My dear young brothers and sisters, take advantage of every educational opportunity that you can possibly afford, and you fathers and mothers, encourage your [children] to gain an education which will bless their lives. ”
(“Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, June 1999, 4).
How We Should Learn (D&C 88:118)
By study and faith. Both are required in order to learn. Learning by faith is based on the premise that God knows all things and will reveal eternal truths to his children if they diligently seek them. Marion G. Romney said: “I believe in study. I believe that men learn much through study.... I also believe, however, and know, that learning by study is greatly accelerated by faith ” ( Learning for the Eternities, 72). Harold B. Lee said: “Learning by faith requires the bending of the whole soul through worthy living to become attuned to the Holy Spirit of the Lord ” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1971, 94).
Through consistent and diligent effort. There is a real difference between mere reading and a diligent, systematic study effort.
Out of the best books. The Lord wants us to read good literature. John Taylor said: “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.... 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 ” ( The Gospel Kingdom, 277).
Gordon B. Hinckley said:
“You know that your children will read. They will read books and they will read magazines and newspapers. Cultivate within them a taste for the best. While they are very young, read to them the great stories which have become immortal because of the virtues they teach. Expose them to good books. Let there be a corner somewhere in your house, be it ever so small, where they will see at least a few books of the kind upon which great minds have been nourished.
“Let there be good magazines about the house, those which are produced by the Church and by others, which will stimulate their thoughts to ennobling concepts. Let them read a good family newspaper that they may know what Is going on in the world without being exposed to the debasing advertising and writing so widely found ” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1975, 57–58).
Ezra Taft Benson said:
“Today, with the abundance of books available, it is the mark of a truly educated man to know what not to read.... Feed only on the best. As John Wesley's mother counseled him: 'Avoid whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritual things,... increases the authority of the body over the mind.' ” (“In His Steps,” in 1979 Devotional Speeches of the Year , 61).
D&C 88:122 How the gospel should be taught. Rather than lectures or sermons, gospel teaching should be collaborative—“that all may be edified of all.”
The School of the Prophets
Patterns of Preparation
D&C 88:119–120 “Establish a house.” This was fulfilled with the erection of the Kirtland Temple. These qualities, however, can also be applied to our present meetinghouses and even to our homes. John A. Widtsoe said: “The temple is a place of instruction. Here the principles of the gospel are reviewed and pro-found truths of the kingdom of God are unfolded. If we enter the temple in the right spirit and are attentive, we go out enriched in gospel knowledge and wisdom ” (“Looking toward the Temple,” Ensign, Jan. 1972, 56–57).
Boyd K. Packer said:
“The temple is a great school. It is a house of learning. In the temples the atmosphere is maintained so that it is ideal for instruction in matters that are deeply spiritual....
“The temple ceremony will not be fully understood at first experience. It will only be partly understood. Return again and again and again. Return to learn. Things that have troubled you or things that have been puzzling or things that have been mysterious will become known to you. Many of them will be the quiet, personal things that you really cannot explain to anyone else. But to you they are things known....
“So look toward the temple. Point your children toward the temple. From the days of their infancy, direct their attention to it, and begin their preparation for the day when they may enter the holy temple. In the meantime, be teachable yourself, be reverent. Drink deeply from the teachings—the symbolic, deeply spiritual teachings—available only in the temple ” ( The Holy Temple [pamphlet, 1982], 6–8).
Ezra Taft Benson asked: “Do we return to the temple often to receive the personal blessings that come from regular temple worship? Prayers are answered, revelation occurs, and instruction by the Spirit takes place in the holy temples of the Lord ” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 98; or Ensign, May 1988, 85).
D&C 88:121, 123–126 Personal preparation. The members of this school are instructed to prepare themselves mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for participation in these classes.
D&C 88:127–131 Teacher preparation. This advice applies to gospel teachers in all settings.
How the School of the Prophets Functioned
D&C 88:132–137 A specific greeting ritual and covenant was used in the original school.
The School of the Prophets was organized 22 January 1833, less than four weeks after section 88 had directed its establishment. In accordance with the instructions in this revelation, all who participated in the school were admitted by receiving the ordinance of the washing of feet, symbolizing their being clean from the sins of the world (D&C 88:74, 138–139; History of the Church, 1:323).
Setting for the School. According to Brigham Young, the school of the prophets met in a small room, about ten by fourteen feet, situated above Joseph Smith's kitchen at the back of Newel K. Whitney's store. (Journal of Discourses, 12:157).
Sessions began about sunrise and continued until about 4:00 M. Those attending were instructed to bathe, put on clean linen, and come to school fasting.
In this school, the leaders of the Church were instructed in gospel doctrine, the affairs of the Church, and other matters. They were to prepare for Church leadership and missionary service.
Significant spiritual manifestations blessed meetings of the School of the Prophets. The following occurred when the First presidency was organized during one of the school's sessions:
The Prophet Joseph Smith said:
“March 18.—Great joy and satisfaction continually beamed in the countenances of the School of the Prophets, and the Saints, on account of the things revealed, and our progress in the knowledge of God. The High Priests assembled in the school room of the Prophets, and were organized according to revelation....
“Elder Rigdon expressed a desire that himself and Brother Frederick G. Williams should be ordained to the offices to which they had been called, viz.