Another great thing I like about my church is how I am constantly encouraged to study and learn. The LDS Church has placed tremendous value and emphasis on education. Besides the four church-owned colleges and Universities, which are subsidized through tithing contributions, there are the thousands of seminary and institute facilities throughout the world. Seminary is for high-school age students and institute is for college-age students.
The main focus of study in all seminary and institute classes is the scriptures. In fact it is the same in almost all Sunday School classes. We rotate through the scriptures each year: Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon and Church History (Doctrine and Covenants). Of course we are also invited to continue a life-long pursuit of gospel knowledge through our own individual efforts to study the gospel in our homes.
You would think with all this emphasis on scripture study that most Mormons would be gospel scholars. Not so. Some are, but for the most part, most of us have just a basic rudimentary understanding of some of the more important doctrines of Salvation. Why is that? It is because the emphasis of our gospel study is not to become scriptorians, it is to draw us closer to the Savior and to bring His spirit into our lives on a daily basis.
To quote President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985), twelfth President of the LDS Church, “I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns.” I love this quote and think of it often when I am experiencing a lack of spirituality in my own life.
Mormons for the most part are a happy and busy people – too busy. We are focused on our families and focused on being successful in providing for our families. In that respect we are no different from many other good people of the world. Sometimes, the stress of the world catches up with us and drags us down with feelings of being overburdened with so much to do. That’s when it is easy to say, “I’ll study the gospel later when it’s quiet.”
The funny thing is that when you put off that quiet time to focus on the Lord and his Word, the rest of your day seems to be even more stressed. Instead of feeling that you’ve completed more and accomplished things that are important, there is a nagging feeling that the most important thing for the day has not been completed. It’s a lifelong pursuit to balance the demands of this life with the need for constant nourishment to the soul.
What’s your secret? Do you just get up earlier to study the gospel or stay up later?