The Primary Answers

In Elder Schmeil’s talk “Faith to Act and Become“, he discusses how to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ. He does this by relating what many of us call the “Primary” answers. These are praying and studying the scriptures.

Prayer and Scripture Study

Let’s look at the phrase “Primary Answers”. For most of the members of the church, this relates to our time as three to twelve-year-olds. We were in the Primary organization and the classes related to those ages. As children, being taught to pray and study the scriptures would help us build a strong spiritual foundation before the complexities of adolescence and adulthood would come. Our parents and teachers reinforced this in our classes, family home evenings, and by having daily family prayer and scripture study.

My mother was a good example of teaching prayer in our home. When we first joined the church and for years after, mom would gather us together before bedtime. We would talk a little about our day, sing a song and then have family prayer. I remember these times fondly and they always brought comfort before going to bed.

But let’s look at another meaning for the term “Primary Answers”. The word “Primary” also means:

  • of chief importance; principal
  • earliest in order of time

Using this definition it’s easy to see why prayer and scripture study lead to becoming a better disciple of Christ. When prayer and scripture study become “of chief importance” in our lives, they have greater meaning and priority. These two acts are how we strengthen our relationship with God and learn His will. By making them the most important we also show our love of God and willingness to follow His plan.

When we have questions and are searching for answers, the first places, or “earliest in time of order” we should go is in prayer and scripture study. Again, building that relationship with God so He can guide us to the answers we seek. When we “study it out in [our] [minds]” (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8) then ask in prayer, God will answer us.

Taking Action

As we have seen, prayer and scripture study are important. However, we must also act. As we continue to serve others, magnify our callings, and act on inspiration, we show our willingness to execute the plan of salvation. We show that we aren’t only giving lip service to God. Through our actions, we are also molded into becoming what God knows we can become.

Taking action can be difficult when the answers we are seeking are delayed. The Lord answers our question in His own time and not necessarily in the time frame we want. We need to be patient and continue to do the things that will keep the Holy Ghost as our constant companion. This will also keep us prepared to recognize the answer when delivered. If you find yourself waiting for an answer and hesitant to move forward or paralyzed from taking action, take one step and keep going.


As members of the church, we often either blow off or make fun of the “Primary Answers”. However, if we truly want to become better disciples of Jesus Christ, we must build our relationship with God. The best way to do that is through prayer and scripture study.


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