Basic Guidelines for LDS (Mormon) Gospel Study

Consistent and Serious Study is Necessary For You to Grow Spiritually!

Many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints access Church resources via mobile apps and use technology to explore their religious beliefs. © 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

If you are new to the Church, and even if you are not, you may have trouble establishing gospel study and good study habits. The guidelines below are designed to help you.

Make Sure You Do It Daily!

However you do your gospel study, you should do it daily. Just like our physical bodies, our spiritual selves need daily nourishment. If you have never attempted this before, now is the time to start.

Only by doing it will you be convinced of how important it is.

By doing it faithfully you will be able to see the difference it makes in your day, and ultimately, in your life.

Current digital options make daily gospel study much easier. Take advantage of these options.

How to Think About and Organize Your Study

Gospel materials can be loosely organized into three topics:

  1. The gospel itself.
  2. Tools to help you find the gospel.
  3. Commentary on the gospel.

You should focus on studying the gospel itself. This means the scriptures and teachings of current prophets, especially from General Conference.

The Scriptures Should Be Your First Priority

Nothing substitutes for reading scripture. Reading actual scripture means you are getting the gospel of Jesus Christ in its purest form.

If you have limited time, do not economize on this. Nothing can replace it. It does not matter whether you do it in the mornings, evenings or somewhere in between. Make it the core of your gospel study.

Focus on Modern Revelation by Current Church Leaders

Teachings from current church leaders is most heavily concentrated in General Conference. This is your next priority.

Modern prophets give us guidance for the world we live in now. Whenever they speak, we should be listening, and applying what they tell us.

Enhance Your Study With Curriculum Materials and Magazines

Official curriculum materials like the Seminary, Institute and auxiliary manuals used in Sunday School, Relief Society, Priesthood, Young Men/Young Women and Primary are published by the Church and made available to us.

These materials contain a great deal of the gospel itself, finding tools and commentary that is deemed reliable. Often topically arranged, these materials can help us focus our study.

We can depend on curriculum materials to be reviewed and approved in ways that errors will be minimized. The Church is careful in what it deems of worth to members. We can use these materials with confidence.

All Church magazines are published by the Church and go through a similar vetting process. They are a combination of gospel teachings, commentary and finding tools. We can have confidence in these materials as well.

However, we should give more credence to materials in these magazines that are written by church leaders themselves, rather than by others.

Review Commentary by Church Authorities

Church officials, generally referred to as General Authorities (G.A.'s) often address members in other forums, such as stake conferences, devotionals, firesides and such.

We should acknowledge their guidance is most suited to the audience they are addressing and not necessarily intended for a broader church audience.

For these reasons, we are counseled not to publicize what they say. This protects against their words being misinterpreted or taken out of context.

Sometimes individual leaders and others publish books or other materials. These can be biographies or materials intended as self-help resources.

Although useful, these materials do not have the status of official publications and should not be viewed as such.

Commentary by Others Can Sometimes be Helpful

These can take many forms, such as books, pamphlets, articles, news items, blogs and other things.

Be careful in how you use these materials and how often. They should not form the core of your gospel study.

If you are spending more time on these materials than you are in studying the gospel itself, you are dangerously imbalanced.

Other people's opinions should be recognized and absorbed as opinion, not church doctrine or the gospel itself. Private interpretation should not be spread about as gospel doctrine.

A Word of Caution: Avoid Gospel Hobbies

The gospel is brilliant mosaic of many different teachings and beliefs. Try not to over emphasize one or some of them by acquiring gospel hobbies.

The following guidance is excerpted and available in the Church's teaching manual, Teaching, No Greater Call:

“Gospel hobbies—the special or exclusive emphasis of one principle of the gospel—should also be avoided by teachers” (Instructor, Sept. 1969, 334–35).

President Joseph F. Smith said: “Hobbies give to those who encourage them a false aspect of the gospel of the Redeemer; they distort and place out of harmony its principles and teachings. The point of view is unnatural. Every principle and practice revealed from God is essential to man’s salvation, and to place any one of them unduly in front, hiding and dimming all others, is unwise and dangerous; it jeopardizes our salvation, for it darkens our minds and beclouds our understandings” (Gospel Doctrine, 116–17).

Gospel hobbies may include undue emphasis of the Word of Wisdom, the book of Isaiah or a separate gospel topic like emergency preparedness or gifts of the spirit.

Whatever form your gospel study takes, make sure the scriptures are emphasized.