I never enjoyed scripture study as a boy. I only read to go through the motions and to avoid trouble. Reading or writing was never a strong suit of mine. I graduated from high school with less than a 2.5 GPA, and elementary was much worse. As I lined up to march in for high school graduation I asked a friend where I could get a yellow chord like he had draped from his neck. He said that I was too dumb to have one. I thought he was kidding, until he said, “seriously… this is only for honors students.” I decided then to start all over again in college to prove myself smart. I took remedial classes that reached back to seventh grade math and english (I still suffer from english). It took me eleven years and 240 credit hours to graduate with a bachelors of science degree. People with 240 credits are usually masters or PhD graduates. It wasn’t until I was 28 years old before I actually read through one whole book, by choice. It wasn’t until I was 33 years old that I began a serious study of the Book of Mormon. I served a mission and understood the basic story line, but it wasn’t until I gave the Book of Mormon a serious look that I valued the scriptures. I am now 40 years old and have seriously studied the scriptures for almost seven years. Not one day goes by that I don’t contemplate the words of Christ in the scriptures because I love my God. I love to talk of Christ and rejoice in Christ, but when I do, …those around me fear conversing with me. They feel like I judge them and look down on them. They continually remind me that not everyone is at my level. They tell me that not everyone has the gift to know the scriptures like you do. I write this blog so that these false ideas can be put to rest.
Obtaining a college degree is completely different from obtaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon. The big difference is in who does the teaching. In college, professors do the teaching (man or the arm of flesh). In the Book of Mormon it is the spirit that teaches. When the spirit teaches and your heart is as a little child (not whining, but always seeking to know Gods mind and will), the Holy Ghost can teach you “…all things whatsoever I have said unto you. And by the power of the Holy Ghost you can know the truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:4-5).
God’s method of learning, learning by faith, is the best and most efficient way of learning. For Joseph Smith learning by faith allowed him to gaze into heavens for five minutes and know more about the subject of the heavens than any book ever written on the subject. Now that’s efficient education- five minutes! Learning by faith also provides strength in the midst of the storm and acts as an anchor, or is considered to be like building a house upon a rock and standing firm. The last seven years have had a greater positive impact on my life than all the education obtained in the first 3/4 of my life.
Those who believe that it takes an education to understand the scriptures are absolutely wrong. It only takes someone who is serious and who has an open heart to be taught because it’s the Holy Ghost that does the heavy lifting, through revelation. When approached in that attitude, even a simple man, without any formal degree from college or high school, can know more about the gospel than most bishops and stake presidents, in a very short time. You will be surprised to find how much people really know… or don’t know. Fear causes us to justify our sins and put up a front so others can’t see how ignorant we really are. I love simple people who are real. You just… know them.
“27. And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness…”
Remember that when men come to God, He’ll show you your weakness first. It isn’t until later that he makes weak things strong. When we trust in God we begin the process of learning by faith. This promise is to all- bond and free, male and female, rich and poor, and I might add …formally educated or uneducated. All we do is give God our heart and mind and let him turn us into the Lion amongst the beasts of the forest.
Forget about levels, open the book, consider the mind and will of God, try to mimc these principles in your life and wait for God to show up. He will. He always does. Do not fear. He can make more of you than you can.