Thursday, March 7, 2013

President Eyring on Education

From "Real-Life Education", CR April 2009, (emphasis added):

Our education must never stop. If it ends at the door of the classroom on graduation day, we will fail. And we will need the help of heaven to know which of the myriad things we could study we would most wisely learn. We cannot waste time entertaining ourselves when we have the chance to read or to listen to whatever will help us learn what is true and useful. Insatiable curiosity will be our hallmark.


The real life we’re preparing for is eternal life. Secular knowledge has for us eternal significance. Our conviction is that God, our Heavenly Father, wants us to live the life that He does. All we can learn that is true while we are in this life will rise with us in the Resurrection. And all that we can learn will enhance our capacity to serve. That is a destiny reserved not alone for the brilliant, those who learn the most quickly, or those who enter the most respected professions. It will be given to those who are humbly good, who love God, and who serve Him with all their capacities, however limited those capacities are—as are all our capacities, compared with the capacities of God.

Elder Oaks on Learning

A few faves from "Learning and Latter-day Saints," CR April 2009:

Our efforts to learn must be combined with personal worthiness for us to receive the guidance of the Holy Ghost. We must avoid sexual impurity, pornography, and addictions as well as negative feelings against others or ourselves. Sin drives out the Spirit of the Lord, and when that happens, the special illumination of the Spirit is gone and the lamp of learning flickers.

In modern revelation we have a promise that if our eye be single to the glory of God, which includes personal worthiness, our “whole [body] shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in [us]; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things” (D&C 88:67).


We must choose our learning with care because learning has an eternal shelf life, and whatever useful knowledge or wisdom or “principle of intelligence” we acquire in this life “will rise with us in the resurrection” (D&C 130:18).
*I love love love this one! I already have put way to many useless and unworthy things into my brain; I want to replace them with things worth taking with me!

Beyond increasing our occupational qualifications, we should desire to learn how to become more emotionally fulfilled, more skilled in our personal relationships, and better parents and citizens. There are few things more fulfilling and fun than learning something new. Great happiness, satisfaction, and financial rewards come from this. An education is not limited to formal study. Lifelong learning can increase our ability to appreciate and relish the workings and beauty of the world around us. This kind of learning goes well beyond books and a selective use of new technology, such as the Internet. It includes artistic endeavors. It also includes experiences with people and places: conversations with friends, visits to museums and concerts, and opportunities for service. We should expand ourselves and enjoy the journey.

Elder Holland on Avoiding Temptation

Whether we be single or married, young or old, let’s talk for moment about how to guard against temptation in whatever form it may present itself. We may not be able to cure all of society’s ills today, but let’s speak of what some personal actions can be.
    Above all, start by separating yourself from people, materials, and circumstances that will harm you. As those battling something like alcoholism know, the pull of proximity can be fatal. So too in moral matters. Like Joseph in the presence of Potiphar’s wife, 4 just run—run as far away as you can get from whatever or whoever it is that beguiles you. And please, when fleeing the scene of temptation, do not leave a forwarding address.
    Acknowledge that people bound by the chains of true addictions often need more help than self-help, and that may include you. Seek that help and welcome it. Talk to your bishop. Follow his counsel. Ask for a priesthood blessing. Use the Church’s Family Services offerings or seek other suitable professional help. Pray without ceasing. Ask for angels to help you.
    Along with filters on computers and a lock on affections, remember that the only real control in life is self-control. Exercise more control over even the marginal moments that confront you. If a TV show is indecent, turn it off. If a movie is crude, walk out. If an improper relationship is developing, sever it. Many of these influences, at least initially, may not technically be evil, but they can blunt our judgment, dull our spirituality, and lead to something that could be evil. An old proverb says that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, 5so watch your step.
    Like thieves in the night, unwelcome thoughts can and do seek entrance to our minds. But we don’t have to throw open the door, serve them tea and crumpets, and then tell them where the silverware is kept! (You shouldn’t be serving tea anyway.) Throw the rascals out! Replace lewd thoughts with hopeful images and joyful memories; picture the faces of those who love you and would be shattered if you let them down. More than one man has been saved from sin or stupidity by remembering the face of his mother, his wife, or his child waiting somewhere for him at home. Whatever thoughts you have, make sure they are welcome in your heart by invitation only. As an ancient poet once said, let will be your reason. 6
    Cultivate and be where the Spirit of the Lord is. Make sure that includes your own home or apartment, dictating the kind of art, music, and literature you keep there. If you are endowed, go to the temple as often as your circumstances allow. Remember that the temple arms you “with [God’s] power, … [puts His] glory … round about [you], and [gives His] angels … charge over [you].” 7 And when you leave the temple, remember the symbols you take with you, never to be set aside or forgotten.

