Do We Love Learning?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
Delight in service and good works.
Love life and learning.

Something that I have always loved is to do is learn. I fully believe in the idea that we should be continual learners until the day we die. This is because I believe that we can always be better or do something more than we have done before. This next question is such a fun one for me. Do we love learning? My immediate answer is, if we don’t, we really should.

The scriptures teach us a lot about learning and what we should be focusing that learning upon. I particularly love Doctrine and Covenants 90:15 which reads, “…and study and learn, and become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people.” There is great benefit in having a well-rounded knowledge. If we hope to become like God, and God is the founder of all that is good, as well as being all-knowing, then it makes perfect sense that we should be learning all that we can from all that is good. In Doctrine and Covenants 88:118 we read, “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” You cannot separate secular learning from spiritual learning in the eternal perspective. That is a distinction that man has made and I think it is part of the reason that we are loosing so much valuable spiritual learning in every-day life. If we make all our learning a matter of study and faith, we will know what is good and we will find a sincere love for learning.

There are many ways to learn. Of course, I think we all should recognize the blessings of learning in a school-type setting. Gaining an education in the those things we learn from standard schools, is a benefit to all areas of our lives, even if we don’t recognize it at the time. I truly believe that in order for us to create, lead, guide and love as God does, we need to have an understanding of all things. And I truly believe that we will take our understanding and knowledge with us when we leave this mortal life. I believe the words found in Doctrine and Covenants 130:18, “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.” If we do not love the learning we can gain through school, we are denying ourselves that portion of understanding, which I fully believe God has. Even if we are not currently in school, we can continue to learn things of a secular nature, through books, online courses, asking others to teach us what they know and more.

For greater spiritual learning, we have personal study of the scriptures and other gospel books, which I have found to be a significant blessing and motivator in my own life. There is also family study of these, which helps us to learn from one another, become strengthened as a family unit, and gives us great opportunities to share and strengthen our testimonies. Likewise, we can study as couples, which I think is a great tool for a couple to grow together and keep their passions, goals, and desires in line with one another. The scriptures are there for our learning. In 1 Nephi 19:23 we read, “And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.” Likewise in 2 Nephi 4:15 we read, “And upon these [the plates] I write the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.” I have a great love for the scriptures and this is because I love learning from them. The scriptures are not some made up books for us to simply find entertaining, but rather the greatest books we could ever hope to learn from in this life.

We also have the great opportunity to learn at church or through programs such as institute, firesides and conferences. There was a talk I listened to recently, given by John Bytheway, where he talked about the need for us to go to church with an imaginary bucket we want to fill. Sometimes, we take something much smaller, or nothing at all, with which to put greater knowledge and understanding into, and we leave with so much less than we could get out of our Sunday worship. He suggests that if we go with the idea that we are going to fill our bucket and really get as much as we can out of each meeting, we will find our Sundays so much more enriching. I really think that his idea is right.

We continue to have the opportunity for learning in our counsels (meetings), in the family setting, out in the world, and at church. There is, of course, general conference, where we can learn what the Lord wants for His people. We can learn things of the spirit, by sharing our testimonies with others and listening to the testimonies of others. And finally, one of the greatest places to learn things of a spiritual nature, is in the temple. It is in the temple where we learn the things that God wants us to know that we simply cannot learn any where else in the world.

I often wonder if I am taking full advantage of all the opportunities that God has given me, to learn the things of both spiritual and secular nature. I have considered this a lot more lately, because over the last year, I have been involved in a program called Celestial University. The program was started in the ward I was in before moving earlier this year, but I was committed to seeing it through after we moved. I chose to try for a “degree” in theology, which meant that I would focus my goals for the year on studying and learning things of the gospel. I found, however, that I was able to work on study in all areas of my life and have really been blessed by it. Part of this program, focused on the goals that require us to learn from experience more than from a lesson or a book.

