Second Counselor in the First Presidency

From an October 2009 general conference address.

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During the difficult economic conditions of postwar Germany, opportunities for education were not as abundant as they are today. But I always felt an eagerness to learn. One day, while I was out on my bike delivering laundry, I entered the home of a classmate of mine. In one of the rooms, two small desks were nestled against the wall. What a wonderful sight that was! How fortunate those children were to have desks of their own! I could imagine them sitting with open books studying their lessons and doing their homework. It seemed to me that having a desk of my own would be the most wonderful thing in the world.

I had to wait a long time before that wish was fulfilled. Years later, I got a job at a research institution that had a large library. I remember spending much of my free time in that library. There I could finally sit at a desk—by myself—and drink in the information and knowledge that books provide. How I loved to read and learn!

For members of the Church, education is not merely a good idea—it’s a commandment. We are to learn “of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad.”1

Joseph Smith loved learning even though he had few opportunities for formal education. In his journals, he spoke happily of days spent in study and often expressed his love of learning.

The Prophet Joseph taught, “Knowledge does away with darkness, [anxiety], and doubt; for these cannot exist where knowledge is.”2

Strive to increase your knowledge of all that is “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.”3 Seek knowledge “by study and also by faith.”4

In our learning, let us not neglect the fountain of revelation. The scriptures and the words of modern-day apostles and prophets are the sources of wisdom, divine knowledge, and personal revelation to help us find answers to all the challenges in life. Let us learn of Christ; let us seek out that knowledge which leads to peace and truth.

Learn some new words to help you understand President Uchtdorf’s message. Fill in the blanks with the highlighted words from the message that match the definitions below.

  1. 1.

    Righteous and pure

    V ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

  2. 2.

    Having plenty of something

    A ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

  3. 3.

    Having to do with money

    E ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

  4. 4.

    After World War II

    P ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

  5. 5.

    Schooling in a classroom

    F ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ E ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

Get Ready to Learn!

President Uchtdorf’s classmate had a small desk to use for studying. Here are some other things that can help you study and learn.

  • A lamp that helps you see

  • A quiet place where you can concentrate

  • A television that’s turned off

  • A box or bag to keep everything you need for studying

  • A sharp pencil

  • A good book to read every day

  • A regular time for homework

  • A calendar to keep track of assignments

  • Cards to make your own flash cards

Illustrations by Matt Smith

Show References


  1.   1.

    See D&C 88:79–80.

  2.   2.

    Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 5:340.

  3.   3.

    Articles of Faith 1:13.

  4.   4.

    D&C 109:7.