(This recommendation was released on 11/17/2000 by LDS-Gems and is posted here by permission)

'Scriptorian' Software Assists in Scripture Learning

Recommendation by Jason McDonald

"Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am" (D&C 93:1).

This scripture is on my own personal study list that I created in the Scriptorian scripture mastery program. If you want to become more familiar with the scriptures--just being exposed to them more or spending extensive time memorizing passages--Scriptorian is a program you should look into.

Scriptorian is a simple computer program designed to help people learn scriptures faster, and help them remember scriptures longer. The website of their parent company, SoftLore, http://www.softlore.com, sums up the Scriptorian philosophy in a quote from Richard G. Scott (from the October 1999 General Conference): "I suggest that you memorize scriptures that touch your heart and fill your soul with understanding. When scriptures are used as the Lord has caused them to be recorded, they have intrinsic power that is not communicated when paraphrased. Sometimes when there is a significant need in my life, I review mentally scriptures that have given me strength. There is great solace, direction, and power that flow from the scriptures, especially the words of the Lord." Scriptorian is incredibly customizable, and really allows you to tailor a scripture-memorizing program that will work best for you.

The program is built around a feature called a "study list." The study list is your tool for the other activities in Scriptorian. Starting either from scratch, or using a predefined list (which can then be modified to fit your needs) you can build a set of scriptural passages that augments your personal study, appeals to your special interests, or addresses your individual needs. The "predefined" study lists include all four years of seminary scripture mastery scriptures, making Scriptorian ready-to-use for seminary students and teachers. And if the whole family wants to use Scriptorian, each member can have a perfectly customized list with the scriptures they currently want to learn.

"The Library" is another feature that helps you customize Scriptorian further. Libraries are items you personally add to the Scriptorian database. When you create a Library you can add any resource you want, whether gospel related or not (a Library item could even help you memorize the ingredients for your favorite recipe). Once a Library item is in a study list you can use it for any activity just like you would the scriptures that come preloaded with the program.

I found the activity called "Quote It" to be most helpful. Quote It gives you a scripture reference and asks you to fill in a set of missing words (or if you prefer, it will give you the reference and you fill in every word). I did the power user test and tried to fill in 90% of the words. Luckily, Scriptorian also has a robust hint system built in. So when I got stuck, the next word was only a click away.

I think my favorite feature in Scriptorian is the "Pop-up" function. This lets you "set-it-and-forget-it." When Pop-up is turned on, the Scriptorian program drops into the background. Then, after a certain amount of time the program will bring up a window with one of the Scriptorian activities. As I was writing the previous sentence, the Quote It window popped up and it only took a minute to fill in the missing words (I won't tell you how many mistakes I made).

You aren't restricted to only memorizing with Scriptorian, either. You can customize your study list with what Scriptorian refers to as "Topix." Topix are additional fields that you attach to the passages in your study list. You can add historical information, add hints to help you memorize, or maybe put in an insight from your personal study. As you're memorizing, you can pull up the Topix that are attached and spend some time learning those, too. It's a great way to take Scriptorian and have it help you a little with your gospel study.

There are a couple of additional features that are worth mentioning. First, Scriptorian comes built in with short tutorials to help you get up and running with the essential features. I don't often find online tutorials to be very helpful, but these were. I knew what I was doing after watching the tutorials once. The second feature is the SoftLore website, http://www.softlore.com, where you can download a free, 30-day trial version of Scriptorian, the latest updates for the program, tips on use, or additional study lists (users of the program can even upload their favorite study lists for others to use). It was refreshing to see a company website that offered valuable items to their users. I recommend that you visit every now and again to see what new lists are available.

Check out Scriptorian. It can play a valuable role in your personal learning of the scriptures. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time for me to work on my study list.

(Jason McDonald is a PhD candidate in Instructional Psychology and Technology at BYU and an employee of MSTAR.NET.)

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