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Prophetic Statements

Brigham Young

When a man is capable of correcting you, and of giving you light, and true doctrine, do not get up an altercation, but submit to be taught like little children, and strive with all your might to understand. [1]

Ezra Taft Benson

One recent development that gave new ammunition to the proponents of federal aid was the Russian successes in rocketry and space exploration. More and more critics were rising up to say our educational system was failing in the competition-and that this proved the need for federal aid.

That faults existed in our educational system no one could deny. In gearing the curricula to the middle of the class, our system too often had not provided sufficient challenge for the better student. Champions seldom become champions by competing only against mediocrity.

Some educators contended that even with courses geared to the average, our system in too many cases tended to accept inferior work as of passing grade. Surely there would be grave danger to our society if youth were allowed to grow up believing that a lick and a promise is all that is needed to get by. It is not generally true on the adult level that one reaps reward without effort, receives wages without work, or enjoys prestige without achievement. By the same token, neither could a nation nor a system of education maintain freedom and security without individual sacrifice. [2]

Opposing Statements

Scriptures

D&C 130:18-19
Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.”

Supporting Statements

George Q. Cannon

I feel to speak these words of encouragement to my brethren and sisters, many of whom feel probably that their obscure lives and struggles, their contest with poverty, their humble and eventful histories are sometimes of so little value that they are comparatively worthless in the earth. I say to the humble struggler, to the man or woman who may be content with poverty, whose life may be uneventful in his own estimation, who may be hidden from the popular sight and may not figure on the world’s stage, I say to every such person, as a Latter-day Saint, You have a great and important mission to perform, and if you perform the duties devolving upon you properly, your influence will be felt; and in the days to come, in that great day of God Almighty, your worth will be fully recognized, and you will shine as a jewel in the kingdom of our Redeemer.

There is one thing that every parent can do. He can endeavor to make his sons and daughters better qualified, better equipped for the great struggle of life and better able to perform their part in this glorious work that God has established, than himself; that is one thing the parents of the rising generation of these mountains can do. I have never felt as I do to-day, and as I have recently, of the great importance of our training and educating our children to the greatest and best advantage, that nothing shall be left undone on our part to prepare them for the great work which they have to perform. This is a labor that we can accomplish. It does not depend so much upon the knowledge of books; a great many people imagine that only books are necessary for education; but the man is best educated, in my opinion, who has thought the most, and that correctly. So far as theology is concerned, we have been able, by the blessing of God, the light of the Holy Ghost, and the power of truth, to go forth unlearned, illiterate, and unprepared, so far as worldly education is concerned, and by virtue of the knowledge that comes down from above, the elders of this Church have gone forth and met the world of Christendom. I do not speak in vanity, nor in the spirit of boasting when I say they have never been vanquished. The learned, the educated, the professed theologians when they have met the elders of this Church with the Bible in their hands, have been compelled to retreat before the power of truth proclaimed by uneducated but inspired men. Is our mission accomplished by having done this? I feel that we as a people are only on the threshold of the great work that lies before us. We have an immense field of labor stretched out before us. When you look ahead and try to see its limits, the field of usefulness, which stretches out before this people called Latter-day Saints, is beyond the reach of human vision; it is illimitable, stretching out in the far distant future. Is there a wrong upon the earth to be righted? If so, it is our bounden duty to attempt its correction. Is there a false principle extant? It is our bounden duty to seek its eradication. Is there tyranny in the world, tyranny of the body, tyranny of the mind, physical or mental tyranny? It devolves upon us as Latter-day Saints to overthrow it. Are there social problems to be solved? Who shall solve them? Who can do so? Remove the Latter-day Saints from the field, and who can solve these problems which are pressing themselves upon the attention of all thinking people? The whole earth is full of violence, wrong, oppression, misgovernment, and a thousand other evils which I cannot now enumerate. It devolves upon us, as fast as we can reach these things, to correct them, to remove them. In the first place we have got to correct and remove them from our own midst. . . . the great labor that devolves upon us is to educate ourselves, and then we can soon educate the rest of mankind, for as I have said, our example is felt; the influence of it goes forth and bears its fruit among other people. [3]

Henry B. Eyring

Let’s start with the purpose. The Lord and His Church have always encouraged education to increase our ability to serve Him and our Heavenly Father’s children. For each of us, whatever our talents, He has service for us to give. And to do it well always involves learning, not once or for a limited time, but continually.

In that scripture the Master is clear about the process. By prayer, fasting, and hard work, with a motive to serve Him, we can expect His grace to attend us. I can assure you from my own experience, that does not mean we will always be on the high end of the grading curve. It means that we will learn more rapidly and grow in skill beyond what we could do only with our unaided natural abilities. I know that from my own experience, as many of you do and as all of you can. [4]


  1. Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 245
  2. Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pp. 298-299; Crossfire: The Eight Years with Eisenhower, pp. 425-26
  3. George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses 20:197-199
  4. Henry B. Eyring, Education For Real Life, CES Fireside, May 6, 2001

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