We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment: he must have been instructed in the government and laws of that kingdom by proper degrees, until his mind is capable in some measure of comprehending the propriety, justice, equality, and consistency of the same. (p. 51)
A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination beware of; because the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity--thou must commune with God. How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God, than the vain imaginations of the human heart! None but fools will trifle with the souls of men. (p. 137)
The Spirit of Revelation is in connection with these blessings. A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; (i.e.) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus. (p. 151)
As far as we degenerate from God, we descend to the devil and lose knowledge, and without knowledge we cannot be saved, and while our hearts are filled with evil, and we are studying evil, there is no room in our hearts for good, or studying good. Is not God good? Then you be good; if He is faithful, then you be faithful. Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, and seek for every good thing. (p. 217)
A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. Hence it needs revelation to assist us, and give us knowledge of the things of God. (p. 217)
To become a joint heir of the heirship of the Son, one must put away all his false traditions. (p. 321)
I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all. How many will be able to abide a celestial law, and go through and receive their exaltation, I am unable to say, as many are called, but few are chosen. (p. 331)
I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of being God is. What sort of a being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and hear, all ye ends of the earth, for I am going . . . to tell you the designs of God in relation to the human race, and why He interferes with the affairs of man.
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret! If the veil were rent today . . . if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form--like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man.
. . . it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how he came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.
These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did . . .
Here, then, is eternal life--to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves . . . the same as all Gods have done before you, namely by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation. (pp. 345-346)
When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave. (p. 348)
I have an old edition of the New Testament in the Latin, Hebrew, German and Greek languages. I have been reading the German, and find it to be the most (nearly) correct translation, and to correspond nearest to the revelations which God has given to me for the last fourteen years. . . . I thank God that I have got this old book; but I thank him more for the gift of the Holy Ghost. I have got the oldest book in the world; but I (also) have the oldest book in my heart, even the gift of the Holy Ghost. (p. 349)
Now, I ask all who hear me, why the learned men who are preaching salvation, say that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing? The reason is, that they are unlearned in the things of God, and have not the gift of the Holy Ghost; they account it blasphemy in any one to contradict their idea. If you tell them that God made the world out of something, they will call you a fool. But I am learned, and know more than all the world put together. The Holy Ghost does, anyhow, and He is within me, and comprehends more than all the world: and I will associate myself with Him. (p. 350)
God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence, which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits. (p. 354)
If man would be great in goodness, they must be intelligent, for no man can do good unless he knows how; therefore, seek after knowledge, all knowledge, and especially that which is from above, which is wisdom to direct in all things, and if you find anything that God does not know, you need not learn that thing; but strive to know what God knows, and use that knowledge as God uses it, and then you will be like him; will see as you are seen, and know as you are known; and have charity, love one another, and do each other good continually, and for ever, even as for yourselves.
But if a man have all knowledge, and does not use it for good, it will prove a curse instead of a blessing as it did to Lucifer, the Son of the Morning. If a sinner is advised to repent, and be baptized for remission of his sins, and does it not, it will prove to his condemnation instead of a blessing, and he cannot receive the laying on of the hands of the Elders for the reception of the Holy Ghost. (First Presidency [Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards]. Millennial Star, January 15, 1852, 14:17-25.)
The Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, shall be the standard text books, and shall be read and their doctrines inculcated in the [Brigham Young] Academy, and further no book shall be used therein that misrepresents, or speaks lightly of, the Divine mission of our Savior, or of the prophet Joseph Smith, or in any manner advances ideas antagonistic to the principles of the Gospel. [Cited by J. Reuben Clark Jr. in Messages of the First Presidency, vol. 6, pp. 228-239. (Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1975), p. 237]
I cannot say that I would recommend the reading of all books, for it is not all books which are good. Read good books, and extract from them wisdom and understanding as much as you possibly can aided by the Spirit of God. [Cited in Susan Young Gates. Life of Brigham Young. (Freeport, New York: Books for Libraries Press, 1971), p. 218].
I have deeded my property on that place on which the University building stands to a Board of Trustees, composed of Smoot, Harrington and others for the purpose of endowing a college, to be called Brigham Young's Academy of Provo. . . . I hope to see an Academy established there . . . at which the children of the Latter-day Saints can receive a good education unmixed with the pernicious, atheistic influences that are found in so many of the higher schools of the country.
Chapter 22: Education [Complete Text]
Knowledge and Intelligence
Education is a good thing, and blessed is the man who has it, and can use it for the dissemination of the Gospel without being puffed up with pride. 11:214.
