29) VIEW OF MAN: How does viewing individuals as children of God change education? How does the world view the individual? (Intelligence and spirits)

Prophetic Statements

Ezra Taft Benson

One of the tragedies of the Korean War was the fact that the enemy was able to brainwash some of our men. Those methods, highly refined and deviously developed, have been introduced on a broad scale into our own country by some behavioral scientists through a program commonly called sensitivity training. While claiming otherwise, the overall effect of this training has been to break down personal standards, encourage immorality, reduce respect for parents, and make well minds sick.

But some sensitivity training doesn’t stop there. They usually want each person to tell the group about all of their innermost feelings, their personal secrets, their fears, their repressed desires. They have even conducted nudity sessions as a means of supposedly breaking down their inhibitions. They want the group to know each other’s vulgar thoughts and lustful ideas, their hates, envies, jealousies. But this flies in the face of the counsel of a prophet, who has said, “All such evils you must overcome by suppression. That is where your control comes in. Suppress that anger! Suppress that jealousy, that envy! They are all injurious to the spirit.” [1]

In these sensitivity sessions one’s standards, religion, family, and friends may be subjected to brutal and prolonged attack by the group. And when it is all over, if you have confessed all and had your values and ideals smashed, you may doubt if there is much worth believing or defending, and your loyalties may now have been realigned away from your family and church toward the group-for on them you may now feel very dependent, and you may be more anxious to get their consensus on a position and their approval than to find out what is right and do it. [2]

Opposing Statements


Supporting Statements

Elbert D. Thomas

Scriptures teach that “the glory of God is intelligence” [3]. They also teach that individual “intelligences . . . were organized before the world was” [4]. “Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be” [5]. Our personal intelligence is everlasting and divine. I believe Thomas Jefferson felt that dignity of the human spirit when he wrote, “I have sworn upon the Altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” [6]

Russell M. Nelson

Because of our sacred regard for each human intellect, we consider the obtaining of an education to be a religious responsibility. Yet opportunities and abilities differ. I believe that in the pursuit of education, individual desire is more influential than institution, and personal faith more forceful than faculty. Our Creator expects His children everywhere to educate themselves. He issued a commandment: “Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith” [7]. And He assures us that knowledge acquired here will be ours forever [8]. [9]

  1. President David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 356
  2. Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.300-301; Conference Report, April 1969, Improvement Era 72 [June 1969]: 44, 46
  3. D&C 93:36
  4. Abraham 3:22
  5. D&C 93:29
  6. in Elbert D. Thomas, Thomas Jefferson, World Citizen, New York: Modern Age Books, 1942, p. 251
  7. D&C 88:118
  8. D&C 130:18­19
  9. Russell M. Nelson, CR, Oct. 1992, p. 4
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