NOTE: This is the first of a four-part series answering a question posed to me by a friend. He and I are both members of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints (LDS), so answers come from scriptures and other LDS sources as noted or linked. Scriptures can be found on lds.org. Further information on LDS beliefs including the Atonement of Jesus Christ can be found on Mormon.org. Today’s introduction introduces segments on Continual Learning, Personal Development, and Healing to be posted next week.
Throughout life, I seek better ways to deal with things, people, and health. A couple years ago I joined a business that encouraged ongoing personal development. Recently, a worried friend wrote this to me:
“I have also been concerned about all the self healing classes and seminars you are going through. I have been personally trying to figure out why anyone needs all that if they are truly centered in the gospel and truly know and have a testimony of the atonement?”
I greatly appreciate your concern for me! I see your example and all you overcame through your acceptance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in your behalf! Your life is transformed through Him!
I reassure you that anything I learn, or hope to learn, is through the filter of His life and love. He is the pivotal focus of my life. Anything I do to better myself or my life is consecrated to Him and His purposes for me.
Part of my testimony is that He continues to give light and life to the world. He gives revelation to His prophets. He inspires people to help their fellowmen. As Proverbs 29:18 states, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
In Alma 24:14, we read: “And the great God has had mercy on us, and made these things known unto us that we might not perish; yea, and he has made these things known unto us beforehand, because he loveth our souls as well as he loveth our children; therefore, in his mercy he doth visit us by his angels, that the plan of salvation might be made known unto us as well as unto future generations.”
God reveals truth to us, giving light and hope. He asks us to study and seek out learning.
Jesus in John 5:39 tells us to study the scriptures: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
Further, the Lord in modern revelation asks us to study other good books and subjects, not necessarily from the scriptures. “Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;
“Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms—
“That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:78-80).
Friend, the scriptures witness that everything we can learn helps us to fulfill our mortal missions and serve God more capably, if we choose to serve Him.