“Ponder Upon the Things Which I Have Said”

Church Educational System

Some students of the gospel may feel that simply reading the scriptures or listening to the words of the prophets is adequate. The Savior, however, directed the Nephites to not only listen to His words but to “go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said” (3 Nephi 17:3). This, He taught, would help them understand and prepare their “minds for the morrow” when He would return (verse 3). This is in harmony with other passages of scriptures that command us to ponder what we read, see, and hear. Moroni listed pondering as one of the essential features in gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon (see Moroni 10:3). Nephi told his readers, “My soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard” (2 Nephi 4:16).

President Marion G. Romney (1897–1988) of the First Presidency described the power of pondering:

“As I have read the scriptures, I have been challenged by the word ponder, so frequently used in the Book of Mormon. The dictionary says that ponder means ‘to weigh mentally, think deeply about, deliberate, meditate.’ …
“Pondering is, in my feeling, a form of prayer. It has, at least, been an approach to the Spirit of the Lord on many occasions. Nephi tells us of one such occasion:
“‘For it came to pass,’ he wrote, ‘after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceeding high mountain. …’ (1 Ne. 11:1. Italics added.)
“Then follows Nephi’s account of the great vision he was given by the Spirit of the Lord, because he believed the words of his prophet father and had such a great desire to know more that he pondered and prayed about them” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, 117–18; or Ensign, July 1973, 90).

Pondering the things of God helps to keep us from becoming complacent in our approach to Him. Elder Neal A. Maxwell explained the dangers of not regularly internalizing the gospel in our lives: “The worshipers at Rameumptom so ritualized their religion that they never spoke of their God ‘again until they had assembled themselves together’ a week later at the holy stand. (Alma 31:23.) Note the contrast in how Jesus instructed His followers on this hemisphere: [3 Nephi 17:3.] See how the Master focuses on the family—on pondering, praying, preparing together! It should not surprise us, if we routinize our religion and do not assign the highest priority to the kingdom, that our hearts and minds will quite naturally drift to other things” (Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward [1977], 30–31).

Book of Mormon Student Manual (2009 Edition)