Ponderizing not new to Texas Dallas Missionaries

Written by: 
Alex Maldonado

Missionaries from Devin G. Durrant Texas Dallas Mission said they have been “ponderizing” for three years now, ever since Durrant challenged them to do so and it’s made a difference in their lives.

Durrant, the first counselor in the General Sunday School Presidency, invited the world to ponderize the scriptures during his address at the 185th Semi-annual General Conference.

“I like to say [ponderizing] is a combination of 80 percent extended pondering and 20 percent memorization,” said Durrant. “There are two simple steps: First, choose a verse of scripture each week and place it where you will see it every day. Second, read or think of the verse several times each day and ponder the meaning of its words and key phrases throughout the week,” he said in his talk.

As a mission president, Durrant invited all of the Texas Dallas missionaries to ponderize a verse of scripture every week for the next 20 years.

A few of his former missionaries have reflected on the effect of “ponderizing” on their lives.

Vilas Bell, from Idaho said he uses ponderizing to continually improve himself: “I usually find a scripture that helps me in a situation that I'm currently in… Right now I've been focused on having sincere prayer and the scripture that I'm using 2 Nephi 33:3.”

Madeline Hixson, who lives in Utah, said, “I had a lot of trials and struggles that I never saw coming. So having a scripture always going through my head really helped. One that always kept me in check when I felt [like complaining] was Doctrine & Covenants 122:8. ‘The Son of Man hath descended below all things, art thou greater than he?’

“Having a scripture in your head helps with day-to day-life in general,” said Hixson. “Even knowing the general story and pondering a story is really important because they become a part of you and your life.”

Jared Hammond, who lives in Nevada remembered this experience as a missionary: “I remember ponderizing a scripture during my mission one week, and while we were knocking doors, we ran into someone who was willing to listen to a message. While we were talking to her, I felt prompted to share that scripture. I shared it and she started to cry and told us, ‘That was exactly what I needed to hear.’ It was an awesome experience.”

Danny Smith, who lives in Utah, gives this advice when ponderizing. “I often have mine posted somewhere in my car or on my laptop and will have people ask, ‘What's that?’ and I tell them it's my scripture of the week. Then I get to share my scripture and have a little spiritual conversation. It always feels good to share.”

Durrant came up with the concept of ponderizing after serving for years as a priesthood leader over young single adults. “I have been asked many times, ‘How do I control my thoughts better?’ said Durrant. “After giving the question much thought, the answer I usually offered was to memorize a verse of scripture and think of it when an ugly thought entered your mind.

“I am a big believer in the power of memorization. However, I found that memorization is quite difficult for most people,” he said. “That realization helped bring about the idea of extended pondering.... My wife, Julie, and I started down this ‘ponderizing’ path in September of 2012.”

Durrant said, “I feel the Spirit more fully as I ponderize weekly. My love of the scriptures has also increased as a result of striving to ‘let virtue garnish [my] thoughts unceasingly’.”

He continued, “If you choose to ponderize weekly, you may feel a bit like a person who has enjoyed snorkeling in the past but has now decided to try scuba diving. With that decision, a deeper understanding of gospel principles will be yours and new spiritual perspectives will bless your life.”

Uploaded Oct. 17, 2015