He said they began by wanting to study the scriptures. I thought this was excellent. He went on to say that he and his wife began looking for a Church that had a Bible study where they could read and learn from the Bible. I thought that too was great. I asked if he and his wife ever perused the LDS church, and mentioned the Book of Mormon. He said no. I asked why and he said they didn't have "studies" for adults.
I had no response for that. Our Institute and Seminaries are for youth, and young adults. See the below direct quote from the LDS institute web page.
"The Objective of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion
Our purpose is to help youth and young adults understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ, qualify for the blessings of the temple, and prepare themselves, their families, and others for eternal life with their Father in Heaven."
My co-worker went on to talk about finding a few churches that read scriptures in someones home, and who had informal nights when people would get together to study. I was listening but for the most part my mind wandered off and seriously contemplated what he just told me. The Church I belong to claims restored scripture, revelations to a prophet Joseph Smith, canonized as scripture. Of all churches I thought my own should be the one holding scriptures studies. And not just for youth. For adults of all ages. Just regular old members, being guided by the Spirit, and the desire to learn. It could even be a missionary effort.
Lunch ended with me realizing some things that took me by surprise. We claim modern scripture, restored truth, yet there are no visible or attend-able places to go study them if you are an adult. Is this what it means to neglect the Book of Mormon as D&C 84:54-57 refers to? Which put the Church under condemnation? Sunday school's 4 year cycle of scripture coverage skips over entire books at a time, so that hardly qualifies as scripture study. Our curriculum comes from downtown Salt Lake, and for the youth it's now totally topic based, not scripture based. General Conference every 6 months seems to have replaced our need to read and study the scriptures. I think there are various reasons for this. For one, if members were encouraged to hold scriptures studies in their homes, or have non church sanctioned studies, there would be all sorts of uncorrelated thoughts and doctrine potentially surfacing. This would upset a great many things inside headquarters, and some members.
Another, which would be the most revealing, would be that if any random bishop announced to their ward that there would be a ward led scripture study, once a week, no one would go. There is a pretty observable mindset of disinterest about the scriptures among the Saints. Not everyone, but lots. Our leaders sometimes supplant the written word of God, or the need for it. Which leads to no one being all that interested in studying scripture. "We have a Bible" "There can be no more Bible". We loose the ability to read and understand scripture because we are rarely taught or shown how. Your out of luck if you never attended seminary or institute, and even if you did, that's sometimes not helpful anyway. No wonder there is an attitude of non interest.
I hope I'm wrong. What do you think? If your Bishop next Sunday announced that the ward would hold a weekly scripture night, where for 1 hour someone in the ward, called to lead the study, would do nothing but assist in studying the scriptures, would people go?