When we speak upon education, it is not to be understood that it alone consists in a man's learning the letters of the alphabet, in being trained in every branch of scholastic lore, in becoming proficient in the knowledge of the sciences, and a classical scholar, but also in learning to classify himself and others. 1:66.
Find a true philosopher and you find one who has the true principles of Christianity. He delights in them; and sees and understands the hand of Providence guiding and directing in all the affairs of this life. 14:82.
A firm, unchangeable course of righteousness through life is what secures to a person true intelligence. 8:32.
Intelligent beings are organized to become Gods, even the Sons of God, to dwell in the presence of the Gods, and become associated with the highest intelligences that dwell in eternity. We are now in the school, and must practice upon what we receive. 8:160.
When we have faith to understand that he must dictate and that we must be perfectly submissive to him, then we shall begin to rapidly collect the intelligence that is bestowed upon the nations, for all this intelligence belongs to Zion. All the knowledge, wisdom, power, and glory that have been bestowed upon the nations of the earth, from the days of Adam till now, must be gathered home to Zion. 8:278.
This people have embraced the philosophy of eternal lives, and in view of this we should cease to be children and become philosophers, understanding our own existence, its purpose and intimate design, then our days will not become a blank through ignorance, but every day will bring with it its useful and profitable employment. God has placed us here, given us the ability we possess, and supplied the means upon which we can operate to produce social, national, and eternal happiness. 9:190.
When a man is capable of correcting you, and of giving you light, and true doctrine, do not get up an altercation but submit to be taught like little children, and strive with all your might to understand. 1:47.
Learning a, b, c, d, does not hinder me learning e, f, g. 16:27. (p. 245)
Every art and science known and studied by the children of men is comprised within the Gospel. Where did the knowledge come from which has enabled man to accomplish such great achievements in science and mechanism within the last few years? We know that knowledge is from God, but why do they not acknowledge him? Because they are blind to their own interests, they do not see and understand things as they are. Who taught men to chain the lightning? Did man unaided of himself discover that? No, he received the knowledge from the Supreme Being. From him, too, has every art and science proceeded, although the credit is given to this individual, and that individual. But where did they get the knowledge from, have they it in and of themselves? No, they must acknowledge that, if they cannot make one spear of grass grow, nor one hair white or black without artificial aid, they are dependent upon the Supreme Being just the same as the poor and the ignorant. Where have we received the knowledge to construct the labor-saving machinery for which the present age is remarkable? From Heaven. Where have we received our knowledge of astronomy, or the power to make glasses to penetrate the immensity of space? We received it from the same Being that Moses, and those who were before him, received their knowledge from; the same Being who told Noah that the world should be drowned and its people destroyed. From him has every astronomer, artist and mechanician that ever lived on the earth obtained his knowledge. By him, too, has the power to receive from one another been bestowed, and to search into the deep things pertaining to this earth and every principle connected with it. (p. 246)
The religion embraced by the Latter-day Saints, if only slightly understood, prompts them to search diligently after knowledge. There is no other people in existence more eager to see, hear, learn, and understand truth. (p. 247)
It is the duty of the Latter-day Saints to live their religion so that all the world can say there is a pattern for us, not only in our business and worship, but in our knowledge of things that are, things that have been and of things that are yet to come, until the knowledge of Zion shall reach the uttermost parts of the earth, and the kings and great men shall say, "Let us go up to Zion and learn wisdom." . . .
