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#BYUDevo: Associate Professor Todd Parker outlines four doctrines of scripture study

“Draw upon the word daily, let the words of Christ tell you all things you should do, and drive darkness from your life,” said BYU Associate Professor of Ancient Scripture Todd Parker at the BYU Devotional Tuesday. Parker filled the Marriott Center with an excited buzz through personal anecdotes, quick-winded doctrine and scriptural love.

Deriving from Elder Boyd K. Packer’s advice that “the study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior,” Parker explored four points of doctrine to help our daily lives and testimonies of the Gospel improve.

Principle #1: Draw upon the power of the word daily 

One year while Parker was teaching seminary he asked his students to write down their testimonies at the beginning and at the end of the school year. During the year, he challenged them to pray every morning and evening and read a chapter of scripture every day. At the end of the year several students shared with him the remarkable transformation and growth of their testimonies from doubt to strong faith.

"There is power in the word that can be drawn upon daily," Parker said. 

Principle #2: Let the scriptures and the Holy Ghost tell you all things that you should do

Parker told the story of finding a new home in Arizona. After days of struggling to find the right home, Parker dropped down to his knees and humbly prayed over his scriptures when a phrase from the book of Ether popped out to him: "And I also remembered that thou has said thou hast prepared a house" (Ether 12:32).

Parker said he was immediately comforted as he knew that the Lord had prepared a house for him, shown by letting the scriptures guide him through the Holy Ghost.

The next morning Parker found peace in a home that had a for sale sign posted for “some reason” earlier that very morning.

“I testify that through the words of scripture and the Holy Ghost you can be told and shown all things you should do,” Parker said.

Principle #3: Use the scriptures to chase darkness from your life 

When “at the bottom” of depression and despair, Parker encouraged students to turn toward the scriptures to find both blessings and encouragement.

“I do know that when I was finally compelled to act and not be acted upon it was the keystone (the Book of Mormon) that led me back to the cornerstone (Jesus Christ),” Parker said paraphrasing 2 Nephi 2:26.

Principle #4: During scripture study search for types of Christ 

“When we can grasp the idea that Christ is the master teacher, the universe is His classroom, and the curriculum is the Atonement, we will never read the scriptures the same again,” Parker said, adding to the idea that the universe was designed to testify of Christ.

Parker closed with a “heartfelt plea” to students to heed to the promptings of the Spirit, and to improve life through scripture study.

“My challenge to you is to study the scriptures daily, draw upon the word daily, let the words of Christ tell you all things you should do, and drive darkness from your life.”

If you missed Parker's address, it can be streamed on demand at BYUtv.org and will be available on speeches.byu.edu

Next Week’s Forum:

The next BYU Forum address will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 27, at 11:05 a.m., in the Marriott Center. President of Pixar and Disney Animation Ed Catmull will deliver the address. Catmull's address will NOT be broadcast on BYUtv or BYUtv.org. 

Following Catmull's remarks at approximately 11:55 a.m., in the Marriott Center, the latest animated short created by the students in the BYU Center for Animation will be previewed. Ram's Horn was submitted recently for consideration for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences College Television Awards (colloquially known as the Student Emmys). BYU productions have won 16 Emmys in the last 11 years

A question and answer session with Catmull will start at noon, also in the Marriott Center.

Catmull will speak on the “creative culture,” or the idea that many think creativity is the result of singular genius. However, the reality of creativity is far more complex and interesting, and the central issues for us are removing hidden barriers to creativity and candor. 

The current culture pays special attention to protecting barely formed ideas, to balancing technology and art, and to getting the job done. But instead, we need to give thoughtful attention to that culture itself, for out of this culture arises new technology, new ideas and new artistic expression.

Writer: Jenna Randle

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