Why We Seek Learning
The Lord commands us to actively “seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118). We seek learning not only because it is a commandment—we seek it because the desire to ask, to seek, and to find answers to life’s questions was planted in our hearts by our Heavenly Father. He wants us to continually seek eternal truth because this is central to how we come to know Him. Through sincere study of the restored gospel, we learn of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. We learn who we are, why we are on this earth, and how we should live in order to enjoy happiness and peace in this life and a fulness of joy in the next.
Learning by Study
The gospel of Jesus Christ is rich enough to challenge and inspire the brightest mind, yet simple enough to be understood by a child. While gospel study does not require formal academic training, it does involve reason and mental exertion. The Lord expects us to “seek … diligently.” In our search for truth, we read, ponder, and analyze information and weigh its reliability. We examine the assumptions behind various theories, as well as our own thoughts, and seek to place facts in their proper context. We are discerning and careful, always remembering that our knowledge is incomplete but growing. We continually seek the Spirit and hold to our faith.
Learning by Faith
Because our perspective and knowledge are limited, we find spiritual truths only if faith is part of the formula. “Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:21). Faith, which starts as a belief or even just the desire to believe, requires mental and spiritual exertion. We express our faith by the words we speak and by acting on the truth we have already received. As we do, our faith grows, and we are given greater knowledge by the Spirit and by our experience. It does not come all at once, but line upon line. In the meantime, the hope produced by our faith serves as an anchor to our souls, making us sure and steadfast as we seek to learn and gain knowledge (see Ether 12:4).
Faith and reason are like the wings of an airplane—both are necessary to keep the plane in flight. If from our limited perspective reason appears to contradict faith, we continue our study while steadfastly holding to our faith. We would not discard faith any more than we would detach a wing from an airplane in flight!
The Word of God
Our search for truth will be fruitless if we neglect the Source of truth, God Himself. As we seek learning by study and also by faith, we continually turn to the word of God as found in the scriptures, the words of living prophets, and personal revelation through prayer.
As we patiently and diligently seek learning by study and also by faith, we will “grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created [us], or in the knowledge of that which is just and true” (Mosiah 4:12), for He promises, “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (D&C 88:63).
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