Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Elder Bruce R. McConkie on the importance of gospel scholarship

Elder Bruce R. McConkie (July 29, 1915 - April 19, 1985) served as a Seventy from 1946-1972 when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve.  He served in that assignment until his death from cancer at age 69.
"Our revelation says, 'The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth' (D&C 93:36). Joseph Smith taught that 'a man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge' of God and his saving truths (Teachings, p. 217) and that 'it is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance' of Jesus Christ and the laws of his gospel (D&C 131:6).
"We believe in gospel scholarship. We think that devout men everywhere, in and out of the Church, should seek spiritual truth, should come to know God, should learn his laws, and should strive to live in harmony with them. There are no truths as important as those that pertain to God and his gospel, to the pure religion that he has revealed, to the terms and conditions whereby we may gain an inheritance with him in his kingdom....
"Christ is the great exemplar, the prototype of perfection and salvation: 'He said unto the children of men: Follow thou me' (2 Ne. 31:10). Also: 'What manner of men ought yet to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.' (3 Ne. 27:27.) I know of no better way to respond to Jesus' invitation, 'Learn of me' (Matt. 10:28), than to study the scriptures with a prayerful heart."
- Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrines of the Restoration (Bookcraft 1989), pp. 221-222

Elder McConkie was known for his bold, authoritarian presentation and his exposition of the scriptures and Church doctrine. This quote summarizes his personal standard, as well as presenting an exhortation to Church members and "devout men everywhere" — we need to be scholars of the Lord's gospel.

And in the final paragraph, Elder McConkie explains the main reason gospel scholarship is important. It enables us to become more like the Lord when we understand more about Him. We learn in order to live.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2022)

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