Wednesday, May 30, 2018

President Dallin H. Oaks on seeking learning through study and faith

President Dallin H. Oaks (born August 12, 1932) served as president of BYU from 1971-1980.  He was then appointed as a justice of the Utah Supreme Court, and resigned when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984. He became President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and also 1st Counselor in the First Presidency in January 2018.
"In modern revelation the Lord has told us to 'seek learning … by study and also by faith.' (D&C 109:7.)
"We seek learning by studying the accumulated wisdom of various disciplines and by using the powers of reasoning placed in us by our Creator.
"We should also seek learning by faith in God, the giver of revelation. I believe that many of the great discoveries and achievements in science and the arts have resulted from a God-given revelation. Seekers who have paid the price in perspiration have been magnified by inspiration.
"The acquisition of knowledge by revelation is an extra bonus to seekers in the sciences and the arts, but it is the fundamental method for those who seek to know God and the doctrines of his gospel. In this area of knowledge, scholarship and reason are insufficient.
"A seeker of truth about God must rely on revelation. I believe this is what the Book of Mormon prophet meant when he said, 'To be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.' (2 Ne. 9:29.) It is surely what the Savior taught when he said, 'Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.' (Matt. 16:17.)
"The way to revelation is righteousness."
- Dallin H. Oaks, "Alternate Voices," General Conference April 1989
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

The admonition from the Lord to "seek learning … by study and also by faith" is an important one to remember. We apply ourselves to the first half of the process, though perhaps not enough—there is much we could study and learn if we made greater efforts to focus our personal study efforts. But we also often neglect the second part of the guideline, that of using faith to gain knowledge.

President Oaks points out that even our "secular" learning can benefit from spiritual assistance, as we find that those "who have paid the price in perspiration have been magnified by inspiration." But then, in the realm of matters of the spirit, we must apply both our study and our faith in order to truly benefit:

President Oaks gives wise counsel in this address about the process of learning through faith. We are blessed as we make those efforts to grow and expand in our learning, both temporally and spiritually!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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