I am now 27 and I can’t believe that a little over 20 years ago we started our “Picture Pages” as a portion of our family scripture study. I know that a primary portion of my knowledge and testimony of the scriptures and the gospel is rooted in this family tradition.
Looking at the progress of our drawing abilities brings back many memories of growing up. There are still times when reading the Book of Mormon that I remember a story through the picture that was drawn as we studied that particular story as children. After my freshman year at BYU a school friend came to visit me at home in California. When he saw our multi-volume set of picture pages he nodded and commented, “So that’s why you’re the way you are.” He was right. I know that my foundation in the scriptures and love for the scriptures is based in this experience and the time and effort that my mother put in to teach us in this manner.
Picture pages were perfect for my learning style. I’ve learned through studying for exams that I’m really a visual learner. If I can’t imagine a scene or concept in my head or see it on paper, I have a difficult time remembering it. That’s why picture pages opened up my scriptural learning. Even now as I do my daily personal scripture study…those pictures come to mind and help me understand the feelings expressed within the text.
Today I used a couple of picture pages copied onto overheads in my Gospel Doctrine lesson. I wasn’t quite sure how they would go over in this family ward of mostly retired individuals, but the response was overwhelmingly positive. I had grandparents coming up to me afterwards wondering how they could get a copy of the set for their grandchildren, women who wondered how my mother did it all and raised five children in the meantime, and newly married couples that wondered if they could ever measure up when it came to teaching their own future children. Everyone wished they could have a copy of their very own!
I still remember when I was a little boy—no older than three—and my first picture page. I was given the assignment of depicting the conversation between the Father and the Son concerning the creation of the world. My picture consisted of two beings (circles with arms and legs hanging down) and an earth below. That picture and hundreds more, are vividly imprinted upon my memory.
Another memory is a collection of instances in primary when the class was asked to tell the happenings of a Bible story or one from the Book of Mormon. I was always able to relate the happenings of the stories in detail. This was accomplished because I saw the pictures in my head and related what was going on in each. At a very young age I knew the stories and was able to better understand the doctrine.
At an early age, I learned to love and admire people of the Book of Mormon. I always love to look back through the picture pages we’ve done and see all the personal portrayals of the stories of Nephi, Ammon, the great Captain Moroni, and Helaman’s stripling warriors. It’s also fun so see how many different looking towers King Benjamin preached from.
Throughout all of Primary and Sunday school I always seemed to have a good feel for the Book of Mormon and knowledge of its teachings. I attribute that to the fact, that after reading what was in the scriptures, we also had to think and clearly understand what was happening to draw a picture. Not only did this unfold what was going on to my young mind, but also tapped my creative resources and helped them develop. Picture pages have helped me so much that I know I will use them with my kids when I am a parent.
Picture pages have helped me to learn the stories in the Book of Mormon better. Even when just you, Dad and I were left at home we still did them almost every Sunday, occasionally having the missionaries or a friend do one as well.
I was grateful for picture pages when I went off to college and took some Book of Mormon classes. I was able to recall many pictures that came to my mind when my professors would explain different aspects of the Book of Mormon.
And now as I am currently a full-time missionary I am trying to instill this pattern of studying the scriptures in other people's lives. To teach the gospel we must know the gospel; just like it says in the Doctrine and Covenants 11:21, "Seek not to declare my word…but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed…" And I know that the time we spent as a family doing picture pages, helped me to prepare to serve as a servant of the Lord, having the Spirit and "the power of God unto the convincing of men" (D&C 11:21).
"Weekly Family Picture Page Time"