Thursday, October 24, 2013

True Doctrine

What is the difference between how the world works, and how the Lord works?

President Ezra Taft Benson taught: "The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature." (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pg. 79)

Similarly, Elder Boyd K. Packer taught: "True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior." (Little Children)

Then, what is true doctrine?

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.” (TPJS, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 121)

This truth is what Elder Boyd K. Packer has referred to as "the very root of Christian doctrine."  "You may know much about the gospel as it branches out from there," Elder Packer continued, "but if you only know the branches and those branches do not touch that root, if they have been cut free from that truth, there will be no life nor substance nor redemption in them."

The Lord himself taught: "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:5)

In a later revelation, the Lord taught his disciples:

"And again, I command thee that thou shalt pray vocally as well as in thy heart; yea, before the world as well as in secret, in public as well as in private.
And thou shalt declare glad tidings, yea, publish it upon the mountains, and upon every high place, and among every people that thou shalt be permitted to see.
And thou shalt do it with all humility, trusting in me, reviling not against revilers.
And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.
Behold, this is a great and the last commandment which I shall give unto you concerning this matter; for this shall suffice for thy daily walk, even unto the end of thy life."  (D&C 19:28-32)

Hyrum Smith, the brother of the Prophet Joseph Smith understood and followed this admonition: “Preach the first principles of the Gospel—preach them over again: you will find that day after day new ideas and additional light concerning them will be revealed to you. You can enlarge upon them so as to comprehend them clearly. You will then be able to make them more plainly understood by those who teach.” (History of the Church, 6:323)

And what are the first principles of the Gospel?

"We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Articles of Faith 1:4)

For a deeper understanding of and appreciation for how the Lord works, for true doctrine, and for the good news of Jesus Christ and the first principles of the Gospel, I suggest Elder Maxwell's timeless classic Not My Will, but Thine.

The Christmas Chorus

Halloween is upon us.  But soon enough the darkness of the pagan festivities will give way to light of Thanksgiving and of Christmas.  If you (or someone you know) are looking for ways to get into the Christmas Spirit, might I suggest that you attend the Christmas Chorus on December 7 or 8, 2013.  Martha Sargent and her hosts of angelic voices will delight and inspire their audiences with traditional hymns, selections from Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols, and music by John Rutter.  You will not be disappointed.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gather Ye Rosebuds

Today my mother sent me a picture of her father when he was a young man.  She informed me that he did exercises like clockwork from 6:00 until 6:30 every morning for more than 37 years.

Of course, my grandfather did much more than just exercise and wrestle.  I have read his journals, and I know that he lived a solid life of Christian discipleship and service.  He was devoted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to his family.  I have read several passages of his journals in which he shared his love for God and for others, and his conviction concerning the life and mission of the Savior.  He shared the hope for eternal life that can only come through the merits and mercies of Jesus Christ.

As I see my grandfather's face and think of his noble life, I am inspired to improve, and to become a better man. 

Then I am reminded of another image.  This time it is a picture of my father's father, who also lived a noble life and was a blessing to all who knew him (and a blessing to many who did not know him).  I have fond memories of my paternal grandfather, whether it was fishing off the Outer Banks of North Carolina, catching crabs in the Puget Sound, shooting arrows with a bow that he made from wood, visiting him in his carpet store, or just listening to him read Dr. Seuss stories.  
Both of my grandfathers have long since passed away, but there is another element of their legacy that I prize even more than any of the good memories that we shared.  You see, though my grandfathers were not perfect, each loved and cherished his wife with all of his heart.  This is certainly a tradition worth living up to, and these are big shoes to fill. (see Jacob 3:7)

Nevertheless, when I remember this legacy of love, the words of the poet come readily to mind:

"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, / Old Time is still a-flying: / And this same flower that smiles to-day / To-morrow will be dying." (Robert Herrick, To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time)


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Jerusalem: A City, A Movie, A Book

This evening a friend and I went to Thanksgiving Point to view the spectacular Jerusalem: The Movie, a panoramic, aerial and historical IMAX film rendering of the city that was at one time considered the center of the world.

Producers Taran Davies, George Duffield, and Daniel Ferguson take the audience on a 45 minute tour of Jerusalem as seen through the eyes of three girls: one Jewish, one Muslim and one Christian.  The views of Israel and the major holy sites of the Holy Land are breathtaking, and the cultural commentaries are balanced and informative.

