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Cultivating A Desire to Learn

"Wanting to learn something is usually necessary to accessing God's help"

Father and Daughter
Have you ever wondered why education is so important to God? The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Our Creator expects His children everywhere to gain an education as a personal endeavor… When you leave this frail existence, your material possessions will remain here, but the Lord has declared that the knowledge you acquire here will rise with you in the resurrection (D&C 130:18-19).” 1
1 Russell M. Nelson, “Education: A Religious Responsibility,” (BYU-Idaho Devotional, Winter 2010)

Do you wonder what to study or what is most valuable to learn?

All learning is valuable and our Heavenly Father wants us to learn as much as we can, “things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth, things that have been, things which are… things which are at home, things which are abroad… that [we] may be prepared in all things… to magnify the calling whereunto [He has] called [us].” 2

Heavenly Father has a plan and a calling for each one of us; He wants us to become like Him (See also Moses 1:39). To do that, we need to continue to learn and progress. During our life on earth, He asks us to serve each other to our fullest potential. That could mean fulfilling our role as a father or mother, developing and using our talents, or enhancing our communities through our occupations. Whatever it is that we want to do, we can achieve our potential as we learn as much as we can and serve Heavenly Father and the people around us.

Cultivating a desire to learn

For many students, family responsibilities or job improvement is their motivation to pursue higher education. Both of these are worthy and honorable endeavors, but education can provide so much more — it is a spiritual endeavor.

President Russell M. Nelson said, “Your mind is precious! It is sacred. Therefore, the education of one’s mind is also sacred. Indeed, education is a religious responsibility. Of course, our opportunities and abilities will vary a great deal. But, in pursuit of one’s education, individual desire is more important than is the institution you choose; personal drive is far more significant than is the faculty.” 3

Imagine how different your experience through higher education could be if you felt a purpose beyond the pressure. If you don’t currently feel that your education is expanding your mind and bringing you joy, you can apply this challenge in your life: cultivate a desire to learn!

Cultivate Tree

To cultivate means to prepare the land for growth or to try to acquire or develop a quality or skill. 4 Similarly, we can cultivate a desire to learn by preparing our minds for growth and creating an environment for learning.“[The Lord] granteth unto men according to their desire.” 5
5 See Alma 29:4
Brian Ashton, vice president of field operations at BYU-Pathway Worldwide, explained in his devotional that, “wanting to learn something is usually necessary to access God’s help.”
Alma explained to us that when we plant a seed of desire, it will grow and enlarge our souls, enlighten our understanding, and become delicious to us. “[I]f ye can do no more than desire to [learn], let this desire work in you…” 6
Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “The enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do and be good and to serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity.” 7
7 David A. Bednar, “The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality,” Liahona, Apr. 2012, 42–43
Cultivating a desire to learn requires us to rely on the grace of our Savior. His grace can help us to be more and do more than we can on our own.

Finding joy in learning

Learning is an eternal journey that can be enlightening, empowering, and ennobling. Finding joy in the journey, as bumpy as the path may be, is what God intends for each of us. In fact, the Lord told us that “men are that they might have joy.” 8 Our learning can be so much more than a means to making more money, as important as money can be, learning can boost confidence and open doors to great experiences in life.

Do your best to be very involved in your courses, and class groups, and see how everything you’re experiencing applies to your eternal progression. Even though education requires hard work and dedication, focusing on blessings and opportunities and expressing gratitude to Heavenly Father help us to embrace the joy of learning.

How are you cultivating a joy in learning?