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.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Knowledge and Wisdom

            The desire to learn and acquire knowledge lies deep within the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From the earliest days of the Restoration of the Church, members have been encouraged to educate themselves and to gain all the knowledge that they can while on earth. The prophets and Apostles have long taught that knowledge is the only acquisition that mortals can take with them when they leave this earth.

            Members are encouraged to gain all the education and knowledge possible and then to use that knowledge to help other people along the way. The Mormon News Room has a long article about Mormons and education and starts with this introduction. 

Education lies close to the hearts of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and resonates with many of the other values they hold dear. Mormons love learning and are dedicated to the acquisition of knowledge. Their commitment to education, both as a principle and as a practice, is evident in their beliefs, teachings and everyday activities. They affirm that education is a broad, lifelong pursuit with a variety of vital purposes. They have a unique understanding of what education is – a principle that recognizes the human soul as well as the intellect. Moreover, Mormons have a tradition of education that is rich and longstanding, something they cherish and continue to maintain. Because they believe that education deserves their best efforts, Latter-day Saints afford it significant resources and energy.

            Latter-day Saints strive to gain as much knowledge as possible and many of them are highly educated, they do not consider formal education the only possible way to gain knowledge. Personal study at home is greatly encouraged on both religious and secular topics. There are many opportunities available to gain knowledge without actually attending a school. However, all LDS members are encouraged to gain as much formal education as possible.

            Members of the LDS Church are not the only religious group that regards the attainment of a college degree as important. Pew Research Center conducted a survey about this topic and discovered that this attainment varies by race, gender, and religion. 

By far, Hindus and Unitarian Universalists have among the largest share of those with a college degree – 77% and 67% respectively. Roughly six-in-ten Jews (59%) have college degrees, as do similar shares in both the Anglican church (59%) and the Episcopal Church (56%). …

Other religious groups also have a higher percentage of college graduates than the full sample of more than 35,000 U.S. adults surveyed in the 2014 Religious Landscape Study, among whom 27% completed university. They include Buddhists and members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – both at 47% -- as well as Orthodox Christians (40%), Muslims (39%) and Mormons (33%).

            The above survey shows that Mormons with college degrees (33%) ranked higher than the full sample of more than 35,000 U.S. adults surveyed in the study (27%). Although Mormons do not have the highest percentage of college graduates, there is much informal education among them.

            Then-Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke on the topic of “Where Is Wisdom?” at the October 1992 General Conference of the Church. He reminds his listeners that “Leaders of this church have repeatedly emphasized the importance of education. It is a vital component of wisdom….” He teaches that Mormons built schools as soon as possible after constructing homes and temples wherever they settled and then continues his remarks. 

Because of our sacred regard for each human intellect, we consider the obtaining of an education to be a religious responsibility. Yet opportunities and abilities differ. I believe that in the pursuit of education, individual desire is more influential than institution, and personal faith more forceful than faculty.

Our Creator expects His children everywhere to educate themselves. He issued a commandment: “Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:118.) And He assures us that knowledge acquired here will be ours forever. (See Doctrine and Covenants 130:18-19.)

Measured by this celestial standard, it is apparent that those who impulsively “drop out” and cut short their education not only disregard divine decree but frustrate the realization of their own potential.

            The pursuit of education is highly important in the LDS religion. Members desire to gain all the knowledge of truth as possible. For they know that this knowledge is power to help other people. They also know that the correct application of knowledge leads to wisdom and wisdom leads to greater ability to serve other people and to achieve Christlike qualities. In the end, no effort to gain knowledge will be wasted because we can take everything we learn with us when we leave this earth.

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