Thursday, October 25, 2012

Royal Jelly Academy

The Prophet Joseph Smith declared: "The first principles of man are self-existent with God. God found himself in the midst of spirits and glory, and because he was greater, he saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have the privilege of advancing like himself--that they might have one glory upon another and all the knowledge, power, and glory necessary to save the world of spirits. I know that when I tell you these words of eternal life that are given to me, you taste them, and I know you believe them. You say honey is sweet, and so do I. I can also taste the spirit of eternal life; I know it is good. And when I tell you of these things that were given me by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you are bound to receive them as sweet, and I rejoice more and more." (Joseph Smith, King Follett Discourse)

The Prophet Joseph Smith also declared: "When things that are of the greatest importance are passed over by weak-minded men without even a thought, I want to see truth in all its bearings and hug it to my bosom." (Joseph Smith's Sermon on Plurality of Gods, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 473-9)

Since truth is sweeter than honey, and should not be passed over without even a thought, perhaps it may be compared to royal jelly.  Bees produce honey, but worker bees also produce royal jelly, a substance that is fed to the queen bee throughout her development.  This royal jelly is a sweet and tart substance that may be harvested from the queen honeycomb cells, and it contains nutritive properties that are reported to stimulate brain cell development.

On another occasion, the Prophet Joseph Smith stated: "We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up..." (TPJS, p. 316)  These declarations, together with the example of honey bees (see also Be Anxiously Engaged), have inspired the creation of Royal Jelly Academy.  In connection with my blog, The Good Report, the Royal Jelly Academy is an informal organization with the express purpose to glorify God and seek out sweet truths (from books, plays, articles, film, music, art, or any other source), things that are virtuous, lovely of good report or praiseworthy, and distill them into the honeycombs of our hearts and hives of our souls so that we may in turn share them with others.  Like worker bees in fields of nectar-laden flowers, let us gather the sweet honey of goodness and the royal jelly of truth into the Royal Jelly Academy repository.

But this is just the beginning.  Joseph Smith taught that, "[Learning the] truth, combined with proper regard for it, and its faithful observance, constitutes true education.  The mere stuffing of the mind with a knowledge of facts is not education.  The mind must not only possess a knowledge of truth, but the soul must revere it, cherish it, love it as a priceless gem; and this human life must be guided and shaped by it in order to fulfill its destiny" (Joseph Smith, "Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith", 269)

Why should we be anxiously engaged in the pursuit of truth?  One of the greatest blessings that comes as a result of seeking and applying truth is that we become free. (John 8:32)  We ourselves are freed, and truth also frees us from the false ideologies of the world, as President Spencer W. Kimball explained: "We continue to resist false fashions in education, staying with those basic principles that have proved right and have guided good men and women and good universities over the centuries." (The Second Century of Brigham Young University)

Royal Jelly Academy invites anyone and everyone who is interested to participate by 1. seeking out and sharing morsels of truth from a chosen area or activity 2. summarizing, sharing sources or links, and commenting on the chosen area or activity (submissions will also be organized into categories), and 3. contributing to discussions on selected topics and ideas, whether in an online forum or during Royal Jelly Academy meetings.  This is "honey, without money and without price". (2 Ne. 26:25)   

For example, if a Royal Jelly Academy participant attends a Shakespearean Festival, said participant might write a paragraph or two on one of the plays, share a link to the webpage for the Shakespearean Festival, and then initiate a discussion online or during a club meeting.  Another participant might discover a beautiful Chinese musical composition and report on it, providing the source information.  Someone else might have just finished reading an inspiring book, after which he or she would simply submit a review of the book with possible topics for discussion.  Be creative.  Original work is also welcome.  There is no limit to truth, no end to virtue. And it tastes so sweet!

The primary purpose of Royal Jelly Academy is to unite people in friendship around a common goal to discover truth, to love it, and to learn to live by it.  Ancillary goals might include providing an edifying and inspiring forum for friends and family to discuss ideas, as well as a resource for parents, students and teachers to contribute ideas and expertise in an area of research.  One need not be a scholar to participate.  The only requirements are a love of learning, a desire to grow in integrity, spirituality and intelligence, and willingness to share with others the truths that you discover.  Then, with so much honey and royal jelly all the bees, even the queen bees, will be jealous.