Learning by Faith
Good morning all. Today, I am like a cow in tall grass: I am utterly tickled to be speaking to you.
Before I get into my talk, I'd like to tell you why I decided to go on a mission. Like it was said, I was called to serve in the California Riverside mission and actually, because of the new missions that just got announced, there's a small chance I could switch missions in July, which be super cool!
I had been thinking about serving a mission since my senior year. That was when I really started to be active in the church. I had gone to church my whole life, but my senior year was when I started going because I wanted to, not because my parents made me. I decided I wanted to do Called to Serve that summer and was looking in to the program and everything. Unfortunately, I found out I would be out of town that weekend, but the idea was still in the back of my mind until I left for BYU-Idaho. Right before I left, in stake conference President Cropper, and I don't remember what he said exactly, I just remember him talking about missions. I started to think about it a little more but pushed it to the back of my mind because, hey, I was only 18. Who knows what would happen in the next three years? Especially at BYU-I. I could've been married and had three kids by then. But, obviously, I didn't.
When I got to BYU-I, one of my friends and one of my roommates were some of those girls that was determined to go on a mission. They weren't going to date until they served a mission because that's how badly they wanted to go. It made me think about it a little more, but again, back of my mind it went and it stayed there for awhile. Now, by the way, my old roommate is engaged and my friend is starting her papers after the end of the next semester.
Today I will be speaking to you on learning by faith and letting the Holy Ghost teach you. I'll be quoting a CES Broadcast given by David A. Bednar in 2006 entitled “Seek Learning By Faith”, using my own personal experiences along with those of my friends and complimenting them with several scriptures. In D&C 88:118 which says, “Seek learning, even by study and also by faith”.
This reminds me of my education class I took in the spring. In this class we had two philosophies in which we should focus our thinking when it came to teaching, one of which was act and not be acted upon. This means to not be the kind of teacher (or learner) that sits there and is spoon fed information to be forgotten the next day. To be an active learner, we must seek knowledge, not wait for it to be given to us. All things come to him who waits, but they come sooner if he goes out to see what's wrong.
Elder Bednar said, “We recognize that as learners, you and I are to act and be doers of the word and not simply hearers who are only acted upon. Are you and I agents who act and seek learning by faith, or are we waiting to be taught and acted upon?... Learning by faith requires spiritual, mental, and physical exertion and not just passive reception. It is in the sincerity and consistency of our faith-inspired action that we indicated to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, our willingness to learn and receive instruction from the Holy Ghost.” Close quote
Another one of my favorites is John 14:26 which says,”But the Comforter, which is they Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” This one strikes me because it mentions that the Holy Ghost “shall teach you all things” and “bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Who wouldn't want to know all things? We're taught to learn wisdom in our youth and that whatever knowledge we gain here will be taken with us after we die, so why not try to learn as much as possible? And how do we learn that? The Holy Ghost. And how do we know it's true? The Holy Ghost.
While at school, I had one class that I would have homework on a regular basis and I decided to do a little experiment with it. It would be two weeks: the first week I would pray then I would do my Book of Mormon reading before I started my studies, the second, I would just start right away with my homework for the class. By the end of the first week, I felt like I learned so much more than I did at the end of the second week. I remembered stuff from the second week, but what I learned in the first week stayed in my mind a lot longer. After this, praying and a little Book of Mormon reading before homework became a regular study habit.
By saying a prayer and reading the scriptures, I was inviting the Spirit to be with me and opening my heart to it's teachings. What I was learning was confirmed as truth to me while I studied. Now, I already knew most of what I was learning, the class was a beginning science class, but having the Holy Ghost confirm to me that what I was learning was true just made me want to learn more. I really developed a love for learning that semester from forming my new study habit of having the Holy Ghost as a study buddy.
The last point I'd like to make involves learning a different language, which I have the blessing and opportunity to do. In Preach My Gospel, there is a chapter on learning the language and one of the first points that is made to help you learn the language is to live worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. When I read that, it blew my mind a little bit. Learning a language is that easy? I just have to have the Holy Ghost? Alright. I got this. Well, humility is a big thing too. I can work on that. I like that this is mentioned in the chapter though. Not only does it give me comfort that there actually is a way for me to learn another language, but if the Holy Ghost can teach me, Chloe Myers, a foreign language, there is no limit to what the Holy Ghost can teach me. I've always heard the best way to learn a language is to read the Book of Mormon and why is that? Because when you read the Book of Mormon, you have the Holy Ghost with you. Funny how this all ties together.
In closing I'm going to quote Elder Bednar one more time. “As we look to the future and anticipate the ever more confused and turbulent world in which we will live, I believe it will be essential for all of us to increase our capacity to seek learning by faith.”
I like to leave you with my testimony. I know this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was and Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. I know that I was called of God to serve the good people of Riverside California. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that you can never read it enough times. You will learn something new every time. I have a firm testimony that if you learn through the Holy Ghost, you be able to learn things you would never imagine you could wrap your brain around. I love every single one of you and I am overwhelmed by your love and support at this very important time in my life. You have all been great examples to me and I greatly appreciate everything you all have done for me. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.