Each young man will learn the value of education in becoming a future provider for a family and a more effective servant of the Lord.
Copies of the scriptures (each young man should bring his own).
Pencils for marking scriptures.
Make a list of some of the schooling opportunities available in your area.
Optional: Prepare handouts of the challenges at the end of the lesson.
If it is available in your area, show “Self-Reliance and Service,” on Family Home Evening Video Supplement (53276).
Suggested Lesson Development
We Are Commanded to Seek Learning
Scripture and chalkboard discussion
Have a quorum member read Doctrine and Covenants 88:77–80. Suggest to the young men that they mark key words in the passages.
According to these verses, what does the Lord want us to learn? (The principles, doctrines, and laws of the gospel; also information about the earth, the heavens, history, current events, our own country, and other countries.)
List the young men’s answers to these questions on the chalkboard.
Explain that the Lord wants us to learn as much as we can about many subjects.
What is the most important kind of knowledge we can obtain?
Read the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson:
“The truths upon which our eternal salvation rest are the most crucial truths that we must learn. No man is truly educated unless he knows where he came from, why he is here, and where he can expect to go in the next life. He must be able to adequately answer the question Jesus posed, ‘What think ye of Christ?’
“This world cannot teach us these things. Therefore, the most essential knowledge for us to obtain is the saving knowledge of the gospel and of its Author—even Jesus Christ” (“In His Steps,” Ensign, Sept. 1988, pp. 4–5).
Explain that the Lord wants us to gain many kinds of knowledge, but spiritual knowledge is the most important, and it will help us use other kinds of knowledge well. Spiritual knowledge helps us prepare to meet God, which is the purpose of mortality. Secular knowledge can help us to become even more like God, but it is spiritual knowledge that saves us.
Scripture and discussion
Ask the young men to refer back to Doctrine and Covenants 88:80.
What should be our purpose in obtaining knowledge of all kinds?
Have a young man read 2 Nephi 9:28–29. Suggest that the young men mark key words.
Why do you suppose there is a tendency for people to stop listening to God’s counsel as they become learned? (Sometimes as people obtain an education, they develop pride in themselves because of their new knowledge and skills. They may feel more self-sufficient and less humble and reliant on the Lord.)
How can this scripture help us as we learn the things of the world? (It can serve as a reminder that if we remain humble, learning will be good for us.)
Emphasize that the Lord wants us to gain knowledge and wisdom but that in the process we must continue to recognize our dependence on him. If we keep the commandments and continue believing, we will be blessed because of our diligent and wise pursuit of knowledge.
Education Can Prepare Us for Gainful Employment
Explain that a major reason for obtaining education is so that we can obtain good employment and provide well for our future families. Education does not always have to be obtained in school. There are some jobs that can be learned through on-the-job training. However, in most areas of the world today, some kind of schooling—through trade schools, colleges, or universities—is required for most jobs.
What are some of the schools or training available to help young people in this area prepare for a career?
Write the young men’s responses on the chalkboard and tell them about the other opportunities of which you are aware.
What aspects of your life will be influenced by the type of work you do? (The young men may mention such things as the place where they will live, how much money they will have for their family, the type of people they will spend time with, their physical and mental well-being.)
Explain that because our work affects our lives so greatly, we should prepare to do something that we enjoy and that we can do well. Because so much of our lives is spent working, we should prepare well to work. It is also important that our work allows us to serve our fellowmen in some good way.
President Spencer W. Kimball counseled: “You are not going to be satisfied, I am sure, with merely preparing to make a living, important as that is, but it must be secondary to the great and important thing of helping the Lord to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, unselfish service. I would hope that you who are training to be teachers would not be learning to teach for the compensation that would come each month, but that you might inspire people throughout your lifetime, that you might build faith and build character in many. I would hope that you who are following other fields of endeavor, that your education and your employment would be a means to an end and not the end in and of itself. … Do great things for the glory of God and for the benefit of mankind” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], p. 257).
Discussion and quotation
In what ways do a car mechanic, a city mayor, a dentist, and a farmer serve God while working at their occupations?
Ask the young men to suggest some common occupations in their area and discuss how people in these occupations serve the Lord.
Explain that any honorable vocation is pleasing to the Lord. Elder Boyd K. Packer said: “There is great dignity and worth in any honest occupation. Do not use the word menial for any labor that improves the world or the people who live in it” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1982, p. 121; or Ensign, May 1982, p. 84).
Show the video presentation “Self-Reliance and Service.”
Education Should Be a Lifelong Pursuit
Explain that some people consider education useful only if it helps prepare them for a job. But the Lord wants us to continue seeking knowledge throughout our lives.
Besides helping you find a job, in what ways does education bless your life?
Encourage the young men to expand their interests. As they prepare for missionary work, they could benefit by studying many subjects, such as language, literature, geography, and history.
Give the following challenges to the young men. Either list them on the chalkboard, or distribute them as a handout.
Diligently and prayerfully study the gospel.
Obtain knowledge of the world to prepare for a career and to better serve the Lord.
Maintain the proper balance between religious and secular learning.
Make education a lifelong pursuit.
Take advantage of current educational opportunities now.