How important did you consider education before you joined the church? As you begin to work towards an LDS-mindset to life, think about your education. The church encourages its youth, and in fact, all its members, to get as much education as possible, both formally, and through personal learning.
The responsibility for getting an education begins with you. While it’s easier to be well-educated if you were raised in a home that values it or if you’re a naturally good student, in the end, you’re the one who is affected, and so it’s your responsibility, regardless of what you’re learning about education at home or how good you are at school.
“Because of our sacred regard for each human intellect, we consider the obtaining of an education to be a religious responsibility. Yet opportunities and abilities differ. I believe that in the pursuit of education, individual desire is more influential than institution, and personal faith more forceful than faculty.
“Our Creator expects His children everywhere to educate themselves. He issued a commandment: “Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118.) And He assures us that knowledge acquired here will be ours forever. (See D&C 130:18–19.)”– Russell M. Nelson, “Where Is Wisdom?,” Ensign, Nov 1992, 6
This means that going to a bad school or having an uneducational home isn’t an excuse. We have to take responsibility for educating ourselves. If your school is poor, you can find ways to make the curriculum harder. I once took a class on current events. I love current events and didn’t realize it was a fluff class designed for people who aren’t going to graduate unless they pass a social studies class. When I learned that we’d be doing nothing but rewriting a newspaper article in our own words each day, I went to the teacher. I was unable to change classes, but we decided I could instead choose an important long-running current event, research it, analyze it, and write a paper on it. In this way, I was able to get a good education in that class, even though the class itself was silly. When I had teachers who were unwilling to work with me, I assigned myself research projects. I tried to read extra books on the subject and talk to people who knew more about it. I also studied subjects my school didn’t offer by visiting museums or talking with my parents. When I struggled, I sought help in prayer and from others.
Doing well in school, and learning on our own, are spiritual accomplishments, even when we’re learning history or math. God is the author of all good knowledge. Of course, we must not let our academic life destroy our spiritual one. It’s important to use the same prayerful judgment in deciding what to believe academically as we did in deciding what church to join. Spiritual learning is also a priority.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.