One of the ways that we learn the best is through experience. In Genesis 30:27, Laban, the father-in-law of Jacob (Israel), says, “I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake.” We can find a love for learning by experience when we recognize the blessings that come from it. I know that this life would not be worth it, if all we did was learn from books and teachers. While there is great benefit in this type of learning, I think the greater blessings come from living the things we have been taught and experiencing the consequences of our choices, both for good or bad. Psalms 119:71 reads, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” This is how we gain understanding and wisdom of the things of this world and of the spirit. The understanding and wisdom will bring us the joy and happiness we desire. When we learn by experience, we can do greater things, just as our Savior has done. In Hebrews 5 we read the following:

8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

The Savior, whose life we should emulate, had to learn obedience through the experience of suffering in order to be made perfect. We should try to find a love for learning through experience as well, so that we will make greater attempts to become more like our Savior.

We show our love for learning, when we maintain a spirit of humility. If we are proud and take the attitude of ‘we know better’, than we are not teachable and nothing is gained. In Alma 32:12 we read, “I say unto you, it is well that ye are cast out of your synagogues, that ye may be humble, and that ye may learn wisdom; for it is necessary that ye should learn wisdom; for it is because that ye are cast out, that ye are despised of your brethren because of your exceeding poverty, that ye are brought to a lowliness of heart; for ye are necessarily brought to be humble.” We cannot learn, and therefore love learning, unless we recognize that we are not perfect in our knowledge and understanding. We would do good, to humble ourselves and open our hearts and minds to the teachings of others and especially the teachings of the spirit.

We should love learning about the commandments of God, because they are of such great importance. In Alma 37:35 we read, “O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.” Our lives will be easier if we learn these when we are younger, so that we can live them. In Deuteronomy 5:1, Moses, who gave us the ten commandments directly from the Lord, taught, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.” When we learn the things that God would have us learn, we are able to have greater peace and happiness in this life. In Matthew 11:29 we read, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” That thought is also found in Doctrine and Covenants 19:23, which reads, “Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.” Becoming wise from our learning is only a benefit if we are willing to live what we learn of the things God has taught us. In 2 Nephi 9:29 we read, “But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.” It is conditional. If we learn, but do not obey the things of God, we will not benefit from that learning. In fact, if we learn of the counsels of God and then choose not to hearken to them, we are doing ourselves a greater disservice in the more eternal perspective of our lives.

There is wisdom in learning. In proverbs 1:5 we read, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning;…” If we aren’t continually striving for greater knowledge, we will get nowhere in this life or the next. I believe that when we seek, the Lord will openly bless us with the learning that we seek. In Matthew 7 we read the following:

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (See also 3 Ne. 14:7)

God has also given us this as a guide in more modern times. In Doctrine and Covenants we read 1 we read the following:

24 Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding. …
26 And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed; …

Of course, we receive greater wisdom and knowledge from learning the things of God first. In Doctrine and Covenants 50:24 we read, “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.” In are love for learning, we need to be mindful of what is better for us to learn. In Doctrine and Covenants 6:7 we read, “Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.”

Why do we learn and why should we have a love for learning? Because, we will benefit from it in this life and after it. In Doctrine and Covenants 130:19 it says, “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.” If this is too deep and all we can focus on, is the here and now, then we should recognize the great benefits that come from us continuing to learn. When we learn, we are not only giving ourselves greater opportunities in life, such as better occupations and the ability to make better decisions, but we will have greater opportunities to use our knowledge for good. We can only teach others, if we know for ourselves. Learning will help us to be better teachers as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and so on. Learning helps us to be able to contribute more to our communities and in our churches. I know that when we are able to help those around us because of the things we have learned, we feel so much happier and a greater love for learning.

I am so glad that I have been given the capacity to learn and I know that this is a reason for this mortal life being what it is. We have trials and difficulties so that we can learn. We have joys and blessings, so that we can learn. We have the scriptures so that we can learn. We have the gospel and prophets today, so that we can learn. We have the amazing gift of agency, so that we can learn. We have the even greater gift of the spirit, so that we can learn. And all of these make us better people now and in the eternities. Learning will make us more like our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ. I know that I am blessed when I learn. I believe that as women and people of faith, we are happier when we have a love for learning.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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