Friday, June 24, 2011

Spiritual Education

We are spiritual, as well as mental and physical; and our education, to be complete, and fully satisfactory, must take into account the demands of the spirital nature of man, and provide for religious instruction. The man whose mind and body alone are trained is not necessarily a safe citizen. . . . Spiritual education is the best known means of causing men to use their powers for human good.
-John A. Widtsoe, "Right Education as a Force in Obedience to Law," Improvement Era, November 1922, 74-75.

The man whose mind only has been trained may be likened to the ship with great engines and a huge propeller ready to drive the ship forward, but without rudder, hart, compass, or definite destination. When we add to the man, so trained, spiritual training, then it is as if we add to the ship, with its wonderful machinery, a compass, a chart, a rudder, and a dependable intelligence which controls the whole machinery, above and below deck, so that the vessel may reach a safe haven, according to a definite purpose.  
-John A. Widtsoe, id., 77.

The love of truth must be fostered if men are to travel the road to happy useful life. Unless you have learned to love truth your colege course has been in vain. Amost the prime purpose of college training is to enable men to distinguish between that which the powers of men have found to be true, and the inferences . . . that are drawn from such facts of observation. . . . Men must cling to truth at whatever cost. That must be the constant, most important teaching of the schools.
-John A. Widtsoe, "Serve you 'Won Generation,'" Improvement Era, July 1938, 393.

Spiritual perfection, under the true laws of God, should be the aim of all men; the trained mind and the vigorous body may be used in winning such perfection. The will for righteousness transcends in importance, any intellectual accomplishments. It is for the development of the greater power that the Church Schools have been established.
-John A. Widtsoe, "The Church School System," Improvement Era, August 1923, 865.

I feel like I've lost a little of the savor of learning new truths and applying them for the benefit of anything but getting babies to sleep or avoiding tantrums. I hope I can revive it as I teach my kiddos so that they can catch it.

This also makes me reflect on my legal education at BYU. In law, it seems so easy to subjectify truth; it makes me want to reexamine the role of truth in law practice. Maybe I'll get really ambitious and write some really profound article and get it published in the Clark Memorandum. Maybe I'll forget about it entirely. And now I'll have this post to remind me later and make me feel guilty if I've done the latter =).

1 comment:

  1. I loved the comparison to a ship in the second quote - what a great analogy! Also the last sentence you quoted from Elder Widtsoe: "It is for the development of the greater poser that the Church Schools have been established." What a call to action - on the part of the students and teachers at those institutions, but also, and perhaps even more importantly, upon those of us who are not or never have been there.