Increase in learning: spiritual patterns for obtaining your own answers

by David Bednar

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Chapter 1 permalink

We are give the opportunity to have the Spirit as a constant companion! To take advantage, we need to sincerely desire it, invite it through action, and be worthy of it through obedience.

Chapter 2 permalink

Knowledge is the accumulation of facts.

Understanding comes when we apply our hearts to knowledge, which lets the Holy Ghost testify to us of the truthfulness of it. Understanding comes by revelation.

Intelligence is the righteous application of knowledge and understanding in action and judgment.” Knowledge is gained by diligent study, and intelligence is gained by faithful obedience. (See D&C 130:18-19; 88:118.) This means that when we say God is the most intelligent being, we are not praising His education but His righteous application of knowledge.

Truth is something we do, according to John 3:19-21, Mosiah 4:10, and 3 Nephi 27:20-22. This agrees with something I’ve previously thought: that what matters most is not what truth I know but what good I do.

We are converted as we immerse ourselves in observing our covenants, feasting on the words of Christ, praying, and serving God. As we do this, over time we develop “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). “This mighty change is not simply the result of working harder or developing greater individual discipline. Rather, it is the consequence of a fundamental change in our desires, our motives, and our natures made possible through the Atonement of Christ the Lord,” (page 89).

This isn’t just a change that removes the negative from us; it also adds the positive! No matter how great my desire to change, I cannot make myself any better without the external influence of the Savior’s Atonement.

Chapter 3 permalink

How to ask, seek and knock well:

  • pray in faith, meaning pray and then act in accordance with what you pray for
  • pray and act persistently and patiently
  • look for and accept the will of God

I think the best way to submit my will to God’s depends on the circumstance. For example, if I’m praying to know where to take my career, I need to mold my career desires to be in line with what He wants to happen in that arena.

These are the ways to use the scriptures that Elder Bednar defined:

  • reading from beginning to end
  • studying by topic
  • searching
    • for connections, e.g. the connection between “heart” and “understanding”
    • for patterns, e.g. the pattern of the Lord providing revelation only for what’s important (D&C 62:7-9)
    • for themes, e.g. the purposes of gathering, the types and places of gathering, and the blessings of gathering

Elder Bednar promised that studying the scriptures can even be exciting.

Chapter 4 permalink

Doctrines answer the question of “Why?”. Principles answer the question of “What?”. Applications answer the question of “How?”.

All three need to be studied in a balance, so that our collective spiritual actions are directed toward acting within the influence of the Spirit, with the context of the Plan of Salvation.

When I have the opportunity to teach, I want to focus on inspiring people to have their own internal conversations. The idea of inviting everyone to write their thoughts on a notecard appeals to me because it invites people to think, allowing the Spirit to teach them. I can design questions that focus on doctrine, principles, or applications. Instead of asking myself what I need to teach people to do, I can ask: “What doctrines and principles, if understood, would change the attitudes and behaviors of [those I teach]?” (pg. 168).

From “Things as They Really Are”, a BYUI devotional given by Elder Bednar: “Obedience opens the door to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. And the spiritual gifts and abilities activated by the power of the Holy Ghost enable us to avoid deception—and to see, to feel, to know, to understand, and to remember things as they really are.”