Friday, June 29, 2012

Education in the Church

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.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book of Mormon Sampler: Alma 29: 1-9

When I read these verses, I really identify with the passionate feelings of Alma about preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world. I too, wish that I could tell everyone, and encourage them to take advantage of the atonement of Jesus Christ by repenting. What a great passage!

Alma 29:1-9

1 O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!

2 Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.

3 But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.

4 I ought not to harrow up in my desires the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction.

5 Yea, and I know that good and evil have come before all men; he that knoweth not good from evil is blameless; but he that knoweth good and evil, to him it is given according to his desires, whether he desireth good or evil, life or death, joy or remorse of conscience.

6 Now, seeing that I know these things, why should I desire more than to perform the work to which I have been called?

7 Why should I desire that I were an angel, that I could speak unto all the ends of the earth?

8 For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true.

9 I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.