If you haven’t had a chance to look over the new Handbook of Instruction, it is readily available online here, and I think it is important that all of us as members of the Church (regardless of our callings) study its contents.
The introduction states that the purpose of the handbook is to help leaders understand their duties in the Church, but I think that as members of the Church we can also learn our duties as members by studying this handbook, not to mention prepare ourselves for opportunities to serve, since the handbook describes the responsibilities for every calling in a ward or branch.
The introduction quotes Doctrine & Covenants 107:99 “Let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.” This is the opening line of the handbook, and I think it is very appropriate. By learning our duty, we can act in all diligence.
I also reviewed Elder Dallin H. Oak’s talk at the worldwide leadership training broadcast (find it here). He suggests that we read the first three chapters of the Handbook – Chapter 1: Families and the Church in God’s Plan, Chapter 2: Priesthood Principles, and Chapter 3: Leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ. Elder Oaks states, "They are doctrinally based on the scriptures. They are extremely important.” Of the rest of the handbook, Elder Oaks reminds us that “handbooks do not have the same standing as the scriptures” but quotes President Thomas S. Monson who teaches us that “There is safety in the handbooks.”
I am looking forward to studying the Handbook in more depth this year. Hopefully my study will lead me to other topics that I can study as well. I am also going to start reading Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage (again) and include that as part of my study, along with a more thorough study of the scriptures.
I may even start taking the Women in the Scriptures challenge… we’ll see.
What things do you include in your scripture study? Do you simply read and study as you go, or do you pick out a specific topic? Or try to find an answer to a specific question that you have?