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How the scriptures were an anchor during his own trial of faith, Elder Meredith shares at an Ensign College devotional


The Restoration of the gospel started with a question as young Joseph Smith wanted to know what church was true and which church to join. 

“Guidance came from scripture. It was the scriptures that sent him to pray,” Elder Alvin F. “Trip” Meredith III, a General Authority Seventy, told Ensign College students during a devotional on Tuesday, March 22.

“Before the Father and the Son spoke to Joseph in that most sacred of all groves, they spoke to him through scripture,” he said. 

There are many promises for those who study the scriptures, including being not deceived, more spiritual capacity, being able to resist temptation and overcoming spiritual weaknesses, Elder Meredith said. 

Elder Alvin F. “Trip” Meredith III, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during an Ensign College devotional in the Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Elder Alvin F. “Trip” Meredith III, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during an Ensign College devotional in the Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Credit: Ensign College

“My message today, my plea, is search the scriptures, daily. Make scripture study a daily discipline. With all the energy of my heart, I exhort you and plead with you to study the scriptures every day without fail,” Elder Meredith said. 

As he shared personal experiences, scriptures and instruction from prophets, he encouraged the students to not feel guilt about days in the past where they didn’t read the scriptures, but to “start today and press forward, look forward.”

‘Anchor for my testimony’

It was in high school that Elder Meredith realized the importance of studying the scriptures. 

At his high school in Tennessee, he was part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes — a “community of athletes, from different denominations, that shared a faith in Christ,” he said. During his junior year, he was elected to be the president of the school’s chapter for his senior year. He was preparing to go to the training for the new presidencies, in Nashville, when he found out that as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he wouldn’t be able to be president, as the national organization didn’t recognize Latter-day Saints as Christians.

“Well, I didn’t care about the title, but my world was rocked a little bit. In today’s language, we might have called that a crisis of faith. I knew what I believed, but someone else was telling me that I believed something different, and it was unsettling to me,” he said. “Lesson learned: Never let people who know little tell you what you believe or what you don’t believe.”

Elder Meredith, who played football and wrestled, still continued to be part of the organization. “I continued to be active in the group because of the really good people that were a part of it,” he said.

Elder Alvin F. “Trip” Meredith III, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during an Ensign College devotional in the Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. The images are of him as a teenager.

Elder Alvin F. “Trip” Meredith III, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during an Ensign College devotional in the Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. The images are of him as a teenager.

Credit: Ensign College

At the end of his senior year, he was elected by those from the organization at his high school to be “Fellowship of Christian Athletes Athlete of the Year.”

“Now to be honest, I felt that was some sweet justice. The year before, I wasn’t even recognized as being Christian, and now I was getting their ultimate award,” he said.

After filling out information to send to the organization for the awards banquet, he found out from his wrestling coach during school that he had gotten a similar call as the year before and apologized that he thought the issue had been resolved. 

“He told me that he wasn’t sure what was taught at my church, but he considered me a true Christian,” Elder Meredith said. “That, by the way, was better than any award I could have been given.”

The coach requested that someone come from the organization’s state offices to visit with teenage Elder Meredith. 

“So one day, a very nice, well-intentioned man came to meet with me,” Elder Meredith said. The man gently shared 10 points about the Church’s doctrine that were inconsistent with the fellowship’s definition of Christianity. 

After the man was finished and asked if Elder Meredith had any questions, Elder Meredith asked to see his scriptures. 

“I had a really good seminary teacher. And we were really good at scripture chase. Back in those days, we had 40 scripture mastery verses for each year. Every Friday — every Friday — we would have donuts and we would scripture chase,” Elder Meredith said. 

The man kindly shared his Bible and graciously listened to the scriptures Elder Meredith shared, including ones in Matthew 3, Acts 7, James 2, 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Chronicles 29.

“A conversion was solidified in that process — not his, but mine. The scriptures became an anchor for my testimony,” he said. “I had had a trial of faith. But after that, I received a reassuring witness, just as we are promised in the book of Ether. That witness came through the Spirit, because of the scriptures.”

Scriptures and teachings

“In several places in scripture, when the latter days are described, when the crises of faith are mentioned, there is accompanying admonition to study the scriptures. Why? Because the scriptures are key to helping us stay on the path, especially in the time in which we live,” Elder Meredith said. 

Sister Jennifer Meredith, left; Elder Alvin F. “Trip” Meredith III, a General Authority Seventy; and Ensign College President Bruce C. Kusch and his wife, Sister Alynda Kusch, during an Ensign College devotional in the Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Sister Jennifer Meredith, left; Elder Alvin F. “Trip” Meredith III, a General Authority Seventy; and Ensign College President Bruce C. Kusch and his wife, Sister Alynda Kusch, during an Ensign College devotional in the Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Credit: Ensign College

The Savior teaches those “whoso treasureth up [his word] shall NOT be deceived” (see Joseph Smith–Matthew 1:37). In letters to Timothy, Paul advised “… give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (see 1 Timothy 4:13).

In Lehi’s vision of the tree of life, those who made it to and stayed at the tree were those who “press[ed] their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron” (see 1 Nephi 8:30). And Nephi later identified that the iron was the word of God (1 Nephi 15:24) and shared this promise: ​​“whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.”

John wrote that scriptures were written “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (see John 20:31).

“When we search the scriptures, our spiritual capacity is expanded. The Spirit comes into our lives when we are in the scriptures. Our desires to stay on the path increase,” Elder Meredith said, adding that the power to resist temptation increases, and people can overcome spiritual weaknesses, and can receive both knowledge and strength.

“Studying scriptures will invite the Spirit into your life, which will teach you. Sometimes the Spirit will teach you about what you are reading,” he said. 

He encouraged listeners to establish a habit of family scripture study, for current or future families. 

“The value comes in consistency. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just needs to be consistent,” he said, sharing examples from President Russell M. Nelson’s family and his own family. 

In recent instruction, President Nelson invited and encouraged studying the scriptures. 

In the April 2021 general conference, President Nelson invited listeners to increase their faith in Jesus Christ by doing five things. “First, study. Become an engaged learner. Immerse yourself in the scriptures to understand better Christ’s mission and ministry.”

In a social post on New Year’s Day, one of the resolutions President Nelson suggested was: “First, resolve to strengthen your spiritual foundation. This may involve setting a specific time and place to study the scriptures.”

Elder Meredith recognized that everyone is juggling busy schedules with many good things, but said not to let the good things get in the way of the best things. 

“Searching the scriptures daily will help you reach your capacity, your divine full potential. Remember: no guilt about days not read in the past. Look forward, and search the scriptures daily,” Elder Meredith said. 

Elder Alvin F. “Trip” Meredith III, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during an Ensign College devotional in the Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Elder Alvin F. “Trip” Meredith III, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during an Ensign College devotional in the Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Credit: Ensign College

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