Not only does the religion of Jesus Christ make the people acquainted with the things of God, and develop within them moral excellence and purity, but it holds out every encouragement and inducement possible, for them to increase in knowledge and intelligence, in every branch of mechanism, or in the arts and sciences, for all wisdom, and all the arts and sciences in the world are from God, and are designed for the good of his people. (p. 247)
I will not say, as do many, that the more I learn the more I am satisfied that I know nothing; for the more I learn the more I discern an eternity of knowledge to improve upon. (p. 248)
We might ask, when shall we cease to learn? I will give you my opinion about it: never, never. (p. 249)
Every accomplishment, every polished grace, every useful attainment in mathematics, music, and in all science and art belongs to the Saints, and they should avail themselves as expeditiously as possible of the wealth of knowledge the sciences offer to every diligent and persevering scholar. (p. 252)
Let us not narrow ourselves up; for the world, with all its variety of useful information and its rich hoard of hidden treasure, is before us; and eternity, with all its sparkling intelligence, lofty aspirations, and unspeakable glories, is before us, and ready to aid us in the scale of advancement and every useful improvement. (p. 279)
I shall not cease learning while I live, nor when I arrive at the spirit world; but shall there learn with greater facility; and when I again receive my body, I shall learn a thousand times more in a thousand times less time; and then I do not mean to cease learning, but I shall continue my researches. (JD 8:10)
We shall never see the time when we shall not need to be taught, nor when there will not be an object to be gained. I never expect to see the time that there will not be a superior power and a superior knowledge, and, consequently, incitements to further progress and further improvements. (JD 10:221)
An unpublished story of one of the difficult periods for the Brigham Young Academy concerns a serious financial situation. Brigham Young's daughter Zina Young Williams (Card) was concerned. She was dean of women at the academy. She traveled to Salt Lake to present her feelings and concerns to President John Taylor. His response is noted as follows:
He took my hand in a fatherly way, and said, "My dear child, I have something of importance to tell you that I know will make you happy. I have been visited by your father. He came to me in the silence of the night clothed in brightness, and with a face beaming with love and confidence told me things of great importance, and among others, that the school being taught by Brother Maeser was accepted in the heavens and was part of the great plan of life and salvation; that Church schools should be fostered for the good of Zion's children, that we rejoice to see the awakening among the teachers and the children of our people for they would need the support of this knowledge and testimony of the Gospel, and there was a bright future in store for the preparing of the children of the covenant for future usefulness in the kingdom of God, and that Christ himself was directing, and had a care over this school. (Zina Young Williams Card. "Short Reminiscent Sketches of Karl G. Maeser." Unpublished typescript, Brigham Young University Special Collections, p. 3)
[Richard H. Henstrom. Education for the Eternities. (Provo, UT: BYU Division of Continuing Education, 1986).]
I believe in every true principle that is imbibed by any person or sect, and reject the false. If there is any truth in heaven, earth, or hell, I want to embrace it; I care not what shape it comes in to me, who brings it or who believes in it, whether it is popular or unpopular. Truth, eternal truth, I wish to float in and enjoy.
If any man under the heavens can show me one principle of error that I have entertained, I will lay it aside forthwith, and be thankful for the information. On the other hand, if any man has got any principle of truth, whether moral, religious, philosophical, or of any other kind, that is calculated to benefit mankind, I will promise him I will embrace it, but I will not partake of his errors along with it. ["The Gospel Opens Communication with Jehovah." June 12, 1853 Address. Published in Scrapbook of Mormon Literature, vol. 2. (Chicago, Illinois: Press of Henry C. Etten & Company. Published by Ben E. Rich, no date, p. 224)]
It is good for the Elders to become acquainted with the languages, for they may have to go abroad, and should be able to talk to the people, and not look like fools. I care not how much intelligence you have got, if you cannot exhibit it you look like an ignoramus. Suppose a Frenchman should come upon this stand to deliver a lecture upon Botany, Astronomy, or any other science, and could not speak a word of English, how much wiser would you be? You may say, I thought the Lord would give us the gift of tongues. He won't if we are too indolent to study them. I never ask the Lord to do a thing I could do for myself. (JD 1:27)
We have been led generally to suppose that the light which enlighteneth the understanding of man is what is termed of intellectual character, and differs materially from the solar light, or the light of the sun; but if we examine these things critically, we shall find that there is mixed up with the philosophy of the heavens and the earth things that have been altogether out of the rich of human philosophy; that all true intelligence, all true wisdom, all intelligence that is of any use or benefit to the human family, proceeds from the Lord; that he is the fountain of truth, the source of intelligence, and the developer of every true and correct principle that is known to man upon the earth; that there is no branch of wisdom, of science, of philosophy, of good, sound common sense but what proceeds from him. (JD 11:73-74)
