How ‘Come, Follow Me’ is helping Latter-day Saints have ‘transformational’ experiences with the scriptures

‘The Saints are studying the scriptures as never before,’ says Sunday School general presidency

Earlier this fall, Sunday School General President Mark L. Pace met with Latter-day Saints in various cities of Brazil and Mexico. Standing in front of congregations of several hundred Church members, he asked if 2022 has been the best year of study of the Old Testament in their lives?

The response was unmistakable.

“Probably 95% of the hands went up. This has been the best year of Old Testament study ever in their lives. These are faithful Saints,” he said. “They have had a profound experience studying the scriptures this year. ... I think, in reality, the Saints are studying the scriptures as never before.”

A Latter-day Saint woman from Colorado described how consistent scripture study over several months has blessed her family, according to Brother Milton Camargo, first counselor in the Sunday School general presidency.

“She said her family moved from concern to power, from challenges and trials to deliverance, and from the influence of the adversary to the influence of God and the Savior,” Brother Camargo said. “Everything that our Prophet said would happen if we implement ‘Come, Follow Me.’”

Not only in Brazil, Mexico and Colorado, but in many locations around the world, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are studying the scriptures with the “Come, Follow Me” curriculum are having “transformational” experiences in their homes, said Brother Jan E. Newman, second counselor in the Sunday School general presidency.

A young woman reads the scriptures in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
A young woman reads the scriptures in Guayaquil, Ecuador. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“Members talk about how it has changed the way they view the scriptures. They learn more deeply and more fully from the scriptures than they ever have,” Brother Newman said. “Members are having these home-centered experiences on a personal level and learning and having the Holy Ghost teach them, one-on-one. That, in my mind, is the greatest blessing that ‘Come, Follow Me’ has brought to the members of the Church.”

The Sunday School general presidency expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the humility and diligence of Latter-day Saints as they willingly continue to follow the teachings of Church leaders in making home-centered scripture study a foundational part of gospel learning in their lives.

Primary sources

When President Russell M. Nelson extended the call for President Pace to serve as the Sunday School general president, President Pace was surprised but had the presence of mind to ask an essential question: “What do you want the Sunday School presidency to do?”

President Nelson smiled and identified two things.

“Help us get the scriptures deeper into the hearts, souls and fiber of the lives of Latter-day Saints, and help us improve teaching in the Church,” President Pace said.

The Sunday School general presidency emphasized the importance of making the scriptures and inspiration from the Holy Ghost the primary sources of gospel learning.

“We’re rejoicing for what the Saints are doing in making that primary source an increasing part of their devotion and learning of the Savior and His gospel,” President Pace said. “The secondary sources are purposeful, but they are secondary. We shouldn’t confuse them with the primary sources.”

What will never change

Latter-day Saints will soon complete study of the Old Testament and restart a rotation of the standard works in the New Testament with “Come, Follow Me” for individuals and families in January 2023. The rotation started with the New Testament in 2019, followed by the Book of Mormon in 2020 and the Doctrine and Covenants in 2021.

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The program may no longer be new but it is just as important now as it was four years ago, and there are unlimited lessons yet to be discovered in the scriptures, President Pace said.

“This isn’t new anymore and we are about to start the second round,” he said. “What’s new, what is always new, is ‘What is the Holy Ghost teaching me today as I am reading this chapter?’ It is a daily effort of drawing near to the Lord as we read His word, and we so desperately need it.”

Promised blessings

In October 2018, President Nelson declared “the new home-centered, Church-supported integrated curriculum has the potential to unleash the power of families, as each family follows through conscientiously and carefully to transform their home into a sanctuary of faith.”

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The Prophet also promised four blessings for those who would “diligently work to remodel your home into a center of gospel learning”:

  • “Over time your Sabbath days will truly be a delight.”
  • “Your children will be excited to learn and to live the Savior’s teachings.”
  • “The influence of the adversary in your life and in your home will decrease.”
  • “Changes in your family will be dramatic and sustaining.”

