Learning to Love Learning
"The overarching purpose of Heavenly Father’s great plan of happiness is to provide His spirit children with opportunities to learn. The Atonement of Jesus Christ and the agency afforded to all of the Father’s children through the Redeemer’s infinite and eternal sacrifice are divinely designed to facilitate our learning. The Savior said, “Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me” (D&C 19:23)."
Learning the Lessons of the Past
"It is my message and testimony to you today, my young friends, that for the most important questions of your eternal lives, there are answers in the scriptures and in the words and testimonies of apostles and prophets. The fact that these words come largely from older men, past and present, doesn’t make them any less relevant. In fact, it makes their words even more valuable to you because they come from those who have learned much through years of devout living.
There is a famous saying attributed to George Santayana. You’ve probably heard it: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (in John Bartlett, comp., Familiar Quotations, 15th ed. , 703). There are, in fact, several different variations of this quote, including “Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” Regardless of the exact language, the sentiment is profound. There are great lessons to be learned from the past, and you ought to learn them so that you don’t exhaust your spiritual strength repeating past mistakes and bad choices.
You don’t have to be a Latter-day Saint—you don’t even have to be religious—to see the repeating pattern of history in the lives of God’s children as recorded in the Old Testament. Time and again we see the cycle of righteousness followed by wickedness. Similarly, the Book of Mormon records that ancient civilizations of this continent followed exactly the same pattern: righteousness followed by prosperity, followed by material comforts, followed by greed, followed by pride, followed by wickedness and a collapse of morality until the people brought calamities upon themselves sufficient to stir them up to humility, repentance, and change."
Learning in the Priesthood
"It became clear to me what the quorum was to do and not to do. When the people who found him described the place in the woods where he had gone for safety, I felt that I recognized it. But the larger miracle for me was to see a united priesthood council’s faith in Jesus Christ bringing revelation to the man with the priesthood keys. We all grew that day in the power of the priesthood.
The second key to increased learning is to have love for each other that comes from great faith. I am not sure which comes first, but both always seem to be there whenever there is great and rapid learning in the priesthood. Joseph Smith taught that to us by example.
In the early days of the Church in this dispensation, he received a command from God to build strength in the priesthood. He was directed to create schools for priesthood holders. The Lord set the requirement that there be love for each other among those who were to teach and to be taught. Here are the words of the Lord about creating a place of priesthood learning and what it was like for those who were to learn in it:
“Organize yourselves; … establish a house … of learning, … a house of order. …
“Appoint among yourselves a teacher, and let not all be spokesmen at once; but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all, and that every man may have an equal privilege."
Seek Learning: You Have a Work to Do
"God gave you moral agency and the opportunity to learn while on earth, and He has a work for you to do. To accomplish this work, you have an individual responsibility to seek learning. The key to your future, your “bright ray of hope,” can be found in the new For the Strength of Youth booklet under the standard of education and in the Young Women value of knowledge.
“Education … will open the doors of opportunity.” As you follow the Lord’s admonition to “seek learning, even by study and also by faith,” you gain not only knowledge from your study but added light as you learn by faith.
Seek learning by studying diligently. Rarely will you be able to spend as much time dedicated to learning as you can now. President Gordon B. Hinckley wisely counseled the youth of the Church: “The pattern of study you establish during your formal schooling will in large measure affect your lifelong thirst for knowledge.” 4 “You must get all of the education that you possibly can. … Sacrifice anything that is needed to be sacrificed to qualify yourselves to do the work of [this] world. … Train your minds and hands to become an influence for good as you go forward with your lives.”
Seek Learning by Faith
"The Apostle Paul defined faith as “the substance of things hoped for [and] the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Alma declared that faith is not a perfect knowledge; rather, if we have faith, we “hope for things which are not seen [but] are true” (Alma 32:21). Additionally, we learn in the Lectures on Faith that faith is “the first principle in revealed religion, and the foundation of all righteousness” and that it is also “the principle of action in all intelligent beings.”
These teachings highlight three basic elements of faith: (1) faith as the assurance of things hoped for that are true, (2) faith as the evidence of things not seen, and (3) faith as the principle of action in all intelligent beings. I describe these three components of faith in the Savior as simultaneously facing the future, looking to the past, and initiating action in the present.
Faith as the assurance of things hoped for looks to the future. This assurance is founded upon a correct understanding about, and trust in, God and enables us to “press forward” (2 Nephi 31:20) into uncertain and often challenging situations in the service of the Savior."
A House of Learning
"In a little Aymara Indian village on the plateau above La Paz, Bolivia, Eduardo read the sacrament prayer with great feeling. After the meeting, a Bolivian missionary, Elder Alarcon, told me of his special thrill in hearing Eduardo’s prayer. He had helped Eduardo learn the gospel—and he had also helped him learn to read. Now Eduardo had an important skill that would enable him to become an effective teacher and leader in the Church. He was also more qualified now to become a leader in his mostly illiterate community, where one who can read is constantly sought after for counsel.
Wherever illiteracy is replaced with literacy, lives are enhanced. Wherever literacy is committed to the Lord’s service, society is greatly blessed."
Tuning Our Hearts to the Voice of the Spirit
"Here’s the question for your response: How can we know if we have heard the voice of the Spirit?
We might ask ourselves a few additional questions as we ponder this question:
• Have I experienced feelings of love, joy, peace, patience, meekness, gentleness, faith, hope, and comfort?
• Have ideas come to my mind, or feelings to my heart, that I know are from the Lord and not from me?
• Have I heard my voice speaking truth without having planned what I would say?
• Have I experienced a magnification of my own skills and abilities?
• Have I felt guidance and protection from deception?
• Have I recognized sin in my life and had the desire to correct it?
• Have I felt the Spirit glorifying and bearing record of God the Father and Jesus Christ?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you have felt the Spirit of the Lord at some time in your life. But the most important question is “Can ye feel so now?”
The prophet Mormon’s counsel about following the Light of Christ can help us know how to receive the Holy Ghost. Mormon said:
“For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
“But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley observed: “That’s the test, when all is said and done. Does it persuade one to do good, to rise, to stand tall, to do the right thing, to be kind, to be generous? Then it is of the Spirit of God.”
Learning in an Eternal Context
"Once we realize that some information is more important than other information, and that there is more information available to us than we can learn, then it should not be hard for us to decide that we ought to spend our time learning the most important and valuable things. Whatever we learn should lift us, strengthen us, and enable us better to do the work we have to do in this life. Life is too short, as is often said, to spend our time learning trivial or degrading things when there is so much that is “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy” (Articles of Faith 1:13)."