And I wish to say to you further, that if you will go before the Lord in all humility, and ask him for wisdom and intelligence, your prayers will be heard. You are commanded to search after wisdom from the best of books, and also through faith; and I will promise you that diligent study of our own works will place you in possession of a fund of knowledge that you never dreamed of. And then devote your leisure time to the acquisition of such useful knowledge as can be obtained through the schools, and from works on the sciences; but do not be led by their nonsense and scepticism, and false theories. And in doing this, seek earnestly for the Spirit of God to aid you, to enlighten your mind, that you may the better comprehend truth, and be able to discard error. (JD 19:245)
Another thing that has been referred to here--about our schools and education. God expects Zion to become the praise and glory of the whole earth; so that kings, hearing of her fame, will come and gaze upon her glory. God is not niggardly in his feelings towards us. He would as soon we all lived in palaces as not; but he wants us to observe his laws and fear him, and standing as messengers to go forth to the nations; clothed upon with the power of the priesthood which has been conferred upon us; seeking "first the kingdom of God and his righteousness;" seeking first the welfare and happiness of our fellow-men, and God will add unto us all the gold and silver and possessions and everything that may be good for us to receive. I was going to say, perhaps more than would be good for us. But all these things shall be added, for no man that forsakes father and mother, houses and lands, wives and children for God and his kingdom, but what shall receive in this world a hundred fold, and in the world to come life everlasting. This was true anciently, it is true to-day. This being the case, we ought to foster education and intelligence of every kind; cultivate literary tastes, and men of literary and scientific talent should improve that talent and all should magnify the gifts which God has given unto them. Educate your children, and seek for those to teach them who have faith in God and in his promises, as well as intelligence. I was talking with Bro. Maeser, who is principal of the Brigham Young Academy, in Provo. I saw the students go through their various exercises in the several classes, and I was congratulating him upon the success, when he remarked--"There is one thing, Pres. Taylor, I will guarantee, that is, that no infidels will go from my school." He would teach them the Gospel, and inculcate its principles, which are so far advanced of infidelity, that it would have to hide its hoary head in shame before the light, glory, and intelligence that comes from God, and that exist in all his works, and that fools do not comprehend. I am pleased to know that Pres. Young made arrangements before his death for the endowment of a college in this neighborhood, and the brethren acting as trustees in the matter are feeling interested, and are taking steps for the accomplishment of that object. And that object is, as I understand it, to afford our own children greater facilities to become learned, and that they also have the privilege to learn trades, and agriculture, and horticulture, and become progressive, intellectual and informed in regard to all these things, and that they may comprehend the earth on which we stand, the materials of which it is composed, and the elements with which we are surrounded. And then, by having faith in God, we might stand as far above the nations in regard to the arts and sciences, politics, and every species of intelligence, as we now do in regard to religious matters. This is what we are aiming at; and if there is anything good and praiseworthy in morals, religion, science, or anything calculated to exalt and ennoble man, we are after it. But with all our getting, we want to get understanding, and that understanding which flows from God. (JD 20:47-48 [August 4, 1878])
We have committed to our care pearls of great price; we have become the fathers and mothers of lives, and the Gods and the Holy Priesthood in the eternal worlds have been watching us and our movements in relation to these things. We do not want a posterity to grow up that will be ignorant, depraved, corrupt, and fallen, that will depart from every principle of right; but one that will be intelligent and wise, possessing literary and scientific attainments, and a knowledge of everything that is good, praiseworthy, intellectual and beneficial in the world, and become acquainted with the earth on which we stand, and the elements of which it is composed, and by which we are surrounded, and know how to control them and manage them, and how to put to the best use everything that comes within our reach. And above all other things, teach our children the fear of God. (JD 20:60, 1878)
Let our teachers be men of God, imbued with the Spirit of God that they may lead them forth in the paths of life, and warn them against the various evils and iniquities that prevail in the world, that they may bear off this kingdom when we get through, and be valiant in the truths of God. Teach them how to approach God, that they may call upon him and he will hear them, and by their means we will build up and establish Zion, and roll forth that kingdom which God has designed shall rule and reign over the nations of the earth. We want to prepare them for these things; and to study from the best books as well as by faith, and become acquainted with the laws of nations, and of kingdoms and governments, and with everything calculated to exalt, ennoble, and dignify the human family. We should build good commodious school-houses, and furnish them well; and then secure the services of the best teachers you can, and thus "train up your children in the way they should go." Solomon said, if you do, "when they are old they will not depart from it." (JD 20:60)
The world is opposed to us. They say they are not. Well, would you injure them? No; I would not hurt a hair of their heads or deprive them of any right they enjoy, either religious or political. We want to treat all men kindly and with due respect; but we do not want to be governed by their religious views, nor put our children under their teachings. We want to look after the education of our children and see that they are placed under proper teachers and receive proper training, and not be placed in the hands of the enemies of the Church and kingdom of God.
