Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Elder D. Todd Christofferson on allowing scriptures to enlarge our memories

Elder D. Todd Christofferson (1945- ) was called to the Seventy in 1993, and as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2008.
"The scriptures enlarge our memory by helping us always to remember the Lord and our relationship to Him and the Father. They remind us of what we knew in our premortal life. And they expand our memory in another sense by teaching us about epochs, people, and events that we did not experience personally. None of us was present to see the Red Sea part and cross with Moses between walls of water to the other side. We were not there to hear the Sermon on the Mount, to see Lazarus raised from the dead, to see the suffering Savior in Gethsemane and on the cross, and we did not, with Mary, hear the two angels testify at the empty tomb that Jesus was risen from the dead. You and I did not go forward one by one with the multitude in the land Bountiful at the resurrected Savior's invitation to feel the prints of the nails and bathe His feet with our tears. We did not kneel beside Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove and gaze there upon the Father and the Son. Yet we know all these things and much, much more because we have the scriptural record to enlarge our memory, to teach us what we did not know. And as these things penetrate our minds and hearts, our faith in God and His Beloved Son takes root.
"The scriptures also enlarge our memory by helping us not forget what we and earlier generations have learned. Those who either don't have or ignore the recorded word of God eventually cease to believe in Him and forget the purpose of their existence."
- D. Todd Christofferson, "The Blessing of Scripture," General Conference April 2010
Click here to read the full talk

The idea of enlarging memory is a fascinating one to me. We typically think of memory as static and possibly decreasing over time; but Elder Christofferson suggests it can grow and increase. He suggests several ways this happens as we read the scriptures:
  1. Helping us always remember the Lord and our relationship to Him
  2. Reminding us of things we knew in the premortal life
  3. Providing knowledge and understanding of events we didn't personally experience
  4. Helping us not forget the lessons learned in the past—both personally, and by our predecessors

And one of the great keys is that the enlarging of memory allows the scriptural record to "penetrate our minds and hearts" so that "our faith in God and His Beloved Son takes root." What a blessing!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
June 6, 2015

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