Elsewhere in the bloggernacle, Gordon Smith has posted his thoughts about scripture marking and why he no longer marks his scriptures. Several of his commentators have described their own scripture marking systems. Back in September of 2004, I wrote a blog post on Ebenezer Orthodoxy about my own concerns with scripture marking.
I have recently been experimenting with a new scripture study method as an alternative to scripture marking. I call it the Integrated Scripture Journal.
I went down to Deseret Book and purchased a looseleaf edition of the Book of Mormon designed for use in a day planner. I then purchased a small three-ring looseleaf-binder-style journal and put the looseleaf Book of Mormon in it. I call it my Book of Mormon Journal.
The first thing I like about this arrangement is that, because it is looseleaf I never have to hold the page I am studying open. I can place the binder flat on my desk, table, or lap and it stays open to where I want it to be. The second thing I like about it is that it eliminates juggling two books, the Book of Mormon and a notebook.
As I read, I write impressions, thoughts, observations, relationships with other scriptures, and note external references or personal experiences related to the text on the journal pages along with the date and then insert them in between the pages of the Book of Mormon to which they relate.
So far I feel like my experience with the scriptures has improved dramatically using this system. Since my experiment seems to be bearing good fruit, I plan to extend my integrated scripture journal idea to other scriptures as well and I am excited to note that looseleaf copies of The Bible and the Triple-Combination are also available.
One thing that I need to improve, however, is the looseleaf journal paper. I need to find paper that is closer in size to the scripture pages. The journal paper I have sticks out beyond the edges of the scripture pages and that can be annoying. I also suspect that when I start with the Bible and Triple-Combination I will have to find journal binders of a more specialized size to adjust for their greater length and thickness.
I would like to see the BYU Religion Department and the Church Education System adopt my looseleaf Integrated Scripture Journal concept into their classes as an enhancement or replacement of the current scripture marking system.
I also think that Deseret Book could arrange to sell ready-made looseleaf Integrated Scripture Journals so that members do not have to create their own make-shift journals as I have done.
In any case, I hope that some of you will find the concept of an Integrated Scripture Journal as useful as I have.