Jerusalem: The Movie is a good introduction to a city that looms large in world history, and whose future promises to be as exciting, if not more so, than its illustrious past. For those who wish to delve deeper into the subject of Jerusalem, I also recommend the Deseret Book publication Jerusalem: The Eternal City. This book provides a detailed survey of past, present and future Jerusalem.  Next to actually travelling to the Holy Land for a visit, Jerusalem: The Movie and  Jersualem: The Eternal City are great resources for anyone who is interested in this unique city.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Lord Looks on the Heart: An Introduction to Malcolm Gladwell

If you haven't heard of Malcolm Gladwell, you probably will in the near future.  Actually, if you are reading this, then you have just heard of him.  So, who is he?

Thus far I have read two of his books (Outliers and David and Goliath, and a the first part of Blink), and watched his Ted-X presentation on happiness and spaghetti sauce.  He is certainly a creative story teller and a talented orator.  Plus, his hair style and demeanor are somewhat endearing.  

Gladwell weaves his tales out of research gleaned in the fields of sociology and psychology, tracing seemingly unexpected patterns and themes to form an inspirational narrative.  After finishing David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants, I have gathered that Gladwell has perhaps unwittingly placed his finger on a few important principles.  The reason I mention this is because Gladwell begins his most recent book with a verse of scripture from the Bible: 1 Samuel 16:7:

"But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.'"

The important principles that Gladwell has perhaps innocently and unknowingly deduced from his studies and musings are that truth and wisdom are to be found in the word of God and in the lessons derived from difficult experiences.  I say unknowingly only because his focus is not to tell the truth, but to tell a story.  And I am not alone in assessing Gladwell's work as charming but somewhat misleading (see, for example, here, here, here and here). Granted, Gladwell is more of an entertainer and an rhetorician than a philosopher or a serious thinker, but his influence is pervasive enough to merit careful attention and scrutiny. 

This is not to say that I doubt his sincerity at all.  In fact, from what I have read of his work, I get the impression that he, like the rest of us, is on a quest to discover something true.  The problem is that he presents his stories as a record of patterns and facts drawn from research, and he does so to an increasingly vast audience that is liable to receive these stories as truth. Again, I don't fault him for this because at least he makes it clear in a recent interview that his writing and speaking are evidences of the process of "seeking" more than the results of "finding":

"I’ve had a different journey. I had drifted away a little bit. This book has brought me back into the fold. I was so incredibly struck in writing these stories by the incredible power faith had in people’s lives, it has made a profound impact on me in my belief. That’s been the completely unexpected effect of writing this book. I am in the process of rediscovering my own faith again."

Gladwell derives the substance of his latest book from the miraculous victory of a young shepherd over a formidable and a well-armed opponent.  In a nutshell, his thesis is that the success of "underdogs" often comes as a result of more than sheer persistence, luck or miraculous intervention, but by fighting in an unconventional manner:

"I think there has been an overemphasis of the idea that David’s victory was improbable. When you look closer to that story and you understand the full historical context, you see it from a different perspective. Here was a guy who brilliantly changed the rules of combat. He was equipped with a sling that was routinely used by armies to defeat the sort that Goliath was. David was very skilled at using the weapon and he was filled with the spirit of the Lord. Put those things together, why is he an underdog? He’s smarter than his opponent, better armed and he had this extraordinary force in his heart. When you understand that perspective, you understand that sometimes our instinct about where power comes from is wrong." (from the interview linked above)

Gladwell begins the first chapter of his latest book by posing questions that so-called "underdogs" may often ask themselves: "Should I play by the rules or follow my own instincts?" "Shall I persevere or give up?" "Should I strike back or forgive?"  In the subsequent chapters, Gladwell answers these questions by drawing inspiration from a variety of groups and individuals who have overcome challenges or adverse circumstances.

In summary, Malcolm Gladwell is a skillful narrator, almost like a minstrel, whose work is not necessarily based in solid historical facts or reliable science.  He himself admits as much:

“I am a story-teller, and I look to academic research … for ways of augmenting story-telling. The reason I don’t do things their [academic] way is because their way has a cost: it makes their writing inaccessible. If you are someone who has as their goal ... to reach a lay audience ... you can't do it their way.” 

