Even by study, and also by faith

Nov 09, 2018

True knowledge of the nature of life comes as we seek wisdom by study and by faith.

In 1832, as Joseph Smith was organizing the School of the Prophets to help prepare the men of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for church leadership and missionary service, he received a revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants Section 88 that outlines principles for learning truth. One of my favorite statements in the revelation comes in verse 118:

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.

The Lord is explicit in telling us that we must seek "words of wisdom" "out of the best books" - and that it is especially important given that "all have not faith". I have frequently pondered this statement, and it has become especially important to me in my own journey of faith.

In a world and culture filled with the wonders of scientific progress and steeped in the notion that there is no absolute moral truth, lack of belief in God is common. Finding truth about our nature as human beings can be difficult and a lot of work. Philosophies of men obscure truths, twist our understanding of ourselves, and prevent us from understanding ourselves deeply - and from living fully.

The Lord loves all of his children. He wants all of us to find happiness and an understanding of his true nature. To help us find our way, if we choose to, he scatters truths throughout the world. He reveals truths to those who seek it - no matter what walks of life they come from. Seeking "words of wisdom" from the "best books" serves to help us all more fully understand our own nature and the true nature of the world around us. And if we are patient and seek long enough, it leads us back to Him.

I have found that as I am patient, things that were once difficult for me to understand have become clear. At times they have come slowly, but they have come. Indeed, finding common threads of truth from many sources has been key in my development of faith in God and in his benevolent purposes. It has even cleared up misunderstandings of the pure Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that I had in my youth which prevented me from living fully. Knowledge of real truth has come - but only because I paired learning by study with learning by faith.