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Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 5: Knowledge

Between the ages of 6 to 14, I found myself in the midst of a tumultuous turning-point in my life. My family situation at home was strained. The threads holding the family together were getting tighter and tighter as we, rather quickly, drifted further and further apart. There was no consistency in my life. These years are important for a child, such as I, to have something on which he can rely. I didn't have that back home, so I found it elsewhere. Many children who find themselves in a similar situation have their consistency in friends who will accept them. Usually, the friends, too, are outcasts. To be honest with you, I was one of the "weird" kids, so the number of my friends were slim. Therefore, my friends weren't something I turned to lean on in my life. I turned to something much more "unusual" for a someone my age. I knew people can control the outside influences in my life, but my mind was safe. Only I can control what goes into my mind, and what comes out of it. I didn't go insane, crazy, or mad. Fortunately, I did the opposite (I hope). I became more sane. I clung to knowledge. I wanted more. I paid attention and listened to teachers. I did mind games to make me think. This was the only consistent thing I could control, so I thirsted after it. When I was in High School, observations I have made created a hypothesis in my mind, which was "the more intelligent one is; the more "moral" they are." I am well aware of smart people doing immoral actions, so I am not looking for a debate. I wanted to demonstrate the fact before I was even a member of the Church of Jesus Christ I observed the importance of the Christ-like attribute of "knowledge."

My having a background in debate, and other intellectual competitive activities almost makes it obvious that this is my favorite attribute. One reason is He was able to confound the "wise and the prudent." My being a teacher is another. Christ taught in magnificent ways. He is the master teacher. I would love to help you gain a better understanding and give you ALL the knowledge I have. However, I don't have the time, space, or patience to share with you EVERYTHING I know, nor do you have the patience, time, or desire to read EVERYTHING I have to share. So, it seems I ought to keep the same approach, and share with you the importance of knowledge, how you can receive knowledge, and then invite you to act to do so.

You may have heard the infamous proverb, "knowledge is power." One of the reasons God is so powerful is because He knows all things. Jacob, the son of Lehi, declared, "O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it." (2 Nephi 9: 20) Therefore, knowledge is an attribute of God, and in order to have a divine nature, or to be more godly, one must seek knowledge (2 Pet. 1: 3–9). Christ said further on this subject, "this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17: 3) In other words, "It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance." (D&C 131: 6) Knowledge, especially that of the Restored Gospel, is necessary, vital, mandatory for the fulness of salvation. This shouldn't be too surprising, because the Holy Ghost is what teaches us ALL THINGS. Before leaving His disciples, Christ taught, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost... shall teach you all things..." (John 14: 26). Knowledge is a gift of the Spirit. Paul wrote to the Corinthians "to one is given by the Spirit... the word of knowledge..." (1 Corinthians 12: 8) The Bible Dictionary calls it an endowment. Brigham Young, the second president of the Church, said, "I … believe positively that there is nothing known except by the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, whether in theology, science, or art." (underline added) An increase in knowledge is evidence of the influence of God in our lives. The great thing about obtaining knowledge, is the simple fact that we do not lose it when we "give up the ghost." We retain it. The Lord has promised, "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the [next]." (D&C 130: 18)

While is was in first grade I was taught to do addition and subtraction, but that was the extent of my knowledge. (I don't want to brag or anything, but I was really good at it. I could add 3 and 4 without using my fingers, unlike everyone else.) To me, there could be no increase in math knowledge. Then I went to the second grade. In second grade, at least for me, the teacher began introducing us to multiplication. At first, the concept blew my mind.

Me: "5 and 5 make 10. How does that little symbol change the answer to 25?"
Teacher: "Well, that symbol tells us there are five groups of five."
Me: "I don't get it."

At this point, the teacher introduced us to a stratagem we had learned in earlier in our lives. She used her fingers. It was incredible! I could understand it! I was so excited. She had used what I already knew to teach me something new. It, however, did not come all at once. This is an excellent demonstration of what the prophet Isaiah wrote, "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk... For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little." (Isaiah 28: 9-10) The way we obtain scholarly knowledge, like math, is the same way we obtain spiritual knowledge. We must do. We must act. We are taught math by doing it. Saying to yourself, "I am not going to do my math homework because I don't know how to do math," is illogical. You will not learn. Those who have experience know that. Saying to yourself, "I'm not going to read scriptures, pray, or go to church because I don't know God (nor believe in Him)," is equally illogical. "THIS IS LIFE ETERNAL!, that they might know thee the only true God!..." The Lord has said; I have demonstrated; and you have experienced; knowledge comes through "diligence and obedience! (D&C 130: 19) Therefore, I challenge you to get up! "Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith!" (D&C 88: 118) Be diligent in being obedient! Read your scriptures. Live by ALL the principles taught in them. Don't pick and choose. Can you imagine a world where people picked and chose what rules they wanted to follow in math? I promise you, just as the Lord has promised you, "the Holy Ghost will enlighten your mind, teach you, and help you understand the meaning of the scriptures and the teachings of living prophets..." (Preach My Gospel Ch. 6: How Do I Develop Christlike Attributes?) and you "will have so much the advantage in the world to come." (D&C 130:19)

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