And reach a lay audience he has.  Whether or not that lay audience will be able to examine his claims
critically without accepting them at face value remains to be seen.  Nevertheless, I am inclined to be sympathetic toward a man with such amazing hair (see right) who seems to have a great affinity for the Bible, as well as what appears to be a respectful deference toward those who have emerged triumphantly from adverse circumstances:

"The right question is whether we as a society need people who have emerged from some kind of trauma – and the answer is that we plainly do." (see here)


Fire for the Deed

When I was in the fifth grade I had a wonderful teacher who instilled in her students a love for American Heritage.  In fact, the school that my brothers and I attended was aptly named American Heritage School, and Mrs. Cornell, my fifth grade teacher, revered the lives and the legacies of those who did so much to help establish the United States of America.  She was a particularly devoted advocate of the young Italian who, in 1492, sailed under the auspices of the Spanish crown.

At American Heritage we prayed and recited the national anthem daily. We sang in choirs and enacted plays about the American Revolution. We were taught mathematics, science, grammar, history and other subjects. But anyone who remembers Mrs. Cornell could not soon forget her great admiration for Christopher Colombus.

If I hadn't been so busy flirting with the grade school grade beauties, battling on the playground basketball court, or getting sent home from school for valiantly defending myself in a snowball fight, I might have better appreciated that which Mrs. Cornell was trying to teach us.  In retrospect it is clear that this great teacher was imbuing her students with a sense of respect, and inculcating gratitude for the precious gift of liberty.  Of course, these principles were not alien to me at the time, but Mrs. Cornell's lessons did much to reinforce and build upon lessons already learned at home.

Unfortunately, the history of Christopher Columbus often tends toward two extremes.  The first and most destructive extreme is found in the relativism of the revisionist historian.  These are the would-be historians who despise America and anything that made America great, including one of its earliest explorers, because the discovery and colonization of America contradicts their multicultural worldview.  For a candid assessment of this extreme, consider Dinesh D'Souza's First Things article from 1995 entitled "The Crimes of Cristopher Columbus."  On the opposite extreme, others, not unlike some of the ancient American inhabitants, try to elevate Columbus to the status of a deity. Truthfully, Columbus was neither a demon nor a demigod. He was, as Mrs. Cornell taught long ago, a man who acted under inspiration for purposes greater than his own:

"The Lord was well disposed to my desire and he bestowed upon me courage and understanding; knowledge of seafaring he gave me in abundance . . . and of geometry and astronomy likewise . . . The Lord with provident hand unlocked my mind, sent me upon the sea, and gave me fire for the deed. Those who heard of my enterprise called it foolish, mocked me and laughed. But who can doubt that the Holy Ghost inspired me?" - (see Jacob Wasserman, Columbus, the Don Quixote of the Seas)

As part of an extensive vision, the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi witnessed this same voyage:

"And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land." (1 Ne. 13:12)

Consider for a moment that during his first voyage, and after having sailed for many day toward a hoped for destiny, under the rising threat of a mutinous crew, Columbus had ample courage and perseverance in the face of uncertainty to add a simple note to his diary: "This day we sailed on."  (See Lillian Eichler Watson, ed., Light from Many Lamps (1979), 138.)

"The temple work for the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence and other founding fathers has been done. All these appeared to Wilford Woodruff when he was president of the St. George Temple. President George Washington was ordained a high priest at that time. You will also be interested to know that, according to Wilford Woodruff’s journal, John Wesley, Benjamin Franklin, and Christopher Columbus were also ordained high priests—by proxy, of course—at that time.  When one casts doubt about the character of these noble sons of God, I believe he or she will have to answer to the God of heaven for it. " - Ezra Taft Benson

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Beyond Our Present Conception: Truman G. Madsen's Four Essays on Love

What a great time to be alive!  Have you ever wondered why you were born when you were born, and not, say, in some distant land during some obscure period of the earth's history?  You and I are alive today, a season that prophets have longed for over millennia, and that poets and philosophers have anxiously anticipated!  Addressing a group of students at Brigham Young University in 1979, Ezra Taft Benson declared:

“All through the ages the prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day. Billions of the deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us. Make no mistake about it—you are a marked generation. There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time as there is of us” (Ezra Taft Benson, “In His Steps,” inSpeeches of the Year, 1979 [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1980], p. 59).

