I've been thinking about how much our church focuses on religious education. Some churches don't realliy educate, but simply recitate rote prayers and quote scriptures. Those things do not necessarily educate. To truly educate, there needs to be an explanation given, or a discussion held to help students understand the basic doctrine.
It occurred to me today that one of the main missions of our church is to educate it's members about the doctrine. Almost everything we do in the church is designed to either strengthen our faith, or educate us about the gospel. Our youth attend four years of seminary which is early morning religious education. Young adults can continue that education for another 4 years by attending "Institute", which can be found in most college communities. All members attend Sunday school, and receive instruction that is also broken up in to four year segments.
Each of these instruction groups focus on these four subjects: The Old Testament, The New Testament, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants/Pearl of Great Price and Church history. In each case, the subject is studied in depth for a full year, using church manuals that are available world wide. There are some members who choose not to participate in some of these instructions, but by and large, most members do, and can answer most questions about our beliefs.
It really occurs to me that a loving God would want us to get as much education as possible. This includes both secular and religious education. In olden days, the average member of a Christian religion was not even given a chance to read the scriptures. I have to wonder what they really knew about their religion. Is it enough to just believe in God? I don't think so, because in order to develop strong faith, we also need to understand God's laws, and what He intends for us.
In latter day scripture we read, "The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth." (Doctrine and Covenants 93:36. That is a powerful scripture. God is truth. God is light. God is intelligent. As our heavenly father, He wants us to develop those same traits. I am thankful that through the church, God provides a way for us to gain that knowledge and education.