By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

"Education Without a Classroom"

I am always interested in learning. There are an endless number of subjects that we can study. Many people don't have time or money for more formal education, but there are so many options available to us, wherever we live and whatever our circumstances are, that we can always be learning.

Twenty-eight years ago, there was an article printed in the December 1980 Ensign called "Education Without a Classroom" by Pam Bookstaber. The article covers a wide number of options for continuing your education. When you add in the internet today, you have even more options available. I would encourage you to read the article and see if you don't find some ideas you would like to put to use in your own life.

One thing I thought was good was an exchange of teaching--you give someone lessons in your specialty in exchange for them giving you lessons in their specialty. It can be an exchange of language lessons, hobby/skill lessons, or anything else that appeals to you.

Pam Bookstaber closes with these thoughts:
Of course, secular study should always be balanced by a study of the scriptures. The scriptures not only provide a solid base from which we can approach our study of the world, they also contain some valuable insights without which our education would be incomplete. In fact, a true understanding of the universe and our place in it is impossible without a good understanding of the doctrines found in the standard works.

Church leaders have suggested many ways to study the scriptures: book by book from beginning to end or researching by topic. As you study the scriptures, keep in mind the excellent gospel instruction available in Church lesson manuals, from Church schools, and in many LDS books written on gospel subjects.

Our Heavenly Father has blessed us with the resources we need to continue learning all our lives. He has given us brains with infinite capacity, a world too complex to ever bore us, the freedom to pursue our own interests, and the ability to structure our own time. All we need to do is take advantage of the possibilities that daily surround us.
No matter what your interests are, no matter what you would like to learn, there are ways you can incorporate such learning into your life. It will add a new dimension to you.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

From the Archives: Seeking Learning

President Spencer W. Kimball had an article in the September 1983 Ensign that was called "Seek Learning, Even by Study and Also by Faith". It was reprinted from previous addresses of his. This is a topic that interests me greatly, being a person who loves to learn.

President Kimball discusses in this article the position that secular learning holds in relation to spiritual learning. I recommend reading it to gain a good perspective and also to be directed to some scriptures that deal with the subject of learning.

Spiritual learning, and the action that should go along with it, is the most important for each of us. It leads us to eternal life, and it also helps us to find joy and happiness in this life. We learn of God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. We can have the help of the Holy Ghost in all of our learning, both spiritual and secular, including how best to apply our learning to our day-to-day lives.

Spiritual learning helps us learn the self-control we need to live good lives and it also helps us in our relationships with family, friends, and neighbors. We learn absolute truths that guide us in deciding what to do in various situations, so that we are behaving ethically and know what we can do to serve others.

With spiritual learning taking first place and giving us a firm foundation, we can study the secular topics of the world: math, science, music, politics, history, and so forth. We learn how things work and how they fit together. The more we learn about the earth and everything on it and in it, the better we will know how to be good stewards of the earth. The more we learn about the countries and peoples of the earth, the better we will know how to help them and how to view the political decisions we come to in our country--what is good and what is not.

Secular learning also helps us to find and develop our talents and share them with others. We also gain a greater appreciation of the talents and abilities of others.

Spiritual learning gives a necessary perspective concerning our relationships with ourselves and with others and with God. Supplemented with secular learning which gives us much practical knowledge, we can live a good life indeed.

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Friday, January 02, 2009

Reflections on a New Year

With all the concerns we have in our lives, a new year is a good time to regroup and make plans. Everyone is worried about the economy, energy, health, politics, and numerous other issues. Instead of worrying yourself sick, think of things that you can control and make changes that will improve your life. This is, of course, easier said than done, but it is worth the effort. I'm certainly not perfect at making needed changes, but at least I keep trying! And instead of thinking of this post as the same old, same old, think of it as a reminder of your possibilities.

Regarding the economy, this is a good time to make needed personal changes. We all have places we can cut back on our spending and start saving a little more. Opt for free or low cost entertainments. Spend more time at home with the family. Cook at home instead of eating out. See if you can store a little extra food (rotating it so it doesn't get too old) and other household items. Try to drive a little less to cut gas expense. If you have debts, work a little harder at paying them off. Discuss these changes and enlist your family's support. You can let the kids have some input, but remember that you're the parents and can set the limits and guidelines. If it's just you, well, your inner parent will just have to be firm with your inner child!

As for health, if we can make changes that will improve our health, we'll have fewer medical expenses down the road. Many types of exercise are free--walking, riding bikes you already have, using exercise equipment you already have, working out with videos/DVDs you already have, etc. For nutrition, we can cook more of our meals to cut back on salt, fat, and calories. Buy fewer processed foods and cook more "from scratch". Again, enlist the family in your efforts. Teach the kids to cook. Teach them about nutrition. You can still eat your favorite foods, just make little changes to make them a bit healthier.

Spend time improving your spiritual life, too. This can go along way in supporting your efforts in other areas. Keep an eternal perspective and remember that this life isn't all there is and material items aren't all that important in the grand scheme of things. Pray and read the scriptures daily to keep close to God and to remember what life is really all about. You'll also get a lot of inspiration for handling your problems.

You'll be able to think of many more areas of life that you can improve. Make it fun and interesting. Look on changes as opportunities and adventures, rather than punishments or deprivations. Set priorities so that your time, effort, and money is going for things that are important to you and your family. Don't neglect service and charity. Even if you have to cut back on those things that cost money, do what you can to help others. This will help your own perspective and will help you look outward as well as inward.

You don't necessarily have to make a list of new year's resolutions, or start things on January 1 (good thing, too, since today is the 2nd!). You also don't have to overwhelm yourself by trying to work on everything at once. You could choose one thing to work on in January, then add another in February, and so on, through the year and beyond.

I'm writing this post as much for myself as for others, so I have my work cut out for me. I hope we can all look at each day as a fresh start. President Hinckley always encouraged us to be a bit better each day. That is very much within the grasp of each of us, no matter what our circumstances are. Happy New Year!

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