“Go Ye Unto Your Homes and Ponder Upon the Things Which I Have Said”

Bryan Richards

Of all the recipes designed to increase our spiritual understanding, this must be the greatest. Directly from the Savior, we are given a three-step instruction: 1) ponder, 2) pray for understanding, and 3) prepare your minds for more. Oliver Cowdery is famous for failing to translate because he skipped steps 1 and 3, Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me (DC 9:7-8, italics added).

"We might ask why the scriptures have to be pondered to be understood and appreciated. After all, we don't need to ponder newspapers or magazines. We understand them at a first reading. What makes the scriptures different?
"An analogy might help. The scriptures are like a symphony. The problem with a symphony, if it can be called a problem, is that there is so much going on at the same time that an inexperienced listener feels bewildered, not knowing what to listen for, or how to make sense of everything. But the music lover knows what to do. He picks out a theme carried by the string section, compares it to a variation on that theme by the oboes, and hears the composer being playful or reflective or joyful. Unlike the novice, he hears and feels the effects of the details that give the symphony, in all its complexity, its power and impact." (Dennis and Sandra Packard, "Pondering the Word," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, p. 51)

Joseph B. Wirthlin

"In a revelation given to President Joseph F. Smith is an important message for all of us. 'On the third of October,' wrote President Smith, 'in the year nineteen hundred and eighteen, I sat in my room pondering over the scriptures; and reflecting upon the great atoning sacrifice that was made by the Son of God, for the redemption of the world. . . . As I pondered over these things which are written, the eyes of my understanding were opened, and the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me.' (D&C 138:1-2, 11.)
"Pondering—which means to weigh mentally, to deliberate, to mediate—can open the spiritual eyes of one's understanding. Also, the Spirit of the Lord may rest upon the ponderer, as described by President Smith.
"Jesus admonished the Nephites, 'Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand.' (3 Nephi 17:3.) We are constantly reminded through the scriptures that we should give the things of God much more than usual superficial consideration. We must ponder them and reach into the very essence of what we are and what we may become." (Finding Peace in Our Lives, p. 209)

Gordon B. Hinckley

"We all do a lot of studying, but most of us don't do much meditation. We don't take time to think. I'd like to suggest that next fast day . . . everybody in this hall set aside an hour or two. Sit by yourself. Go in the bedroom and lock the door. Go out in the yard under a tree. Go in your study if you have one and shut the door, and think about yourself and your worthiness. Read from this great book [Book of Mormon]…There's a great word that's used, 'ponder.'
"'Ponder.' What do we mean by 'ponder'? Well, I think it simply means kind of quietly thinking things through. Ponder what you have read. Ponder your life. Are you worthy, are you living the commandments…?" (Church News, 01/06/96)

Ezra Taft Benson

"Man must take time to meditate, to sweep the cobwebs from his mind, so that he might get a more firm grip on the truth and spend less time chasing phantoms and dallying in projects of lesser worth.... Take time to meditate. Ponder the meaning of the work in which you are engaged. The Lord has counseled 'Let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your mind's' (D&C 43:34). You cannot do that when your minds are preoccupied with the worries and cares of the world." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 390. as taken from McConkie, Millet, and Top, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 4, p. 114)