Latter Day Saints have the opportunity, once in a lifetime, to receive something called a Patriarchal Blessing. Through it, we receive instruction, encouragement, guidance for our lives, and sometimes even correction. There have been many things written about patriarchal blessings, so I won't repeat them here. Apostles have given talks on them, many people (myself included) have published articles about them. If interested, you can easily find information about it online.
I'm going to tell you a little about mine. Not much, because they are private, but enough for this dream I am about to share to make sense. Mine gave me one warning, lots of encouragement, and lots of direction. It specifically told me I am to teach the word of God. First and foremost to my children, and then to the church as a whole. Though I know the Old and New Testaments very well, I didn't feel qualified in my knowledge of the Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants (yet). But, I filed away that instruction to teach, which planted a seed in my mind.
One of the weaknesses I see in the modern LDS church is a general lack of Scriptural knowledge. Granted, we have WAY more scriptures than other faiths, but that should fill us with more information, not less. My longsuffering friend, Vicki, has listened to me moan about not only the lack of knowledge in the general poplulation of the church, but also the lack of materials for deep study available. I've moaned about it quite a bit. She's such a patient woman. Before I am misunderstood, there ARE some materials available, but they're not in abundance and they are expensive. I can't afford most of them. That lead to a dream I have. I want to make in depth scripture studies available to the general church population--for free. I do realize we have all Sunday School, Relief Society, and Seminary and Institute materials available free of charge, for which I am very grateful. I'm not overlooking those. However, these are survey studies and not in depth.
Last year, I ran a test group to see how an in-depth inductive study would be received. I only did the very beginning part of King Benjamin's address. I received loads of useful feedback. Some found it very helpful. Others found it too difficult. I settled on doing something in between. I'll have something that is a less "do it all yourself", but fully plan on making the more difficult one available in the future for those who want to dig a little deeper.
My next thoughts were about how to fund it. I'm not made of money--any money, actually. I could let Deseret Book publish the studies, but don't want to go that route. I feel very strongly about the verse in Proverbs that instructs us to "Buy the truth and sell it not". I didn't want to charge any money for the materials. If I went through Deseret, the products would cost money, even if I took no royalties. (No offense, Sheri. I know you're running a business and have to make a profit). However, I don't need to make a profit. I'm not running a business. This is something I want to do out of sheer love for the words of God. But, I do have a family to feed, so most of my time is taken up by that endeavor.
My plans, currently, are to continue working to feed my family and slowly produce the works that are on my heart. I've written a secular novel that I am currently shopping to agents. My hope is that I can sell enough secular books (which I have no problem charging for) to fund my scripture studies. I want to do them well, which takes time. I also want them to look professional, which takes money.
Here is what you can do. I would like you to pray with me that the Lord would give me enough time to complete these. I'd also like you to pray that I will have wisdom in funding. That might mean I have to sell three different secular novels in order to fund one study, but I am fine with that. I love writing anyway.
I'm going to start with the Book of John, while I continue to study Mosiah. Why John? Because I know the Book of John well, while Mosiah I need another year with to feel like I have it down. For now, when it is completed, I will offer it for free electronically. I still have to work out graphics, which is not my area of expertise. Until I can fund that, it will be completely graphic free, which makes me sad. I need maps and other graphics to do it well. Then, when the funding is there, I will make a hard copy available. I want all of it to be free.
Those of you who would like the Book of John study, contact me by email (email@example.com). I will put you on a list. In the meantime....let me give you something to do while you're waiting.
The purpose of the Book of John
Mark in your scriptures John 20:30-31
"And mnay other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciplies, which are not written in this book.: But, these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name."
This tells us the purpose of the gospel of John. So, here is a project for you. Read through the book of John. When you come to a miracle that Jesus did, such as changing water to wine in John 2 mark that in a distinctive way. You could put a big "S" out to the side for sign, or you could highlight the verses a certain color throughout the entire book. For instance, you could highlight John 2:11 in yellow. It reads,
"This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory; and His disciples believed on Him." or, you could highlight the entire passage (John 2: 1-11).
Something else you could look for, while you're reading through the book. Put a "W" out to the side of every verse where someone (or something) bares witness of Christ as the Savior. For instance, you could put a "W" outside of John 1:15 that reads,
"John bare witness of Him and cried, saying, This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me; for He was before me."
Well, now you know more about me than you probably wanted to. This is my dream. If you're willing, will you pray with me that I will be faithful in completing it?