Recently I began tracking my study of the Scriptures with two different websites.  Read the Scriptures is a social networking themed site.  It is also geared towards members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but I feel strongly that anyone would gain a lot through the site.

You set up your various reading schedules and the site will email you the day’s reading assignment for each schedule.  The nice thing about this is if you are on the road, you have instant access right in your email of your daily assignment.  You can also choose to read on the website, allowing you to mark your virtual scriptures with highlighting and notes.  They also feature a journal where you can write daily thoughts about your study.

I like that they allow for the marking and note taking, allowing you to always feel like you have your personalized Bible right at hand.  I travel a lot and so this feature speaks to me.  Also, I tend to run out of note space in the margins, so it allows for me to process my thoughts and perhaps find ways to make my margin notes a tad more concise.

You obviously do not have to read the email if you are at home, you can open it up and see what today’s study is and then read in your personal Scriptures.  However the email does have a handy button you can use when finished your study.  One button will automatically mark on the website that you completed the assignment, the other will do that but also send you the next installment without you having to wait for the following day.  Yes, you can read ahead!  It will take you to a website that will allow you to see a progress bar of where you fall in your schedule percentage wise as well as tell you if you are ahead, behind, or right on track!

When logged into the site, you can view on one page all of your goals and their progress bars.  I tell you, I am in love with progress bars.  I love to see those things fill up!  It makes me want to keep going on whatever my project is!  It works for NaNoWriMo and it works for reading!

You can choose from schedules of reading the Book of Mormon, the Old Testament, The New Testament, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, The Bible, or The Complete Standard Works.  They have yearly plans for reading these books or you can customize your own.  Want to read The Bible in 60 days?  You just let it know that and it will magically formulate your assignment and start emailing you!

In addition to the full LDS Scriptures, you can also choose to receive mailings for your Sunday School class, Seminary class, Primary class, Relief Society/Priesthood class, the Church magazine known as The Ensign, and the latest General Conference.  Each of these come packaged in a zip file along with a link to read the segment on the Church website.  For the Ensign and Conference it seems to send one article a day while the Sunday lessons come each Sunday morning.

The website deals with the social aspect by allowing you to have buddies and also teams.  Through these two things, you can encourage one another with virtual gifts or notes.  You can track the progress of your friends and family so you know when they need some support or kudos.  There is an inbox for private messaging between friends as well as a team comment board.  Another fun caveat is that teams can challenge one another in their studying.  You can choose which of your schedules your team views.

One of my favourite features is that they don’t just stop there.  Each time I click that “Complete” button in an email and it takes me to the website to see my status bar, I also get a random encouraging quote.  Several have found their way into the blank pages at the start of my Bible.  That’s what those blank pages are for, right?  I love quotes and so this just struck me as a neat bonus. 

My current schedules for February are:

Custom Schedule: Book of Mormon in 97 Days (I am participating in the President Hinckley Challenge)
Gospel Doctrine (Sunday School) – Book of Mormon: Annual Schedule
Ensign: February 2008 (Completed! Woot!) – 1 article a day
Teachings of the President of the Church: Joseph Smith (Relief Society/Priesthood lessons) – Annual Schedule
Ensign November 2007 – General Conference – 1 article a day

It seems like a lot of reading, but truly it is not.  When you get the chunk just emailed to you, you can see it as far less daunting! 

I am currently reading the Bible in a year, but I am using another website for that.  You can read about that in another review!

I enjoy the website, the ease of use, the creative ways they bring to add a little more to your Scripture study, and the fact that this service comes free of charge.  I highly recommend it for anyone, but especially for Latter-Day Saints.

–Lady O
P.S. Feel free to friend me at the website.  I am, as always, Lady Ozma!

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