The first volume of 5000+ Questions to Apply the Scriptures to Your Life contains inspired questions for nearly every verse from 1 Nephi to Alma 29 to help you understand and apply the magnificent teachings contained therein. These are not factual questions that require great knowledge to answer. Instead, they are open-ended, application-focused, and deep questions that require only the ability to ponder, a desire to learn from the Spirit, and the humility to change as you strive to more fully live the gospel. The 5000 answers you come up with have the power to help you become more like the Savior, reflect more often on gospel principles, find personal meaning in the gospel, and be converted more deeply.
The youngest of seven children, I grew up in Fort Collins, CO, and was raised a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I attended Brigham Young University from 2009-2015 and graduated in Family Life: Human Development. In 2012 I did volunteer work in a Romanian orphanage and children’s hospital, and from March 2013 to October 2014 I served as a missionary in the Ukraine Kyiv mission. My husband Vlad and I were married in the Bountiful Temple in July of 2015, and we have since been blessed with two beautiful daughters, Katya and Sophia. I currently work from home as a piano teacher and book reviewer for Kirkus Reviews.
I have studied and loved the scriptures for as long as I can remember, and writing these questions has strengthened my testimony even more of the power that comes from applying the scriptures to one’s life. Click here if you would like to contact me!
President Henry B. Eyring taught, "To ask and to answer questions is at the heart of all learning and all teaching." When we make this the heart of our scripture study, we open the doors of heaven to receive unlimited inspiration from our loving Heavenly Father. When studying, a good question is like a road that can lead from the scriptures to personal revelation. In fact, the acronym R.O.A.D. can be used to remember the most important qualities of "questions that matter," as one author put it. The questions presented in this book were written with these principles in mind:
When questions are related to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, they inspire us to "be perfected in [Him]" (Mor. 10:32) and become "even as [He is]" (3 Ne. 27:27). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that the Atonement is the fundamental principle of our religion, "and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it." Likewise, the best gospel questions are those which can somehow lead back to Christ's Atonement.
One way to accomplish this is to connect them with the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. The goal of every question should be at least one of the following: (1) increase faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel, (2) encourage personal change through repentance, (3) lead to covenant-making or greater covenant-keeping, (4) strengthen the influence of the Holy Ghost in one's life, and (5) deepen resolve to endure to the end. Often, the pondering and answering of great questions can achieve all of these goals at once.
When questions are open-ended, they encourage reflection and discussion. These are far better than closed-ended questions that require a simple, quick answer and little thought. Referring to classroom discussions, Jack Lyon wrote, "'Who were the first two people on earth?' is an ineffective question because the answer is so obvious that no one wants to respond—or sees a need to. 'What is the most important principle of the gospel?' is also an ineffective question. No one knows the answer the teacher is looking for except the teacher.... These are questions of fact; each has a specific answer. But great classroom discussions come from a different type of question—oddly enough, from questions without a specific answer. That is the key." Likewise, open-ended questions when asked and answered by an individual also encourage discussion—with oneself and with Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost.
When questions are applicable to our lives, they help us find personal meaning in the gospel. Just as faith without works is dead (James 2:26), gospel study without personal application is also dead and doesn't bring us the "profit and learning" (1 Nephi 19:23) that Nephi spoke about. Often the first step is applying the scriptures to our time and place, but it's important to go beyond that and apply them to our individual selves and circumstances, especially in specific spheres of our life (family, work, school, church, etc.).
An example of a broad application question is "How are the wars between the Nephites and Lamanites similar to the spiritual war in the world today?" A more specific application question would be this: "What spiritual gifts has God given you to help win the war between good and evil, and how can you better use them for this purpose?" Asking and answering such personal questions may lead to some tough personal changes, but doing so truly helps us to be "doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving [our] own selves" (James 1:22).
When questions are deep and "challenge us to give more than just a preprogrammed response," they also help us deepen our understanding of the gospel and our conversion. Many church members tire from hearing the "Sunday school answers"—pray, read your scriptures, go to church, etc.—because those are the answers to the majority of shallow questions that they're often asked. By thinking more creatively, and often more specifically, we can formulate questions that cause even lifelong members to stop and think.
One way to do this is a question chain: starting with one question, formulating another question based on the answer, and continuing until you reach a question that requires significant thought in answering. For example, "What do we need to do to stay close to the Lord?" Answer: see "Sunday school answers" above. "How has prayer helped you to stay close to the Lord?" Answer: something a little more specific and personal, but perhaps still too vague. "What specific characteristics do our prayers need to have in order for them to help us stay close to the Lord?" Answer: I don't know yet; that's why I asked it! Yes, added depth means added effort on our part (both in the asking and the answering), but it also means more opportunities for the Spirit to teach and testify.
So, do you want to become more like the Savior, reflect more often on gospel principles, find personal meaning in the gospel, and be converted more deeply? Then start asking questions—and answering them! That is the goal of all the questions in this book.
When used by individuals in their personal gospel study (especially when writing in a study journal), it can help them deepen their personal conversion. When used by families or couples as a companion to scripture study or ideas for Family Home Evening, it can also strengthen their relationships and bring the Spirit more fully into their homes. When used by teachers in the Church as an additional resource when preparing lessons, it can enliven classroom discussion and allow the Holy Ghost to testify to class members. You can answer them during your actual scripture study—in your mind or written down, briefly or in depth—or you can pick a question in the morning and ponder it all day long. However you choose to use it, I hope it accomplishes these important purposes in your life.
I will warn, however, that this book is not exactly for the casual reader. Many of the questions I have written are not easy to answer; in fact, they're often tougher than some of the toughest factual questions. Why? Because instead of searching books for an answer, you have to search your own soul. And sometimes that results in difficult personal changes.
On many occasions, writing these questions, and contemplating their answers for myself, has led me to my knees in repentance, and I expect it to do the same for any sincere reader. But as hard as that has been, it has also resulted in a greater abundance of the Spirit in my life, increased happiness in my home, closer relationships with my Heavenly Father and Savior, and greater fulfillment of my life's mission. This book is what you will make it to be; you can skim the surface and make only superficial changes in your life (if any), or you can let the Spirit work on you, purify you, and "purge [you] as gold and silver, that [you] may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness" (3 Ne. 24:3).
Lastly, this book is not meant to deter you from asking your own inspired questions as you study. Just as a single verse of scripture can affect different people in different ways, a single verse can also elicit different questions from different people. The best questions are the ones inspired by the Holy Ghost, with answers that God knows you stand in need of. That being said, I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it. It has strengthened my testimony and improved my life tremendously, and I hope that as you seek the Spirit in answering these and other inspired questions, your life will be blessed as well.