(Continued from THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTINUAL LEARNING)
God tells us to study things in addition to the scriptures. In Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) Section 90:15, He states: “And…study and learn, and become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people.” Notice He says to “become acquainted with ALL good books” (emphasis added). In Section 93, He says (verse 53), “it is my will that you should…obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion. Amen.”
We see from these that God wants us to learn as much as possible, to help build up His kingdom here on earth (i.e., “for the salvation of Zion”). In the parable of the ten talents (see Matthew 25:14-40), the Lord gives out talents (verse 15) “to every man according to his several ability.” He then expects each of His servants to gain more talents, to be a “good and faithful servant” (verses 21, 23). But the “unprofitable servant” (verse 30) is “cast…into outer darkness” (ibid.). Not only does God expect us to magnify our gifts, but He warns that those who do not that their talents shall be taken away and they will be punished (see D&C 82:3; Ether 12:35; D&C 60:2,13). God wants us to use our talents to bless others (see D&C 82:18). He wants us to improve upon what He has given us, to gain other talents.
In May 1829, Hyrum Smith was told, “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men” (D&C 11:21). Preparation to magnify our callings is sometimes necessary before we are ready to “go forth” (verse 26, ibid.).
For example, when I was called to be a ward organist, I was a pianist, not an organist! I stumbled through learning a new instrument, and applied myself to study, taking lessons and attending the BYU Organ Workshop. I passed off Level 1, then Level 2. I took responsibility and learned what I needed to learn. This greatly increased my confidence and self-reliance in magnifying my calling.
Julie B. Beck, Fifteenth Relief Society General President, said, “We become self-reliant through obtaining sufficient knowledge, education, and literacy; by managing money and resources wisely, being spiritually strong, preparing for emergencies and eventualities; and by having physical health and social and emotional well-being.”
Anything we do to improve in education, financial wisdom and skill, spiritual strength, and physical, social, and emotional health, prepares us to magnify our mortal mission. It adds to the talents with which the Lord already blessed us. The key is to consecrate all we learn and do to the Lord, to build up His kingdom on the earth.