Seek Learning by Study and by Faith

The Gospel and the Productive Life Teacher Manual Religion 150, (2004), 42–47


Introduction

The Lord taught that we should “seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118). As we seek both spiritual and secular knowledge the Lord will bless us. Education is a key to opportunity and should become a lifetime endeavor. It can prepare us to support our families and contribute to the Church and community. Help students understand the need to take advantage of opportunities to improve themselves and further their education. There are always exciting new truths to learn and share with others.

Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi, emeritus general authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, studying his scriptures

Principles to Understand

  • We should seek knowledge and wisdom.

  • Spiritual knowledge is more important than secular knowledge.

  • Education is a key to opportunity.

  • The Lord will guide us to areas of learning that will help us better serve others.

  • Learning is a lifetime endeavor.

Teaching Suggestions

We should seek knowledge and wisdom.

Discuss the following questions with students.

  • What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom? (Answers might reflect the idea that knowledge has to do with being able to recite and understand facts, ideas, or principles, whereas wisdom is the timely use of knowledge to benefit others.)

  • How does education contribute to knowledge and wisdom?

Share the following statement from President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“I believe in the pursuit of education. What is education? Reduced to its most simplistic definition it is the training of the mind and the body. … Education is a great conversion process under which abstract knowledge becomes useful and productive activity. It is something that never need stop—no matter how old we grow we can acquire knowledge and use it. We can gather wisdom and profit from it” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [1997], 170).

Ask: How can becoming better educated help us serve God and others?

Review the experience about missed education opportunities shared by Elder Henry B. Eyring on pages 67–68 in the student manual.

Ask: How would you summarize Elder Eyring’s counsel?

Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 88:77–80. Ask: What general areas of study are referred to in verse 79? (Answers might include astronomy, geography, history, and so forth.)

Read the following teaching from Elder John A. Widtsoe, who was then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“Theology is not the only subject in which the Elders should be interested. They should study:

“Things both in heaven—Astronomy.

“And in the earth—Everything pertaining to the cultivation of the soil.

“And under the earth—Mineralogy, geology, etc.

“Things which have been—History, in all its branches.

“Things which must shortly come to pass—Prophecies.

“Things which are at home and abroad—Domestic and foreign politics.

“Wars—perplexities—judgments—The signs of the times, by which the observer may know that the day of the Lord is at hand.

“A knowledge of countries and kingdoms—Physical and political geography, languages, etc.

“These studies, the Lord considers necessary. [Sec. 88:80.] God does not require all His servants to become doctors, or professors, or even profound students of these subjects, but He expects them to know enough of these things to be able to magnify their calling as His ambassadors to the world” (Priesthood and Church Government in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [1939], 55–56).

Ask: What is the value of studying a variety of subjects? (see D&C 88:80).

Read and discuss 2 Nephi 9:28–29 (Scripture Mastery). Ask:

  • How can learning help us?

  • How might learning harm us?

Ask a student to share an experience when he or she was very hungry or thirsty. Ask: What satisfied your hunger or thirst?

Share the following statement from President Gordon B. Hinckley, asking students to note what President Hinckley wants us to be hungry for:

“It is not enough just to live, just to survive. There is incumbent upon every member of this Church the mandate of the Lord to equip ourselves to do something worthwhile in society. The Lord has made it very clear in the Doctrine and Covenants that we are to get an education by study and by faith of things under the earth, and on the earth, and above the earth, of the wars and the perplexities of the nations, of the times and the seasons of all things of the earth. (See D&C 88:79.) I want to urge our young people to be hungry for education. You will be doing the will of the Lord as you educate your minds and your hands for future work to make a contribution to the world of which you will be a part. Sacrifice for it, work for it, save for it, plan for it, and do it” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 172).

Ask: According to President Hinckley, what do we need to do to satisfy the hunger for education?

Share the following statement from Elder Henry B. Eyring, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and note his use of the word thirst:

“The thirst for education that comes with the change the gospel brings can be a blessing or a curse, depending on our motives. If we continue to seek learning to serve God and His children better, it is a blessing of great worth. If we begin to seek learning to exalt ourselves alone, it leads to selfishness and pride, which will take us away from eternal life” (Education for Real Life [address to young adults, May 6, 2001], 2).

Ask: What is the key to correctly satisfy our thirst for education?

Spiritual knowledge is more important than secular knowledge.

Read the following example to your students:

Juan was 18 years old and was interested in becoming an engineer. He had thought seriously about serving a mission but was not sure when to do so. He would turn 19 before beginning basic courses to enter engineering. He wondered if he should interrupt his studies to serve a mission or finish his prerequisite courses and then serve a mission.

Ask:

  • What potential risks are there in postponing missionary service?

