Last week in teacher counsel we talked about how to help our class become more confident in the scriptures. My first thought and my answer was that we need to read them more. Especially personally. By the end of February 2017 I will have read the Book of Mormon cover to cover three times since October 2014. I can personally attest to the fact that the more I have read it, the more that I’m understanding!
In fact, in class last week I had my youth put some verses of scripture ‘in english’ for me. They did amazing!! So as I was pondering, preparing, and studying this weeks lesson I felt the need to get them into the scriptures again.
Today we are talking about how to become spiritual self-reliant. The major body of scripture that they are using to help explain spiritual self-reliance is the parable of the 10 Virgins. I will be honest. I have never quite understood this parable. I always thought that the 10 wise virgins were being kind of selfish and rude. Why not share some of your oil?
But as I studied, watch a video, read conference talks, and talked about it with my dad, I now understand! The wise virgins took the time and made the effort to be full prepared for when Christ came. We need to do the same. No matter the cost. It’s not enough to just skate by and expect that we can lean on someone else’s testimony all the time. We have to search, ponder, and pray and find out for ourselves. We need to truly gain our own testimonies!
Elder Bednar explains it really well in his conference talk from October 2012 titled Converted unto the Lord:
I now want to use one of many possible interpretations of the parable of the ten virgins to highlight the relationship between testimony and conversion. Ten virgins, five who were wise and five who were foolish, took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Please think of the lamps used by the virgins as the lamps of testimony. The foolish virgins took their lamps of testimony but took no oil with them. Consider the oil to be the oil of conversion.
“But the wise took oil [of conversion] in their vessels with their lamps [of testimony].
“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
“And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
“Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps [of testimony].
“And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil [even the oil of conversion]; for our lamps [of testimony are weak and] are gone out.
“But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves” (Matthew 25:4–9).
Were the five wise virgins selfish and unwilling to share, or were they indicating correctly that the oil of conversion cannot be borrowed? Can the spiritual strength that results from consistent obedience to the commandments be given to another person? Can the knowledge obtained through diligent study and pondering of the scriptures be conveyed to one who is in need? Can the peace the gospel brings to a faithful Latter-day Saint be transferred to an individual experiencing adversity or great challenge? The clear answer to each of these questions is no.
As the wise virgins emphasized properly, each of us must “buy for ourselves.” These inspired women were not describing a business transaction; rather, they were emphasizing our individual responsibility to keep our lamp of testimony burning and to obtain an ample supply of the oil of conversion. This precious oil is acquired one drop at a time—“line upon line [and] precept upon precept” (2 Nephi 28:30), patiently and persistently. No shortcut is available; no last-minute flurry of preparation is possible.
“Wherefore, be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and oil with you, that you may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom” (D&C 33:17).
Doesn’t he explain it so well?? Now watch this video clip. Listen to the words in the song at the end.
Maybe you already understood the parable. Maybe you didn’t. But my point here, is that in my daily reading of the scriptures has created this desire in me to learn more and that desire has turned into me really getting into and wanting to understand more. I never read the scriptures while in seminary and only did the basics in institute sadly. But I am grateful for the desires and promptings to study that I have received.
I hope you all have a wonderful Sabbath Day!! ❤