Now brethren if we are Latter-day Saints, let us be consistent with our belief and profession. I profess to be a Latter-day Saint, and I believe in the doctrines that the Lord has revealed to us with all my heart; and I do not care who knows it. Now I am told in the revelations to bring up my children in the fear of God. I believe that this kingdom which the Lord has set up will grow and increase until the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ. And this you believe as well as I do. We believe in celestial glory; and we believe in terrestrial and telestial glory; or in other words, we believe there will be a separation finally of the good from the bad. Now we are engaged in gathering together, or separating ourselves from the world and building our temples and administering in them for the living and the dead, and we spend millions of dollars in the accomplishment of this object, that we may become united and linked together by eternal covenants that shall exist in all time and throughout eternity. And then when we have done all this go and deliberately turn our children over to whom? To men who do not believe the Gospel, to men who, according to your faith, are never going to the celestial kingdom of God. They will get as big a glory as they are prepared for, but they are not going there. And you will turn your children over to them. And you call yourselves Latter-day Saints, do you? I will suppose a case. You expect to be saved in the celestial kingdom of God. Well, supposing your expectations are realized, which I sometimes doubt, and you look down, down somewhere in a terrestrial or telestial kingdom, as the case may be, and you there see your children, the offspring that God had given you to train up in his fear, to honor him and keep his commandments, and perceive that between you and them there is a great gulf, as represented by the Savior in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. And supposing they could converse with you--which, however, they could not do--but if such were the case, what would be their feelings towards you? It would be, Father, Mother, you are to blame for this. I would have been with you if you had not tampered with the principles of life and salvation in permitting me to be decoyed away by false teachers, who taught incorrect principles. And this is the result of it. But then I very much doubt in my mind the capability of such people getting there. (JD 20:107-108, 1878)
And then we want to study also the principles, and to get the very best teachers we can to teach our children; see that they are men and women who fear God and keep his commandments. We do not want men or women to teach the children of Latter-day Saints who are not Latter-day Saints themselves. Hear it you Elders of Israel, and you school-trustees! We want none of these things. Let others who fear not God take their course; but it is for us to train our children up in the fear of God. God will hold us responsible for this trust. Hear it, you Elders of Israel and you fathers and you mothers! Talking about education, as I said before, Joseph Smith knew more in regard to true education than all the philosophers and scientists of the earth; and he knew it by the revelations of God. (JD 20:179)
What scientist philosopher, or divine can unravel to us many of these mysterious principles which we see everyday exhibited before us? It is very difficult for man to comprehend, and nothing, as I said before, but the Spirit which organized the creations of God can reveal those principles and give us a knowledge of that fitness of things as they exist in the mind of the Creator, of our relationship to God and to each other and the world in which we exist and the worlds that are to come. Nothing but superhuman intelligence, even the inspiration of the Almighty, can reveal these things. We have ten thousand ideas, notions and feelings; the world is full of every kind of theory in relation to these matters. But what does it amount to? We may theorize as much as we please, but unless we receive some communication from the beings possessing intelligence superior to anything mortal, that are associated with these vast creations and know something of their origin and object, what can we know? We need communication with and revelation from God enlightening us thereon, or we shall still be in the dark and know nothing concerning the future and many things of the present and past. (JD 20:221)
We do not want outside folks to teach our children, do we? I think no. We do not want them to teach us how to get to heaven, do we? If we did, it would be of no use, for they do not know the way. Well, then, we do not want them to tamper with the minds of our little ones. You will see the day that Zion will be as far ahead of the outside world in everything pertaining to learning of every kind as we are today in regard to religious matters. You mark my words, and write them down, and see if they do not come to pass. We are not dependent upon them, but we are upon the Lord. We did not get our priesthood nor our information in regard to his law from them; it came from God. The world profess to know a little about what they call science, literature and the arts. Where did they get their knowledge of these things from? And what is it they really do know? They know something about the laws of Nature. Who made those laws? God made them; and it is by his almighty power that they are governed. (JD 21:100)
Whatever you do, be choice in your selection of teachers. We do not want infidels to mold the minds of our children. They are a precious charge bestowed upon us by the Lord, and we cannot be too careful in rearing and training them. I would rather have my children taught the simple rudiments of a common education by men of God, and have them under their influence, then have them taught in the most abstruse sciences by men who have not the fear of God in their hearts . . We need to pay more attention to educational matters, and do all that we can to procure the services of competent teachers. Some people say, we cannot afford to pay them. You cannot afford not to pay them; you cannot afford not to employ them. We want our children to grow up intelligently, and to walk abreast with the people of any nation. God expects us to do it; and therefore I call attention to this matter. I have heard intelligent, practical men say, it is quite as cheap to keep a good horse as a poor one, or to raise good stock as inferior animals. And is it not quite as cheap to raise good intelligent children as to rear children in ignorance? (JD 24:168-169)