  • What advice would you offer Juan? Why?

Share the following statement from Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“Youth, beloved youth, can you see why we must let spiritual training take first place?—Why we must pray with faith, and perfect our own lives like the Savior’s? Can you see that the spiritual knowledge may be complemented with the secular in this life and on for eternities but that the secular without the foundation of the spiritual is but like the foam upon the milk, the fleeting shadow?

“Do not be deceived! One need not choose between the two but only as to the sequence, for there is opportunity for one to get both simultaneously; but can you see that the seminary courses should be given even preferential attention over the high school subjects; the institute over the college course; the study of the scriptures ahead of the study of the man-written texts; the association with the Church more important than clubs, fraternities, and sororities; the payment of tithing more important than paying tuitions and fees?

“Can you see that the ordinances of the temple are more important than the PhD or any and all other academic degrees?” (“Beloved Youth, Study and Learn,” in Life’s Directions [1962], 190).

Ask:

  • What did Elder Kimball teach about priorities in learning?

  • How does a knowledge of the Savior complement secular learning?

Share the following statement from Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“Jesus said: ‘… learn of me. …

“‘For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt. 11:29–30.)

“I should like to suggest that you follow that injunction given by the Son of God. With all of your learning, learn of him. With all of your study, seek knowledge of the Master. That knowledge will complement in a wonderful way the secular training you receive and give a fulness to your life and character that can come in no other way” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1964, 118).

Have the students read Doctrine and Covenants 88:118.

Ask them to describe someone they know who exemplifies a proper balance between spiritual and secular learning.

Education is a key to opportunity.

Display (or draw on the board) a key.

Ask: What happens if a door is locked and we do not have a key?

Write on the board: Education is a key to opportunity.

Ask: How is education like a key? (It opens opportunities that otherwise would not be available.)

Read the following counsel from President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“It is so important that you young men and you young women get all of the education that you can. The Lord has said very plainly that His people are to gain knowledge of countries and kingdoms and of things of the world through the process of education, even by study and by faith. Education is the key which will unlock the door of opportunity for you. It is worth sacrificing for. It is worth working at, and if you educate your mind and your hands, you will be able to make a great contribution to the society of which you are a part, and you will be able to reflect honorably on the Church of which you are a member. My dear young brothers and sisters, take advantage of every educational opportunity that you can possibly afford” (“Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, June 1999, 4).

Ask:

  • What do you think it means to educate our hands? (Learn skills that require using our hands.)

  • What keys of education or skills would you like to acquire?

Give students time to list some of their desires for education and skills in the “Notes and Impressions” section of their student manual.

The Lord will guide us to areas of learning that will help us better serve others.

Make an overhead or a handout of the following statement from Elder Henry B. Eyring. Ask a student to read it to the class. Ask another student to summarize in his or her own words what Elder Eyring said.

“Your life is carefully watched over, as was mine. The Lord knows both what He will need you to do and what you will need to know. He is kind and He is all-knowing. So, you can with confidence expect that He has prepared opportunities for you to learn in preparation for the service you will give. You will not recognize those opportunities perfectly, as I did not. But when you put the spiritual things first in your life, you will be blessed to feel directed toward certain learning and you will be motivated to work harder. You will recognize later that your power to serve was increased, and you will be grateful” (Education for Real Life, 3–4).

Ask:

  • What can you do to make sure you are prepared for the opportunities God will give you?

  • How can reading the scriptures daily help us prepare for inspiration in all of our decisions? (see 2 Nephi 32:3–5 [Scripture Mastery, 2 Nephi 32:3]).

  • When was the last time one of the Savior’s teachings helped you make a specific decision?

Have a student read to the class President Howard W. Hunter’s statement on page 70 in the student manual.

Learning is a lifetime endeavor.

Ask: Why should learning be a lifetime endeavor?

Share the following counsel from Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“Keep on growing, my brothers and sisters, whether you are thirty or whether you are seventy. Your industry in so doing will cause the years to pass faster than you might wish, but they will be filled with a sweet and wonderful zest that will add flavor to your life and power to your teaching. And to all of this you may add the promise that ‘whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.’ (D&C 130:18.)” (Four Imperatives for Religious Educators [address to religious educators, Sept. 15, 1978], 2).

Take time as a class to discuss libraries, schools, and educational opportunities that will be available long after their formal education. Your discussion may include references to local schools and training centers.

Ask: Who are some individuals in the community who can help you decide how to continue your lifelong learning process?

Have students share examples of individuals who have continued to learn throughout their lives.

Suggested Student Assignments

  • From their notes written during this class, ask students to select one skill or educational goal they would like to acquire. Ask them to discuss this goal outside of class with someone who can help them make important decisions about how to achieve the goal.