Standards and Literature

Worthy literature has been on my mind a lot lately. In trying to find something to read, I started reading a book that turned out to be less than appropriate (not the first time this has happened). Thankfully, before I got very far into the book a couple of wonderful friends tipped me off that there was some content I may want to avoid, and so I moved on to something else. In the interest of time, I am going to paste what I wrote in an email to my friend Ruth about it:

To be honest, I was having a hard time getting into the book; something about the language, though I couldn't put my finger on it. Maybe all characters just seem flat after Tolstoy's never-ending descriptions, or maybe (probably) it was just the Spirit telling me not to get too attached to the book =). I should learn my lesson; the last time I grabbed a book from Costco I thought was interesting, I ended up reading one chapter and then returning it.... why is this considered okay, even artistic? I am so wary of anything written in the last few decades because it almost seems like a rite of passage for authors to delve into sexual things, like it's more "honest" the more detail they provide. Ugh!

I remember right after high school I read Les Miserables, and though I've forgotten a lot, something that stuck with me is that when Cosette and Marius are married, he sees them off into the bridal chamber, then says that some things/places are too sacred to follow (granted, this is my paraphrase without having looked at it for over a decade). I loved that because it highlighted that, even in literature, people's intimate lives can be private not because they are secret but because they are beautiful and worth protecting. It made me a little sad to see the musical and see what they had done with the parts about prostitution (not tawdry in the book like in the play!) and at the Thernadiers' place.

I realize that my taste in literature is probably considered boring by a lot of people, but I have gotten to the point that I can't stand finishing a book without feeling like I got something out of it beyond pure entertainment. I don't need an adrenaline rush; I need to fill my brain with things I want to keep with me through all of eternity. So I am about to post lots of quotes on literature that I want to save and remember. To kick things off, here is a snippet from For the Strength of Youth:

Satan uses media to deceive you by making what is wrong and evil look normal, humorous, or exciting. He tries to mislead you into thinking that breaking God’s commandments is acceptable and has no negative consequences for you or others. Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable. Have the courage to walk out of a movie, change your music, or turn off a computer, television, or mobile device if what you see or hear drives away the Spirit.

p.s. I do think it is a little bit sad/funny that they don't even mention books here, but I guess that is the generation that is coming up. I guess their mobile device could include a Kindle or Nook =).

Friday, March 1, 2013

Elder Holland, you always make me cry.

In a good way.

“When you have come to the Lord in meekness and lowliness of heart and, as one mother said, “pounded on the doors of heaven to ask for, to plead for, to demand guidance and wisdom and help for this wondrous task,” that door is thrown open to provide you the influence and the help of all eternity. Claim the promises of the Savior of the world. Ask for the healing balm of the Atonement for whatever may be troubling you or your children. Know that in faith things will be made right in spite of you, or more correctly, because of you.
You can’t possibly do this alone, but you do have help. The Master of Heaven and Earth is there to bless you—He who resolutely goes after the lost sheep, sweeps thoroughly to find the lost coin, waits everlastingly for the return of the prodigal son. Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are and better than you have ever been as you try to make honest effort, however feeble you may sometimes feel that to be.” 
-Jeffrey R. Holland, “‘Because She Is a Mother’,” Ensign, May 1997, 35