Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Why Study Humanities?

            I am in another semester at Brigham Young University-Idaho, and I am continuing my plan to study the foundational courses first. I registered for World Foundations 1 without truly understanding what the course was about. When I opened the first lesson, I thought, “Oh, no!” I probably would not have taken the class if I had known previously that I would be studying art, music, literature, and drama. I was interested in history!

            As I got into the course, I was pleasantly surprised about how fun it is to learn about ancient civilizations through several disciplines. I am actually taking a spiritual journey as well as a fascinating intellectual one. This humanities course is broad-based and explores the connections found literature, art, architecture, history, philosophy, music, politics, and more.

            The course teaches three themes: Redemption, Moral Revelation, and Just Society. Through these themes I am gaining knowledge about basic gospel truths. I learned about redemption through studying symbols, the temple pattern – Creation, Garden, Fall, World, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ – and the monomyth, which basically means the long journey part of the temple pattern. I studied The Epic of Gilgamesh, Oedipus, and The Allegory of the Cave, which all follow the temple pattern quite closely. I learned that many familiar stories follow this same pattern, such as The Wizard of Oz, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Little Mermaid, and Return of the Jedi.

            I am currently studying Moral Revelation, and I am learning that Heavenly Father has revealed gospel truths to His children throughout human history. The lesson this week is an introduction to world religions as well as the ideas of moral revelation and moral truth. I was particularly enlightened by these paragraphs from a statement given by the First Presidency on February 15, 1978, and titled “God’s Love for All Mankind.”

Based upon ancient and modern revelation, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gladly teaches and declares the Christian doctrine that all men and women are brothers and sisters, not only by blood relationship from common mortal progenitors but also as literal spirit children of an Eternal Father.

The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God’s light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals.

            The fact that God gave revelation to religious leaders throughout history shows that God loves all of His children and blesses them with light and truth no matter where they lived or when they lived. This moral revelation enlightened whole nations and helped individuals to achieve a higher level of moral understanding. The only determining factor on the amount of light and truth revealed was the individual’s willingness and readiness to be taught.

            Another statement that enlightened me is the following one by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

We are indebted to the men and women who kept the light of faith and learning alive through the centuries to the present day. We have only to contrast the lesser light that exists among peoples unfamiliar with the names of God and Jesus Christ to realize the great contribution made by Christian teachers through the ages. We honor them as servants of God.

            The above statement means more to me after I studied an essay titled “Catholicism’s Contributions to God’s Plan” by Gerald Hansen, Jr. He says that “the Catholic Church is the result, not the cause of the Apostasy.” When the Apostles of Jesus Christ died, they took the keys of the priesthood with them. However, there were still good people, and Catholicism resulted. Catholicism meant Christianity for 1400 years. This was followed by 300 years of the Protestant Reformation. The Catholics and the Protestants helped to prepare the world for the restoration of the priesthood keys and the gospel of Jesus Christ. A study of how the New Testament came to be – and almost missing the book of James – only added to my enlightenment.

            My eyes have been opened, and my mind has been enlightened by taking this humanities class. I am sure that I will learn much more this week as I study the teachings of various religions. The more I learn about other people and their lives and religions, the more I understand that we are all brothers and sisters and children of a loving Heavenly Father. I learn that we are more alike than we are different. My knowledge of how much Heavenly Father loves all His children wherever and whenever they live has grown immensely.

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