[The Latter-day Saint] grasps at all truths, human and divine. He has no darling dogma to sustain or favorite creed to uphold. He has nothing to lose but error, and nothing to gain but truth. He digs, labors, and searches for it as for hidden treasure; and while others are content with chaff and husks of straw, he seizes on the kernel, substance, the gist of all that's good, and clings to all that will ennoble and exalt the human family. (p. 2)
Is there a true principle of science in the world? It is ours. Are there true principles of music, of mechanism, or of philosophy? If there are, they are all ours. Is there a true principle of government that exists in the world anywhere? It is ours, it is God's; for every good and perfect gift that does exist in the world among men proceeds from the "Father of lights with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." It is God that has given every good gift that the world ever did possess. He is the giver of all good principles, principles of law, of government, and of everything else, and he is now gathering them together into one place, and withdrawing them from the world, and hence the misery and darkness that begin to prevail among the nations; and hence the light, life, and intelligence that begin to manifest themselves among us. --JD, 10:57, May 18, 1862. ( p. 5)
Now, then, if men, without much of the advantage of what is termed education in this world are filled with the Spirit of God, the revelations of the Holy Ghost, and can comprehend the relationship of man to God, can know their duties, and can teach a people, a nation, or a world how they may be saved and obtain thrones, principalities, powers, and dominions in the eternal worlds -- if men can understand these principles by the gift of the Holy Ghost and the revelations of the Most High, and are enabled to place them before the people so that they can comprehend them, then, I say, these are the men of education -- the men of intellect -- the men who are calculated to bless and ennoble the human family. This is the kind of education that we want and the more simple those principles can be conveyed the better. They are more adapted to the wants and intelligence of the human family. . . Do you repudiate education, then? No -- not at all. I appreciate all true intelligence, whether moral, social, scientific, political, or philosophical. But I despise the folly that they hang on to it, and the folly that they call education. (pp. 270-271)
We ought to foster education and intelligence of every kind; cultivate literary tastes, and men of literary and scientific talent should improve that talent; and all should magnify the gifts which God has given unto them. Educate your children, and seek for those to teach them who have faith in God and in his promises, as well as intelligence. If there is anything good and praiseworthy in morals, religion, science, or anything calculated to exalt and ennoble man, we are after it. But with all our getting, we want to get understanding, and that understanding which flows from God. (p. 277)
There are many hours that both parents and children squander away that might be spent in learning. . . . The Lord will not do a miracle to give us learning when we can get it ourselves. Some have an idea that [there] is no matter about getting knowledge here, thinking that by and by that they will enter heaven and that God will fill their minds with all the knowledge of the eternal worlds. But they will be mistaken in this for they will have to learn it little by little as here. (WWJ 3:78.)
It would be better for us not to be able to cast up a single sum in addition and be humble before the Lord than to have ever so much knowledge and permit that knowledge to lead us to destruction. (WWJ 5:428.)
If any man has a truth that we have not, we say, "Let us have it." I am willing to exchange all the errors and false notions for one truth, and should consider that I had made a good bargain. We are not afraid of light and truth. Our religion embraces every truth in heaven, earth or hell; it embraces all truth. (p. 17)
You are now laying a foundation in the bloom and beauty of youth and in the morning of your days to step forth upon the stage of life to act a conspicuous part in the midst of the most important dispensation and generation in which man has ever lived. And I can say in truth and safety that the result of your future lives, the influence which you will exert among man, and finally your eternal destiny for time and eternity, will in a great measure depend upon the foundation which you lay in the days of your youth, the manner in which you store your mind and cultivate while young.
Therefore neither you nor your parents can be too careful to see that your young and fruitful minds are fed and stored with good principles. You want to learn that which is true--when you learn anything about God, Jesus Christ, the angels, the Holy Ghost, the gospel, the way to be saved, your duty to your parents, brethren, sisters, or to any of your fellow men, or any history, art or science, I say when you learn any of those things you want to learn that which is true, so that when you get those things riveted in your mind and planted in your heart, and you trust to it in future life and lean upon it for support, that it may not fail you like a broken reed. (pp. 265, 266)
Do not be discouraged because you cannot learn all at once; learn one thing at a time, learn it well, and treasure it up, then learn another truth and treasure that up, and in a few years you will have a great store of useful knowledge which will not only be a great blessing to yourselves and your children, but to your fellow men. (JH 2, May 1, 1857, p. 269)
