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Finding a Place for Knowledge

Finding a Place for Knowledge

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Published by Jeremy Peterson
Sunday Sermon given at the Taylor Canyon Ward of the Ogden Utah Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by Jeremy Peterson August 25th, 2013
Sunday Sermon given at the Taylor Canyon Ward of the Ogden Utah Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by Jeremy Peterson August 25th, 2013

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Published by: Jeremy Peterson on Aug 26, 2013
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07/14/2014

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Finding a Place for KnowledgeTaylor Canyon Ward – Ogden Utah StakeAugust 25
th
, 2013Good Afternoon Brothers and Sisters. It is good to see you again. It feels like it has been awhile.Brother Toupin asked me today to talk about acquiring knowledge. This is a topic near and dearto my heart. Ever since I was a little boy I have had an interest in learning. When I was fouryears old my mother bought me The Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat Beginner Book Dictionary. I lovedthat book. This set me on a path to adore books. It took my parents a while to figure this outbut I was also legally blind and books gave me a way to explore the world I couldn’t see all thatwell. Later in 5
th
grade, my parents bought a giant dictionary with a thesaurus. I would takethe book to school and during down time I would find words I didn’t know and copy thedefinitions on 3x5 cards that I kept in a recipe box on my desk. Oh yea, I was the most popularguy in school. They had many affectionate nicknames for me…none of which I will share fromthe pulpit. So, I credit my poor sight and early exposure to books as the catalysts thatdeveloped my interest in learning.It’s important for us to know that there are different kinds of learning. As the school yearstarts, textbooks will be issued and syllabuses (syllabi) will be given to students as an outlinefor what will be taught. Our public and private institutions of learning are mostly concernedwith secular knowledge. This knowledge is designed to teach people how to be productive inthe world and how to contribute to society through daily work. There is great value in learninga trade or receiving the training that will provide an income for our families. After all, the worldrewards us according to the value we bring to it.However, it is of fundamental importance that our secular education be tempered with thestrengthening power of spiritual education as well. Spencer W. Kimball said:
“The treasures of both secular and spiritual knowledge are hidden ones—but hidden from thosewho do not properly search and strive to find them. … Spiritual knowledge is not availablemerely for the asking; even prayers are not enough. It takes persistence and dedication of one’slife. … Of all treasures of knowledge, the most vital is the knowledge of God” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball,
 
 pp. 389–90).“Spiritual learning takes precedence. The secular without the foundation of the spiritual is … likethe foam upon the milk, the fleeting shadow. … One need not choose between the two … for 
 
there is opportunity to get both simultaneously” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball,
 
ed.Edward L. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, p. 390).
I have found this last statement to be true in my own life. As I have spent many hours inindependent study at home reading history and many other topics, I have found that mytestimony of the gospel has been strengthened. It has reaffirmed the miracle and truth of theBook of Mormon and the urgency that exists for us to share the Good News of Christ.The prophets have told us that how we study makes a difference. It is important that when westudy spiritual matters that we do so with focus. Richard G. Scott shared this in 1993:
“As you seek spiritual knowledge, search for principles. Carefully separate them from the detail used to explain them. Principles are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a widevariety of circumstances. A true principle makes decisions clear even under the most confusingand compelling circumstances.” 
There are other benefits to knowledge that extend past this world: Doctrine and CovenantsSection 130 verse 19 says:
 And if a person
gains more
knowledge and intelligence in this
life
through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.
So how can this be an advantage? Why would having knowledge give us a leg up after we die?Let’simagine you are in a room. In this room is your father and your grandfather. Also presentis your great grandfather, and his father. In fact, in this room is every generation of yourfathers going back to the time of Christ. How many people do you think are in the room? Youwould be in a group of about 90 people. This group would represent about 5000 years of yourfamily’s life experience spent over 2000 years of history. Some of the people in your roomwould be wearing pioneer clothes, others could be adorned in tritip hats, others might bewearing the knights uniform of a Crusader, or Viking a helmet, or togas, or even crowns of authority. Nevertheless, everyone in this room is your direct blood relative. If you could askthem anything, what would it be? Since you have the full Gospel of Jesus Christ, what is it doyou think they would ask of you? Are you prepared to answer their questions? Whateverspiritual knowledge we take with us when we die will be put to use in the hereafter.Meanwhile, we still have to live our lives in the present day. The need for spiritual and secularknowledge by members of the Church today is a dire necessity. Joseph Fielding Smith madethis statement over 50 years ago:
 
“Today we are troubled by evil-designing persons who [endeavor] … to destroy the testimoniesof members of the Church, and many … are in danger because of lack of understanding and because they have not sought the guidance of the Spirit. … It is a commandment from the Lord that members … be diligent … and study … the fundamental truths of the gospel. … Every baptized person [can] have an abiding testimony. … but [it] … will grow dim and eventually disappear [without] … study, obedience, and diligent seeking to know and understand the truth” 
How much more does this message apply to us today? In many ways our time is even moretreacherous to navigate. Society today is wading through the fever swamps of addiction,immorality, and intoxication. These problems are so ubiquitous that all of us in the Church aresusceptible to infection unless we seek the high ground where there is love in our homes andfrequent spiritual nourishment. If not being threatened by vice, video games, social media,texting, iPads, smart phones, and every iteration of technological innovation threatens todistract us to oblivion. How much time can we give to love and guide our family when we areconsumed in electronic gadgetry?In many ways, as a society, we are victims of our own success. We live in the most affluenttime in world history. We have nearly every creature comfort imagined my man. We controlthe temperature of our air; we have eradicated the most pernicious diseases; we travel quicklyand with ease; clothes, food, and shelter are cheap and plentiful by historical standards.Yet, this high standard of living, like the Nephites, can cause us to relax our exertions towardspiritual and temporal improvement. And, there are only two directions to go in Gospelprogress: forward or backward.So what can we do to keep ourselves from wanting to kick back and take a nap in themetaphorical Lay-Z-Boy of spirituality? Regular and habitual study is the answer.In my hand here is my reading journal. I have one for secular reading and another for spiritualreading. I couldn’t fit everything on 3x5 cards so I picked up a book to write in. I recommendkeeping a journal filled with quotes and thoughts about the worthwhile books you read. As youdo so, you will gain further insight and have a command over the material you are studying.In our home we have created an environment that encourages learning. Kim and I decidedwhen our first daughter was born that we would get rid of broadcast television. That was 11years ago. We kept the DVD player for movie night but eliminated the noisy chatter anduncontrolled messages and pop culture that were pouring into our home.Since that time, the rewards for our family have been immense. Our children have been drivento reading books as their prime source of entertainment. Without hours of television to occupytheir minds, the children have also resorted to imaginative games and artistic activity to fill

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