The Sunday School general presidency has witnessed the fulfillment of these blessings in many Latter-day Saint lives.

“In peoples’ homes the darkness is leaving because their homes are being filled with light. This is the blessing of an effort toward an everyday experience in the scriptures as a family,” said President Pace, who spoke in April 2022 general conference about deepening one’s conversion through gospel learning. “The Saints are receiving those blessings promised by President Nelson. It’s miraculous.”

Old Testament favorites

Each member of the Sunday School general presidency related something he has gained from his Old Testament study this year.

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For Brother Camargo, it was the story of Job.

“I enjoyed learning how Job went through his trials,” he said. “Every time we read the same book we learn something different. ... It was a very interesting experience for me this time.”

Brother Newman said he put himself in the shoes of the children of Israel more than he ever has before.

“They went through some hard, hard stuff, but over time, the Lord redeemed them and allowed them into His presence in the promised land. It was a long journey,” he said. “I’m a lot more kindhearted toward them than I have ever been. I think I understand them a little better and love them more deeply than I ever have.”

President Pace cited two examples. First, the Book of Isaiah has helped him learn more about the Savior. “The Book of Isaiah is all about Jesus Christ,” he said.

He was also moved by the story in 2 Kings 23:2-3 where the people had lost the scriptures and then found them again while cleaning the temple. The king rejoiced and read the scriptures to the people. After reading the scriptures he and the people made covenants with the Lord.

“It’s a sweet example of the blessing that came as they found the scriptures again. For all of us, it’s a blessing to find and refind the scriptures again and again in our lives,” President Pace said. “I don’t ever want the Lord to think that I’ve lost the scriptures in my life.”

The Sunday School general presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Sunday School general presidency: President Mark L. Pace, center, Brother Milton Camargo, first counselor, left, and Brother Jan E. Newman, second counselor, right. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

How ‘Come, Follow Me’ is helping

As the Sunday School general presidency has traveled the world, they have heard Church members comment on what they like about the “Come, Follow Me” curriculum.

The curriculum is the right size because an individual or family can go as deep as they want or if they don’t have much time, they can cover a few chapters or verses. They appreciate the other resources provided, such as references to general conference talks, said Brother Camargo.

Church members are fond of having the curriculum on their device and other technological features.

“It has made their lives so much easier,” Brother Camargo said. “It’s all there, just one click and you have the explanation.”

Home-centered gospel learning has also enhanced the weekly Church experience because more members are coming to worship services and classes better prepared to discuss what they have learned from the scriptures.

“The Church experience has increased dramatically. Members are coming to Church to share things they have learned as never before,” Brother Newman said. “It doesn’t matter where you go to Church, you know what the ‘Come, Follow Me’ lesson and block of scriptures is that week. If you have a good teacher, the first questions they should ask are ‘What did you learn at home this week that you would like to share?’ and ‘What has the Holy Ghost taught you this week?’ That makes the experience at Church rise way above.”

‘Come, Follow Me’ suggestions

If the Sunday School general presidency could offer one suggestion to members, it would be for ministering brothers and sisters to help others learn how to have scripture study experiences in their homes.

“Studying the scriptures with ‘Come, Follow Me’ is a wonderful thing that ministering brothers and sisters can do,” President Pace said. “It can be intimidating to those who haven’t been able to begin. Just meet together, read a chapter and have a little discussion. You can review a paragraph from the manual. It brings the Spirit in a wonderful, profound way.”

Scripture study is also spiritually enhanced when beginning with a prayer and singing a hymn, which is now easy with technology.

“Ask, ‘What is it that the Lord wants to teach me?’ ‘What is it that I need to learn to improve my personal and family life?’” Brother Camargo said. “As you start studying the scriptures with those questions in mind, the study becomes different.”

“The scriptures, a hymn, a prayer, it’s all conducive to inviting the Spirit,” President Pace said.

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