Learning by the Spirit

March 26, 2014

Writer: Kelsey Petersen

"The gift of the Holy Ghost helps us to understand Heavenly Father’s will, receive inspiration, make difficult choices, feel comforted, and even understand difficult concepts that we come across in our studies."

When Joseph Smith was unsure which church to join, he read in James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."[1]  After he contemplated that scripture, the young man gave a heartfelt prayer that led to one of the most significant revelations in the history of the world-a message from the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Because Joseph Smith acted in faith and followed a prompting when he was faced with a tough decision, the Restoration of the gospel was brought to pass.

The gift of the Holy Ghost helps us to understand Heavenly Father's will, receive inspiration, make difficult choices, feel comforted, and even understand difficult concepts that we come across in our studies. In order to be as successful as possible in our academic endeavors, we need the constant companionship of the Spirit. We must live our lives in accordance with the laws of the gospel so that we can be in tune with any promptings that the Spirit gives us.

We are faced with new challenges and important decisions on a daily basis. Whether in a classroom setting, during a political debate, or on your knees in fervent prayer-discerning truth can be difficult. Allowing the Spirit to teach us can help increase our understanding in every aspect of life.  In a devotional in 2007 President Kim B. Clark said, "The Holy Ghost can bring us gifts of knowledge, insight, understanding, testimony, enlightenment, and guidance.  As Moroni proclaimed, 'By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.'"

Dedicating our lives to the Lord and inviting the Holy Ghost to teach us ensures that we will not be left without his help. Just as Joseph Smith was able to turn to the Lord when he felt uncertain about which path to take, we also will receive answers when we ask with a sincere and open heart.

The scriptures teach us that we are to "seek learning, even by study and also by faith."[2]  Although incorporating gospel principles into math and writing classes may not seem possible, Pathway students from around the world are finding that their Pathway experience gives them the opportunity to include learning by the Spirit into their secular knowledge.

Pathway student Jamie Sprouse says that she has been able to feel the Lord's presence as she has participated in Pathway. She says, "I just love learning by the Spirit during my classes. You can feel the Lord all around you in your school work and development."

Beverly Francis has found that learning by the Spirit can give us the confidence that we need to be successful.  She says, "I love that I've been able to feel the Spirit as I'm going to school. It's comforting; it has taught me that with the Lord's help, I can do this."

Promptings are usually subtle and quiet. Being taught by the Spirit requires us to be willing to listen and accept promptings as they come. It's important to eliminate the noise and to evaluate the activities we are involved in. Do the things that take up our time bring us closer or further from the Lord? When we make time for the Lord our hearts and minds will be opened to secular and spiritual knowledge, both of which are necessary to become like our Father in Heaven.

As we seek to learn by faith by opening our hearts to promptings from the Spirit, we will be able to do more than we ever could alone. President Clark says, "I believe the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit behave like light.  When individuals who act with the Spirit or use the gifts of the Spirit gather together and work together, the effects of the Spirit are magnified." Following the guidance of the Holy Ghost fills us with a light that enables us to reach out to others.

Remaining faithful and seeking spiritual guidance can open the door to remarkable truths. Just remember, the most significant revelation of our time was given to a 14-year-old boy with a question and a willing heart.

[1] James 1:5

[2] Doctrine and Covenants 109:7