History is important. And keeping ourselves anchored to the lessons learned from history will enable us to emulate the best of what it means to be human.
The late novelist Michael Crichton is reported to have said, “If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.” History teaches us not only about the leaves of existence; it also teaches about the twigs, branches, trunks, and roots of life. And these lessons are important.
One of the weaknesses we have as mortals is to assume that our “leaf” is all there is—that our truth is complete and universal. An old Yiddish expression [says], “To a worm in horseradish, the world is horseradish.” I want to emphasize that the truth embraced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints extends beyond leaves and certainly beyond horseradish. It extends beyond time and space and encompasses all truth.
The gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses not only the truth of what was and what is but also the truth of what can and will be. It is the most practical of all truths. It teaches the way of the disciple—a path that can take ordinary, flawed mortals and transform them into glorious, immortal, and limitless beings whose divine potential is beyond our meager capacity to imagine.
Now, that is practical truth. It is priceless beyond imagination. It is truth of the highest order. The pursuit, discovery, and application of truth are what we are on this earth to discover. The gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses all truth, and it also specializes in the knowledge that will be of greatest worth to us in this life and throughout the eternities to come.
Isn’t it a remarkable feeling to belong to a Church that embraces truth—no matter the source—and teaches that there is much more to come, that God “will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” [Articles of Faith 1:9]. As a result, we are humble about the truth we have. We understand our knowledge is a work in progress, that the leaf we have before us is simply one microscopic snapshot—part of an infinitely vast forest of fascinating knowledge.