Saturday, October 27, 2018

President Dallin H. Oaks on seeking spiritual knowledge

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.
"We live in a time of greatly expanded and disseminated information. But not all of this information is true. We need to be cautious as we seek truth and choose sources for that search. We should not consider secular prominence or authority as qualified sources of truth. We should be cautious about relying on information or advice offered by entertainment stars, prominent athletes, or anonymous internet sources. Expertise in one field should not be taken as expertise on truth in other subjects.
"We should also be cautious about the motivation of the one who provides information. That is why the scriptures warn us against priestcraft (see 2 Nephi 26:29). If the source is anonymous or unknown, the information may also be suspect.
"Our personal decisions should be based on information from sources that are qualified on the subject and free from selfish motivations.
"When we seek the truth about religion, we should use spiritual methods appropriate for that search: prayer, the witness of the Holy Ghost, and study of the scriptures and the words of modern prophets. I am always sad when I hear of one who reports a loss of religious faith because of secular teachings. Those who once had spiritual vision can suffer from self-inflicted spiritual blindness."
- Dallin H. Oaks, "Truth and the Plan," General Conference October 2018
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

President Oaks counsels us about choosing and evaluating the sources for information in our lives. In our modern world, we are bombarded by advice and recommendations through media and other methods that can sometimes be quite forceful and persuasive. It's so important that we learn to evaluate and distinguish what are valid, trustworthy sources and what might be less reliable, or worse, outright deceptive and damaging.

President Oaks warns specifically about information that might come from a source trying to manipulate in order to get personal gain (priestcraft), as well as hidden or anonymous sources that are seemingly afraid to disclose who they are.

For seeking truth on spiritual matters, it is so important to learn to trust the best and most reliable sources: personal inspiration from the Holy Ghost that comes as we pray; and the inspired words of scriptures and prophetic teachings. A solid foundation built from those sources will give us a firm platform on which to build and a clear standard by which to evaluate all other information.

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

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