Upon considering the things taught recently at the Sperry Symposium and at General Conference, it has become clear that there are different types, grades or levels of knowledge that one may gain. Which are most important?
Let’s consult the words of Spencer W. Kimball to discover his feelings on the matter of the most important knowledge we can gain:
Spencer W. Kimball, “Seek Learning, Even by Study and Also by Faith,” Ensign, Sep 1983, p. 3
“Yet secular knowledge can be most helpful to the children of our Father in Heaven who, having placed first things first, have found and are living those truths which lead one to eternal life. These are they who have the balance and perspective to seek all knowledge-revealed and secular-as a tool and servant for the blessing of themselves and others. They know that preeminent among all activities in this life is preparing themselves for eternal life by subjugating the flesh, subjecting the body to the spirit, overcoming weaknesses, and so governing themselves that they may give leadership to others. Important, but of second priority, comes the knowledge associated with life in mortality.”
“Of all the treasures of knowledge, the most truly vital is the knowledge of God, of his existence, his powers, his love, and his promises. Through this knowledge, we learn that our great objective in life is to build character. In fact, we learn that the building of faith and character is paramount, for character is higher than intellect, and perfect character will be continually rewarded with increased intellect.”
“Thus, our real business on earth is to master self. And as we master ourselves, we will learn to master the earth and its elements. Most important, we will learn how to help others overcome and perfect themselves in all ways of living.”
“In the same way, let us seek the truth. Let us first seek the truths of God, and then let us live them. Then let us seek after the truths of his earth. Let us seek learning ‘by study and also by faith.’ (D&C 88:118.)”
“And let us remember that it is not so much what we know that is important, as what we do and what we are. The Master’s plan is a program of doing, of living, not merely knowing. Knowledge itself is not the end. It is how we righteously live and apply that knowledge in our own lives and how we apply it to help others that describes our character.”
“If we seek true happiness, we must expend our energies for purposes larger than our own self-interests. Let us ponder prayerfully how we may effectively and lovingly give service to our families, neighbors, and fellow Saints. And let us know that when we learn to do this we have learned one of the great truths of eternity.”
Further, how important is it that we continue learning throughout our lives? Two wonderful talks have come to my attention about the cruciality of continuously learning. The first, given by Eliot Butler in September 1976, is entitled “Everybody Is Ignorant, Only on Different Subjects.” MP3 DOWNLOAD LINK
The second, given by Marion D. Hanks in June 1955, is entitled “Learning Never Ends.”
MP3 DOWNLOAD LINK
All three of these addresses are inspiring in directing one’s focus to how important it is always to continue learning. They also clarify what types of things are the most important to learn.