is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology in the Counseling and Career Center at BYU.

"Classes during Education Week offer a variety of topics for people to sharpen different skills.

"Mark E. Beecher is giving a series of classes to help people improve their scripture study habits.

"He said he would focus on techniques later in the week, but he wanted to spend Tuesday's class focusing on the "why" of scripture study.

"'I hope there is a deeper 'why' when we're done,' he said.

"Beecher said his classes aren't going to be as much lecture as other classes during the week because he wants participants to take responsibility for their own learning.

"He started the class with a story about a boy who dove for pearls. One pearl he found was exquisite, and after many offers, he decided it wasn't for sale. He had the pearl set into an engagement ring for the girl he loved. One day she happened into a jewelry store and was offered a trade for a very expensive diamond setting.

"Beecher stopped there and asked the audience if she should trade the ring.

"The reaction from the class was that the ring had more than monetary value because of the personal relationship it represented. Beecher said the scriptures represent a similar relationship between people and God.

"'It's not about being intellectually stimulating,' he said. 'It's about a relationship.'

"Beecher gave the class a formula for studying the scriptures and then had the class separate into groups to apply the formula.

"First, he said to find the promise contained in the scripture.

"Second, find the verb that describes how to receive what is promised.

"Last, he said to evaluate what those two things teach about scripture study.

"Beecher then asked a few people to share what they had learned from their groups. He said he didn't want to be a teacher, but a guide in the learning process.

"'That's the power of the scriptures,' he said.

"Beecher shared a quote from a leader in the LDS church that compared scripture study to an interview with Deity.

"'It's more than just study,' Beecher said. 'It's about building a relationship with God.'

"Beecher said it is important to learn to be like the Savior, not just learn about him in the scriptures."

Scripture of the Day: 1 Nephi 15:25


Comments are much appreciated!