Gospel Study Skills: ASK YOURSELF QUESTIONS


“To be most effective, your experiences with the scriptures must be your own. Reading or hearing about another person’s experiences and insights can be helpful, but that won’t bring the same converting power. There is no substitute for the time you spend in the scriptures, hearing the Holy Ghost speak directly to you.” Mark L. Pace (April Conference 2022)


WHAT TO DO


As you read, consciously take time to stop and think about what you’re reading. If you have read a paragraph or two without pausing, then choose to stop and think.

Not, sure what to think about? Ask yourself questions.

Asking yourself questions can create connection with the message and with your feelings, experiences, and testimony of that message.

Asking questions can also invite additional understanding by connecting with things you have previously studied or through pure revelation from an all knowing Heavenly Father who wants to help you learn, grow, and succeed.

Not sure what questions to ask?

Remember that questions can start with Who, What, When, Where, Why, or How. When you think about what you read, what Who-What-When-Where-Why-or-How questions can you think of?

If this comes easily, great. If not, it’s ok.

Keep thinking.

Give yourself time.

Keep practicing.

While you practice, intentionally come up with as many questions as you can. At this point it’s not about answering them, its about finding questions you can ask to lead to discovery. When this comes more naturally, you may not ask yourself so many questions while you study, but for now you’re practicing and developing the skill. So see what you can come up with.

QUESTIONS & FEEDBACK


Thanks for studying with us today. We hope you feel uplifted and hopeful as you connect with heaven during your study.

We’d love to hear how this is helping you, if we can clarify anything, or if you have any suggestions of how we could make these more helpful for you or others.

We look forward to hearing from you.


KEEP IN MIND


Asking questions in this way is about reflection and opening your mind. The questions can be about discovery, more than about finding the one correct, factual answer.

It is ok to ask a question, wondering at the possibilities of a story, even if you don’t know for sure what really happened.

I wonder… could it have happened this way or that way? If it did, what might the people have felt or experienced? What about if it happened this other way?

It is ok if you ask yourself a reflection question and you don’t know the answer.

How do I feel about this? I’m not completely sure yet. That’s ok.

The answer doesn’t determine if it was a good question or not.

Sometimes we stop ourselves from asking questions by wondering if it’s the right thing or if we’ll discover the answer later if we keep reading. It’s ok if you think something and then as you read you see that same realization or conclusion. It is also ok if you discover some different things than the people you’re reading about. In that case, you could think about how both ideas might work together or be part of the same bigger idea.

In our examples we’re sharing lots of ideas and questions. We’re not trying to overwhelm you. They are meant as examples. You don’t have to ask as many questions during your study as we do here and you don’t have to ask the same questions we do.

There are endless questions to ask, but it’s likely you don’t have endless time for gospel study. That’s ok. You don’t have to ask and answer all of the questions. One thoughtful question can lead to great meaningful discovery!


REMEMBER WHY


It might be helpful to remind yourself that your study isn’t just about finishing the chapter, talk or section.

In fact, you can use this study tool right now and stop and ask yourself, “What IS my gospel study about, if it isn’t about finishing the chapter? What do I want to gain from my time and efforts of gospel study?”

The answers to those questions can help you know how to study, how your studying is going or how it might need to be adjusted.

If you are hoping that your gospel study will connect you to Heaven by inviting revelation and new understanding or bring more of God’s power or perspective into your life, then taking time to stop and think will help. Pausing and asking questions gives you time and space to allow revelatory thoughts to come and actually be recognized and received instead of dismissed or ignored in the rush to finish the page. As you allow God to share His knowledge with you in this way you can feel more connected to Him and more able to trust Him.

Your efforts to study the gospel, as well as any efforts to make your study more meaningful, will be worth it.

Asking questions leads to discovery! Not only discovering answers to the questions, also greater understanding about the process of asking questions and receiving answers.

