I recently fell asleep one night while reading the scriptures. It wasn’t because they were boring me, I was just dog-tired. A suggestion–someone needs to print a version that has special drool resistant pages. Anyway, here I was asleep the other night, face down on the bible and I have this dream. Whether it was inspired or not, I leave to you. In the dream, there was a big screen TV, and the following commercial advertisement came on.
[Beginning of Dream]
Announcing: The Scripture Channel!! [choir music in the background, a sound vaguely resembling the Tabernacle Choir singing “Nights in White Satin” except in a minor key with a pipe organ]
Do you feel enormous guilt for sitting around watching the TV when you should be reading your scriptures–like right now? Do you find that TV time just keeps getting in the way of reading the scriptures–like right now? Well, here’s an exciting new opportunity for you! The Scripture Channel!
Yes, on The Scripture Channel you will have 24/7 access to the scriptures, all day, all the time. The Scripture Channel is easy to use, you just turn on the channel and … voila there are the scriptures! Our patent-pending, state-of-the-art technology allows The Scripture Channel to bring you a continuously scrolling text of the scriptures in large print on your very own TV screen, accompanied by a pleasant voice-over reading of that very same passage you are reading simultaneously on the TV screen! Amazing! Menu options on your remote control even allow you to format the picture so that it actually looks like a scroll!
With The Scripture Channel, reading the scriptures has never been easier! Just turn on the TV and watch The Scripture Channel for 30 minutes, and, before you know it, you will have actually read the scriptures for about … a half an hour! Just think–during half time in a football game, you can read several letters by Paul and compare and contrast his ancient sports metaphors with modern athletic endeavors! But wait! If your TV has split screen technology, you can even watch the football game AND read the bible … at the same time! There has never been a better multi-tasking tool than The Scripture Channel.
It’s also easy to use with Tivo. Say your favorite passage from Leviticus is scheduled to be read on The Scripture Channel at 3:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, you don’t have to miss it, just Tivo it and read it tomorrow at your leisure! What if you just can’t wait till tomorrow? The Scripture Channel also has a pay per view-on demand option! Read it now! You’re watching that football game and some guy holds up a poster that says “John 3:16”–read it now!
Parents, worried about your children reading something they shouldn’t in the scriptures? Don’t be! The Scripture Channel is V-chip friendly. Your children won’t be exposed to any sex or violence, in accordance with your programmed preferences! (Please note: Song of Solomon, large sections of the Torah and the Book of Mormon, Facsimile 2 of the Book of Abraham and Section 132 of the D&C are automatically V-chip blocked.)
But wait! The Scripture Channel comes in high definition and stereo! And, our special “Mark it Elder Rigdon!” on-screen highlighting function allows you to use the remote control to actually mark your favorite passages of scripture so you’ll recognize them when they come around again. The Scripture Channel is also close-captioned for the hearing impaired.
But wait! If you subscribe now, we’ll send this free leatherette TV set cover shaped just like a scripture tote bag, complete with a faux zipper, handle and side pocket for the remote control. Don’t delay! Time is running out on this special offer. Subscribe now by calling this 1-800 number at the bottom of your screen!
[End of dream]
Okay, enough nonsense for a moment. Sometimes it is hard to read the scriptures, and often when we do it, we do it out of mere obligation, because it’s good for us. It’s a daily dose of printed cod liver oil for the soul. For me, it wasn’t until I started reading the scriptures out of sheer pleasure, rather than out of devotion, that I found them un-put-downable. When it was no longer a religious duty, but something I wanted to do, something I wanted to do … at the exclusion of other things. I was completely converted to this way of thinking after taking “The Bible as Literature” at BYU under Steve Walker in the early 80s where he taught us that “the bible is the best book you’ll never read.”
Why do some people have such a hard time slogging through the scriptures? Who’s to blame? Short of a drastic measure such as “The Scripture Channel,” what can be done to get people reading them?