More recently, President Thomas S. Monson proffered these encouraging words:

“This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways.” – President Thomas S. Monson

Just imagine... the future is brighter still!  Yes, this is a wonderful time to be on earth; a great time to be alive.  And yet, the Apostle Paul prophesied "know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affectiontrucebreakers, false accusersincontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Of these perilous times prior to His second coming, Jesus warned that "because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." (Matt. 24:12)  In a glorious vision of the latter days, the ancient prophet Enoch beheld that the God of Heaven "looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept." (Moses 7:28)
Puzzled, Enoch meekly asked His Father in Heaven, "How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains? How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?"  (Moses 7:28-29)  

To this inquiry, God, perhaps with tears still running down His heavenly cheeks, replied: "Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency; / And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood." (Moses 7:32-34)

As Enoch continued to listen, God told him "all the doings of the children of men" and Enoch "looked upon their wickedness, and their misery, and wept and stretched forth his arms, and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook." (Moses 7:41)  These verses paint a picture: God, with tears streaming down like rain, and Enoch with arms stretched forth, a picture that pointed to the moment in time when Jesus would be hung upon the Cross, fulfilling the greatest act of love in time and all eternity.  This is the love that conquers hate and transforms the world.  God planned it, Jesus fulfilled it, and Enoch knew it:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

Charles Dickens began his famous novel A Tale of Two Cities with an observation that could well describe the time in which we now live: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…"

Every once in a while, an author comes along who is able to capture in words, to the extent that it is possible to do so, the kind of love that conquers hate and transforms the world; the kind of love that makes bad times good; that bestows wisdom; that makes incredulity unbelievable; brightens the darkness; and makes a springtime out of winter.  With this goal in mind, and in the tradition of others who have approached the topic of love directly (such as Plato in his Symposium, and C.S. Lewis in The Four Loves) Truman G. Madsen composed a short volume called Four Essays on Love.  I recommend that this little book be used as a hopeful spark to kindle fires of love in the hearts and homes of those who wish to read it. It has the potential to bring the reader closer to understanding that which Joseph Smith termed "one of the chief characteristics of Diety":

"Love is one of the chief characteristics of Deity, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the sons of God. A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race." (History of the Church, 4:227)

The four brief chapters of Madsen's book are "Joseph Smith and the Sources of Love," "How to Be loved and Beloved," "The Language of Love at Home," and "Human Anguish and Divine Love."  In less than 100 pages, this book will delight you as it brings to your remembrance things you already knew but may have found difficult to describe.  And it might just teach you something that you didn't know, or that you were just waiting to discover... namely, in the words of Madsen himself, that "we have capacities and privileges for love beyond our present conception." (Four Essays on Love, p. 25) Enjoy!  


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Good Timber


The tree that never had to fight,

For sun and sky and air and light,

But stood out on the open plain,

And always got it’s share of rain,

Never became a forest king,

But lives and dies a scrawny thing.

The man who never had to toil,

To gain and farm his patch of soil,

Who never had to win his share,

Of sun and sky and light and air,

Never became a manly man,

But lived and died as he began.

Good timber does not grow in ease,

The stronger the wind, the stronger trees

The farther sky, the greater the length

The more the storm, the more the strength,

By sun and cold, by rain and snow,

In tree and men good timbers grow.

Where thickest lies the forest growth

We find the patriarchs of both.

And they hold counsel with the stars

Whose broken branches show the scars

This is the common law of life.

Douglas Mallock

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Treasure up the Word

During the past month, Elder Jay E. Jensen, an emeritus general authority and former member of the Presidency of the Quorum of the Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, taught a series of institute classes on the Book of Mormon to a group of young (and not so young) LDS single adults before embarking on his next assignment as President of the Cochabamba Bolivia Temple.  The doctrine, testimonies and insights shared during this brief time helped to fortify, deepen, and expand my personal testimony of the Book of Mormon, and to strengthen my faith in, and love for, both God the Father and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ.  In connection with the institute classes, Elder Jensen recommended a book (that I just finished reading) that he wrote as a companion to the scriptures and a source of encouragement for improved scripture study by the homiletic title Treasure Up the Word.

