With school starting for many/most in the U.S., and around the world, including myself, I wanted to speak to the importance of education, and what is stands for in the LDS faith, and in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament and the Pearl of Great Price talk about how the Earth and the Solar System was created by God in the beginning. Leaving out the other details of this; I'll get the point of this discussion. God had to know how to do this. He had the knowledge and understanding of planets, gravity, water, chemistry, physics, geology, etc.
God had to know how to create everything, how everything worked, how to put what molecules together in what form, and how they would react with each other, and in what way. God had to know how to create the Sun, and the Moon, and how to divide the light from the darkness. God had to understand where to put the Earth in relation to the Sun, and the tilt of the axis, and every other little detail so that the Earth would spin the way it does. God then shared this knowledge with many of the prophets.
Many times in the scriptures, it talks about how God showed the beginning of the world to someone from the creation of this planet to the end. God then had to make the plants, animals, and Adam and Eve. What great knowledge this takes. What great wisdom and understanding God has to know how to put these things together in these ways. In the D&C it is stated many times about the importance of learning, understanding, knowledge and wisdom. One of my favorite scriptural quotes is: "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come." D&C 130: 18-19.
In the New Testament we are told that as a young man, Jesus went to the Temple, and was found conversing with the teachers and scholars, and how they were amazed at his understanding. This was a very common practice for the more scholarly to speak with and question younger people, to help them learn, and to understand where to find scriptural knowledge. They were amazed with his answers because a boy of 12 was so knowledgeable about the scriptures and his understanding of things. Joseph Smith Jr. was taught by the Angel Moroni, and then continued to receive teachings and revelations throughout his adult life. By the time the Prophet was murdered, he could speak and write in several languages, and had a great understanding of many scholarly ideas, and intellect.
The Lord puts it clearly to us in the Pearl of Great Price when he states: “And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all.” Book of Abraham: 3: 19. I always strived for education, and in my younger years, I was usually too smart for my classes, and I would find typos and wrong information about things in the textbooks we used. I know I caused many grey hairs on my teachers. After college, I have still found a great joy in learning, and understanding things. When some Ivy League schools offered free summer classes I thought that was a cool idea in which to share with people in general the great knowledge they had as professors. I am now in a Masters program, and I know I will complete it; it does seem a bit daunting at times about what is expected of me.
I look at and hear what the newest or latest textbooks are saying, or what has been removed from them more than what has been put in, and I’m so scared and concerned about what is NOT being taught, mainly in this country. As LDS, we need to strive to continue to understand all aspects of life, and to learn everything we can. The education fund by the Church is a key point of the importance of education, and to education others. Teaching Sunday School, Gospel Doctrine, has always been, and always will be my favorite class to teach because I enjoy doing unique things, and bringing up ideas and information you usually don’t hear. The importance of education is key to fully understanding the Gospel, and as the Lord stated, it will only benefit us both in this life, and in the next.
There are great differences between knowledge and wisdom, and knowing something and understanding something on many levels. But, the key point is to want to learn, to want to know, and to give this love of learning to our children and other generations. To learn line upon line, and precept upon precept. Let us each learn from each other, let us teach our children the many great wonders of this universe we live in, let us remember we do NOT know everything or close to it. I once stated this in a Sunday School Class: 500 years ago we “knew” the world was flat. 300 years ago we “knew” there were no new sciences to discover. 100 years ago we “knew” there were only 100 elements in the world. 70 years ago we “knew” atomic energy was impossible. 60 years ago we “knew” man would never go to the moon. 30 years ago we “knew” what a black hole was. 20 years ago we “knew” the SAT was a great test for college abilities. What are we going to “know” next week? Let us learn to have open minds, and open hearts. Let us learn to speak with love and compassion. Let us learn to learn all we can. #LDSdemsbelieve in schooling, and learning all we can.