In the town of Naghualá, Guatemala, a miracle is taking place among a circle of Indian sisters gathered in Relief Society. They are hearing the lesson in their native language of Quiche. The teacher, an Indian sister dressed in traditional Mayan corte and huipil (a heavily embroidered handwoven skirt and blouse), translates from Spanish into Quiche so that all may understand and participate.
In an area where opportunities for schooling are limited, particularly for women, this teacher’s ability came as the result of devotion and study. Because of her hours of personal study, the spirit of learning pervades the Relief Society group. Since mastering reading herself, this woman has begun teaching one of her Relief Society sisters to read. The sisters of Naghualá together are “feasting upon the word of Christ.” (2 Ne. 31:20.)
Relief Society sisters everywhere are sharing the power of the word of God as the Savior commanded: “Teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.” (D&C 88:77.)
How are we responsible for the enlightenment of ourselves and others?
There is no age when education starts or when it stops. Camilla Kimball, wife of President Spencer W. Kimball, set an example of continued learning. Despite demands on her time, she enrolled in one or two college classes a year, even when she was in her seventies. Sister Kimball said, “Learning means keeping the mind open to all kinds of experiences.” Sister Kimball suggested that besides taking classes, we can travel—“with an open mind, an alert eye, and a wish to understand other people, other places.” She also suggested that we help our children love learning. (The Writings of Camilla Eyring Kimball, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1988, p. 12.)
Since the organization of the Church in 1830, Latter-day Saint women have been encouraged to use their talents and continue their education. “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.” (D&C 88:118.)
How does the Lord’s emphasis on study and learning invite us to continue education at every stage of our lives?
Whatever our situation in life, we can seek light and truth for ourselves and others. “When we have knowledge and wisdom, we are able to discern truth from error and make better choices. We are better able to understand God and our fellowmen, and we have a deeper love for them. The Lord has commanded us to gain knowledge. To become self-reliant, we should:
“Improve our ability to read, write, and do basic mathematics.
“Study the scriptures and other good books.
“Learn to communicate effectively with others.
“Take advantage of opportunities to gain more knowledge.” (Providing in the Lord’s Way: A Leader’s Guide to Welfare, Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1990, p. 6.)
In many parts of the world, women did not have the chance during their childhood to learn to read and write well. Relief Society sisters may help by volunteering service to literacy programs in their own communities. Since in some societies, few books are available, sisters may encourage literacy by contributing to the Church’s Book of Mormon fund, which makes it possible for millions of people to receive this treasure in their own language. In addition, the Church is developing literacy materials in Spanish and English based on the Book of Mormon.
How can we spread light and truth in our families and communities?