As man now is, God once was; As God now is, man may be. . . . Now, how is it that God proposes to confer this mighty honor upon us and to raise us to this condition of glory and exaltation? Who are we that God should do all this for us? Why, we are just beginning to find out that we are the offspring of God, born with the same faculties and powers as He possesses, capable of enlargement through the experience that we are now passing through in our second estate. Let me illustrate. Here is an emperor sitting upon his throne, governing and controlling his empire wisely and properly. He has an infant son that sits upon the knee of its mother. That son he proposes to one day set upon his throne, to govern and control his empire. Here is that infant, perfectly helpless, not knowing how to sustain its own life, not able to walk alone, without any knowledge; and here is this mighty emperor sitting upon his throne and governing his vast empire. Who would believe that he could raise that infant up to such a condition as to make it suitable to be placed on his throne? No one would, unless he had seen such things accomplished in his experience; seen the infant develop into boyhood, and then to manhood, possessing all the powers, faculties and possibilities of its father. Now, we are the sons and daughters of God. He has begotten us in His own image. He has given us faculties and powers that are capable of enlargement until His fulness is reached which He has promised -- until we shall sit upon thrones, governing and controlling our posterity from eternity to eternity, and increasing eternally. That is the fact in regard to these matters. (pp. 2-3)
The whole idea of Mormonism is improvement -- mentally, physically, morally, and spiritually. No half-way education suffices for the Latter-day Saint. He holds with Herbert Spencer that the function of education is to "prepare man for complete living," but he also maintains that "complete living" should be interpreted "life here and hereafter." Joseph Smith declared that the glory of God is intelligence, that a man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, and that whatever principles of intelligence he attains to in this life, they will rise with him in the resurrection, giving him the advantage over ignorance and evil in the world to come. He taught that man by constantly progressing may eventually develop into a divine being, like unto his Father in Heaven. (p. 27)
In pursuing any kind of study, a man has to continue to work, and after going through one course, he has to go through again, and keep at work in order to make himself master of them, and he never will master them near so well as by communicating his information while engaged in gaining it. Let him go to work and gather up his friends, and endeavor to give them the same knowledge that he has received, and he then begins to find himself being enlightened upon those things which he never would have known unless by pursuing that course of teaching, and imparting the information he is in possession of unto others. Anyone that has been a schoolteacher will understand me well upon this point. (p. 30)
What did we come here for? We came to build up Zion, not to build up Babylon. The voice of the Almighty called us out from the midst of confusion, which is Babylon, to form a union and a lovely brotherhood, in which we should love one another as we love ourselves. When we depart from this purpose, the Spirit of God withdraws from us to the extent of that departure. But if we continue in the extent of those covenants which we made when we received the gospel, there is a corresponding increase of light and intelligence, and there is a powerful preparation for that which is to come. And because of our faithfulness and our adherence to the covenants we have made, the foundation upon which we stand becomes like the pillars of heaven -- immovable. (p. 179)
The welfare of humanity should be studied instead of the enrichment of a race or the extension of an empire. Every unfoldment of the nineteenth century in science, in art, in mechanism, in music, in literature, in poetic fancy, in philosophical thought, was prompted by His Spirit which before long will be poured out upon all flesh that will receive it. (p. 1, 3)
Our danger lies not in falsehoods from the outside, but in evil and impure actions and indifference from the inside. These are the things which we need to fear.
There are at least three dangers that threaten the Church within, and the authorities need to awake to the fact that the people should be warned unceasingly against them. As I see these, they are the flattery of prominent men in the world, false educational ideas, and sexual impurity. ("Three Threatening Dangers." Improvement Era 17:5, March 1914, pp. 476-477)
Knowledge of truth, combined with proper regard for it, and its faithful observance, constitutes true education. The mere stuffing of the mind with a knowledge of facts is not education. The mind must not only possess a knowledge of truth, but the soul must revere it, cherish it, love it as a priceless gem; and this human life must be guided and shaped by it in order to fulfill its destiny. The mind should not only be charged with intelligence, but the soul should be filled with admiration and desire for pure intelligence which comes of a knowledge of the truth. The truth can only make him free who hath it, and will continue in it. And the word of God is truth, and it will endure forever. (Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith, p. 269)
Everyone should learn something new everyday. You all have inquiring minds and are seeking truth in many fields. I sincerely hope your greatest search is in the realm of spiritual things, because it is there that we are able to gain salvation and make the progress that leads to eternal life in our Father's kingdom. The most important knowledge in the world is gospel knowledge. It is knowledge of God and his law, of those things that men must do to work out their salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord. (Ensign, May 1971, pp.