While it would be impractical to record everything that Elder Jensen taught, or everything contained in his slim but scintillating volume Treasure Up the Word, perhaps a brief summary of both the classes and the book may be of worth to someone somewhere who is seeking greater light and truth, or who is simply seeking to improve his or her scripture study.  Of course, the most important teachings are to be discovered between the written lines or behind the spoken word, but much of what Elder Jensen taught in the class can be found in his book.  One priceless spiritual gem to consider is found in the third chapter of Treasure Up the Word:

"Looking at the scriptures is like looking at a favorite tree, one half of which is above ground and has always been open to study and examination, either close up (micro) or from a distance (macro).  But now you realize that one half of the tree is hidden beneath the ground - the roots.  These life-giving extremities of a tree send nourishment to all that is visible above ground.  What we can see of the tree above ground can be likened to reading and studying.  Like the tree that can be examined close up or at a distance, the scriptures written in columns, verses, sentences, paragraphs, words, and so forth, can be examined either close up or at a distance.  However, the roots under the ground are hidden to the mortal eye.  It is so also with the scriptures: much is hidden to the mortal eye.  Only by searching, pondering, likening, and prayerful reflection will we discover hidden truths. / Until we discover in the scriptures the full tree- roots, trunk, branches, and leaves- we have yet to find the promised height, breadth, and depth in those holy books.  It is a truth that some of the most precious truths in the scriptures are hidden the deepest and with the greatest care.  The Prophet Joseph Smith reminded us that 'the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out' (TPJS, p. 137)"

The titles of the chapters in Treasure Up the Word include "The Spirit and the Scriptures," "The Power of the Word," "The Three P's of Scripture Study," "Scripture Marking," "Principles of Substitution," "Lists," "Definitions," "Visualizing," "Homilies," "Uniting Truths," "Revelation and Scripture Study," "Story Parallels," and "Promises of the Living Prophets."  Each short chapter is replete with spiritual power and practical counsel.

In fact, while I was reading about some of Elder Jensen's family, teaching and leadership experiences, I was reminded of a few statements made by Brigham Young about the character and teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith:

"The excellency of the glory of the character of Brother Joseph Smith was that he could reduce heavenly things to the understanding of the finite. When he preached to the people—revealed the things of God, the will of God, the plan of salvation, the purposes of Jehovah, the relation in which we stand to him and all the heavenly beings—he reduced his teachings to the capacity of every man, woman and child, making them as plain as a well defined pathway. This should have convinced every person that ever heard him, of his divine authority and power, for no other man was able to teach as he could, and no person can reveal the things of God, but by the revelations of Jesus Christ." (see footnote 6 of Elder Christofferson's BYU Idaho Devotional Speech The Prophet Joseph Smith)

On other occasions, Brigham Young declared:

"What a delight it was to hear Brother Joseph talk upon the great principles of eternity: he would bring them down to the capacity of a child, he would unite heaven with earth” (459; also in JD 4:54).


“In my experience I never did let an opportunity pass of getting with the Prophet Joseph and of hearing him speak in public or in private, so that I might draw understanding form the fountain from which he spoke, that I might have it and bring it forth when it was needed” (JD 12:269)

I could sense in Elder Jensen's teaching, and in his simple but profound little book, a portion of the gift that Joseph Smith possessed and that Joseph Smith's friend, Parley P. Pratt described as follows,

"His [Joseph Smith's] language abounding in original eloquence peculiar to himself—not polished—not studied—not smooth and softened by education and refined by art: but flowing forth in its own narrative simplicity, and profusely abounding in a variety of subject and manner. He interested and edified while, at the same time, he amused and entertained his audience: and none listened to him that were ever weary with his discourse. I have known him to retain a congregation of willing and anxious listeners for many hours together, in the midst of cold or sunshine, rain, or wind, while they were laughing at one moment and weeping the next. Even his most bitter enemies were generally overcome if he could once get in their ears. (45–46)."

This last statement resonates with the conclusion of Elder Jensen's book Treasure Up the Word, in a brief chapter entitled "Promises of the Living Prophets":

"However talented men may be in administrative matters; however eloquent they may be in expressing their views; however learned they may be in worldly things- they will be denied the sweet whisperings of the Spirit that might have been theirs unless they pay the price of studying, pondering, and praying about the scriptures." - Bruce R. McConkie

If you or someone you know is seeking to improve his or her scripture study and to enhance his or her communication with the Divine, I feel confident in promising that Elder Jensen's primer Treasure Up the Word will point you in the right direction and help you gain a greater appreciation for the power of the word of God.  It might just give you or someone you know that extra incentive to pay the price for a stronger testimony of the truth, and to obtain the promise of the Lord:

"And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived, for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (JS-Matthew 1:37) 

A Little Learning is a Dangerous Thing

"A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: / there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, / and drinking largely sobers us again." - Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism

(see Elder D. Todd Christofferson's recent devotional address on Joseph Smith at BYU Idaho)