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Back to basics

Return to the basics.

That's good advice when difficulties and problems are encountered in life's pursuits.For example, if a scientist working on an important project reaches an impasse and cannot proceed further, he or she will return to the basics - reworking the fundamental equations and primary experiments until the error is discovered.

A businessman confronting a slump in sales will return to the fundamental business principles of customer service, product development and marketing to solve the problem.

A carpenter building a house who discovers a roof or room corner out of square will return to the basic blueprint of the project, and carefully measure the home's foundation, before determining how to proceed.

Likewise, when we confront problems of a personal or religious nature we should heed this advice of returning to the basics.

And what are those basics? Heading the list are two important things: daily personal prayer and daily personal scripture study. A return to dedicated daily application of these two simple basics would solve a host of complicated difficulties in our lives.

If we are at an impasse in our spiritual development, a return to daily prayer and scripture study will get us moving along the gospel path once again.

A slump in husband-wife or family relationships will be restored to warmth and love if the parties involved return to sincere daily prayer and dutiful daily scripture study.

A life "out of square" with the Lord can be repaired by returning to the blueprint of the scriptures and the foundation of personal prayer.

President Ezra Taft Benson has told us, again and again, that daily reading of the Book of Mormon will improve our spirituality, our relationships and our ability to obey the commandments. He said the answers to life's problems can be found in the Book of Mormon.

In Section 1 of the Doctrine and Covenants we are instructed to "search these commandments . . . ." The Lord says the scriptures are provided for understanding, to correct errors, to provide wisdom, to chasten and aid in repentance, to strengthen, to bless and to provide knowledge.

What a great strength and help the scriptures can be in our daily lives!

As for daily prayer, the prophets of all ages have repeatedly stressed the power of seeking our Heavenly Father on our knees, praying for our families, our flocks, our Church assignments, our employment, our associates, our leaders, our difficulties and problems.

Living the gospel can appear to be overwhelming if we look all at once at all that is expected of us, at all the commandments we must obey.

But if we start with the basics of daily prayer and scripture study, we will discover within ourselves an enhanced capacity to cope with our busy, complex world.

Why is that?

Daily prayer and scripture study bring the Spirit of the Lord into our daily lives. The Spirit gives direction, enhances abilities and improves attitudes - all, sometimes, without us realizing it.

Remember the simple saying about the two men who looked out from prison walls: One saw mud; the other saw stars. The difference between the two men was attitude. A good attitude about the gospel, about the commandments, about our callings, about our family, makes all the difference.

And the wonderful thing is that daily prayer and daily scripture study improve attitudes by keeping us in more tune with the Spirit.

With the right attitude, home teaching and other callings become joyous opportunities to serve rather than burdens or chores. With the right attitude, a big project at work becomes an interesting challenge; doing the family dishes becomes fun; sorrows and tragedies become more bearable; patience and understanding are more abundant.

Daily prayer and scripture study will not remove life's difficulties, challenges and sorrows. But returning to these basics will bring the Spirit more into our lives, and help us improve attitudes, thus enhancing our ability to cope with these problems. The problems will still be there, but we will be more able to deal with them - and overcome them.

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