I would urge upon the young men to do nothing for show, but to do their best to obtain knowledge and then strive to put the knowledge obtained to practical use. I am acquainted with some people who are regular encyclopedias of knowledge, but so far as their knowledge being utilized for the benefitting of their fellow men, they might just as well not possess it or be deaf, dumb, and blind; this is all wrong. [In Daniel H. Ludlow (ed.) Latter-day Prophets Speak. (Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1951), p. 402]
I remember speaking, upon one occasion, in one of our great Church schools. I said that I hoped it would never be forgotten that the one and only reason why there was any necessity for a Church school was to make Latter-day Saints. If it were only for the purpose of gaining secular knowledge or improving in art, literature, science, and invention, so far as our information was concerned, and adding to it on these subjects, that there was no need of Church schools, because we could gain these things from our secular schools supported by the taxation of the people; and that we had an abundance of uses for all the means that the Church possesses, all the tithing that might come into our hands, without expending vast sums of money upon Church schools. But if we kept in our minds the one central thing, namely, the making of Latter-day Saints in our schools, then they would be fulfilling the object of their existence. The amount of money expended would cut no figure at all, because we cannot value in dollars and cents the saving of a single soul. (Era, 24:866-867, p. 165)
Unless the heart of a man is right, unless a man is determined to do good, unless he believes in God and in Jesus Christ, and believes in the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith, he cannot accomplish what he might achieve in this Church if he had that knowledge. It is to implant that knowledge in the hearts of the people that we have a school system, and if the Church school system fails to do this, it will not have accomplished the thing for which it was organized, that which is expected of it, and which we all hope and pray for it to do. (Era, 26:1091, p. 165)
Unless these schools had been established, I believe that some of the strongest, best, and most noble workers in the Church of Christ would not be such noble workers, would not have their faith, would have gone away for their education without a love of God in their hearts, and would not today be numbered in the membership of the Church. I believe that as a cold-blooded business proposition, we should try to discern and find out the spirit of men and women teaching in these schools, to see to it that we haven't somebody teaching there just because there is as good a salary as he could get somewhere else or because he can do better financially; and who pays his tithing simply because he is working in the Church school system as I know some have done, for the day they got another job they discontinued paying their tithing. When we can get rid of every teacher who has not the love of God and the love of Jesus Christ and the love of this work and of implanting in the hearts of the children the testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and have only those who are determined to make Latter-day Saints, then this school system will grow more rapidly than it has in the past, and the specific object for which it was created will be more rapidly attained. (Era, 26:1093, p. 167)
Faith and knowledge without practice are of no value. All the knowledge in the world would not amount to anything unless we put that knowledge into actual practice. We are the architects and builders of our lives, and if we fail to put our knowledge into actual practice and do the duties that devolve upon us we are making a failure of life. (CR April, 1939:18, p. 185)
Why was this school established? Why weren't we satisfied with the other schools all over the country? Because there was something more than to teach reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography to one generation after another. These are all important but they will not prepare us for a place in the celestial kingdom. ["Brigham Young University Leadership Week Address." Brigham Young University, March 7, 1948. (Provo, Utah: Adult Education and Extension Services), p. 4]
I want to say that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts all that is true in the world from whatever source it may come, with the knowledge that it originated with the greatest of all scientists, our Father in Heaven.
And so I congratulate the students of this great institution [BYU] to think that you have all advantages that the people of the world have, plus the advantages of faith in God, a belief in the power of our Heavenly Father and His inspiration.
So, I congratulate you, my brothers and sisters, and congratulate you with all the thousands who are yet to come to avail themselves of this great institution and what it offers. In no other place in the world can you get the training you can get here, and I would like to emphasize again that all the world has in the way of refinement, culture and education, a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may enjoy without losing faith. In addition to that we have the plus that the world does not have. This is faith in God and in the inspiration of the Almighty. ["Address at Groundbreaking of Physical Science Building." Brigham Young University. Provo, Utah, May 11, 1948, pp. 2, 45-5]
As a child, thirteen years of age, I went to school at the Brigham Young Academy. It was fortunate that part of my instruction came under Dr. Karl G. Maeser, that outstanding educator who was the first builder of our Church schools. I cannot remember much of what was said during the year that I was there, but there is one thing that I will probably never forget. I have repeated it many times; I think I have told it in this building. Dr. Maeser one day stood up and said:
Not only will you be held accountable for the things you do, but you will be held responsible for the very thoughts you think.
Being a boy, not in the habit of controlling my thoughts very much, it was quite a puzzle to me what I was to do, and it worried me. In fact, it stuck to me just like a burr. About a week or ten days after that it suddenly came to me what he meant. I could see the philosophy of it then. All at once there came to me this interpretation of what he had said: Why of course you will be held accountable for your thoughts, because when your life is completed in mortality, it will be the sum of your thoughts. That one suggestion has been a great blessing to me all my life, and it has enabled me upon many occasions to avoid thinking improperly, because I realize that I will be, when my life's labor is complete, the product of my thoughts. [Church Section, Deseret News, February 16, 1946.] (George Albert Smith, Sharing the Gospel With Others, pp. 62-63)