“The teenage Joseph Smith had faith sufficient to ask a question of God, believing that God would answer his heartfelt need. … The answer he received encouraged him to keep asking ever-better questions and to act on the continuing flow of revelation … Your experience can possibly be similar … I know from experience that answers will come to fit your needs and your spiritual preparation.” –Henry B. Eyring (October 2021 Conference)

GUIDED PRACTICE


The study tool is to ask yourself questions as you study. Try it out as you read this excerpt from General Conference.

  1. While reading the excerpt, try stopping often to ask yourself questions.
  2. Use the arrows below the slide to see some examples. (Find the full screen option in the menu at the bottom of the slide as well.)

GUIDED PRACTICE


The study tool is to ask yourself questions as you study. Try it out as you read this excerpt from General Conference.

  1. While reading the excerpt, try stopping often to ask yourself questions.
  2. Click on any of the bold and underlined words to see some examples.

Notes:

  • On a touch screen: It might work better to use the arrows at the bottom of the slide to see the examples rather that clicking on the bold words.
  • Full Screen Option: In the menu at the bottom of the slide.
  • To Help Stay Focused: You could print this excerpt, then highlight phrases that catch your attention, and write down the questions you could ask yourself.
test

KEEP PRACTICING


Ready to go?

Try this study tool in your gospel study.

Let us know how it makes a difference.

Need a tip?

Try using this study tool as you read 3 Nephi 11:1-17.

Want a little more help?

Trying reading another excerpt (below). As you read, stop at the bold words and think of Who-What-When-Where-Why-or-How questions you could ask yourself. (Remember, to keep yourself focused, you can write out the questions for each of the bold words.) Click here to print the excerpt.


Excerpt from President Russell M. Nelson (October 2021 Conference):

My dear brothers and sisters, these are the latter days. If you and I are to withstand the forthcoming perils and pressures, it is imperative that we each have a firm spiritual foundation built upon the rock of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.2

So I ask each of you, how firm is your foundation? And what reinforcements to your testimony and understanding of the gospel are needed?

The temple lies at the center of strengthening our faith and spiritual fortitude because the Savior and His doctrine are the very heart of the temple. Everything taught in the temple, through instruction and through the Spirit, increases our understanding of Jesus Christ. His essential ordinances bind us to Him through sacred priesthood covenants. Then, as we keep our covenants, He endows us with His healing, strengthening power.3 And oh, how we will need His power in the days ahead.

We have been promised that “if [we] are prepared [we] shall not fear.”4 This assurance has profound implications today. The Lord has declared that despite today’s unprecedented challenges, those who build their foundations upon Jesus Christ, and have learned how to draw upon His power, need not succumb to the unique anxieties of this era.

Temple ordinances and covenants are ancient. The Lord instructed Adam and Eve to pray, make covenants, and offer sacrifices.5 Indeed, “whenever the Lord has had a people on the earth who will obey His word, they have been commanded to build temples.”6 The standard works are replete with references to temple teachings, clothing, language, and more.7 Everything we believe and every promise God has made to His covenant people come together in the temple. In every age, the temple has underscored the precious truth that those who make covenants with God and keep them are children of the covenant.

Thus, in the house of the Lord, we can make the same covenants with God that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob made. And we can receive the same blessings! …

If you don’t yet love to attend the temple, go more often—not less. Let the Lord, through His Spirit, teach and inspire you there. I promise you that over time, the temple will become a place of safety, solace, and revelation.

… Please believe me when I say that when your spiritual foundation is built solidly upon Jesus Christ, you have no need to fear. As you are true to your covenants made in the temple, you will be strengthened by His power. Then, when spiritual earthquakes occur, you will be able to stand strong because your spiritual foundation is solid and immovable.

I love you, dear brothers and sisters. These truths I know: God, our Heavenly Father, wants you to choose to come home to Him. His plan of eternal progression is not complicated, and it honors your agency. You are free to choose who you will be—and with whom you will be—in the world to come!

God lives! Jesus is the Christ! This is His Church, restored to help you fulfill your divine destiny. I so testify in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.