7 And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.
(2 Nephi 32:7)
This week, I’m studying knowledge and education. In the passage above, Nephi laments the unwillingness of so many people to make the effort required to learn. In the best case scenario, they would “search knowledge”– formulate questions, generate hypotheses, study, ponder, pray, conduct experiments (see Alma 32:27), and write or teach what they have learned. But Nephi points out that students can find themselves in a much easier position: someone else has already done all the work for them, and all they have to do is listen and learn. Nephi certainly found himself in that situation constantly in his life: trying to communicate simple and powerful gospel truths to brothers who would have benefited immensely from them, but who were too proud and stubborn to listen. The principle I see in this passage is this: it takes humility to learn. Until we humble ourselves, truth can be staring us in the face, and we won’t recognize it or accept it.
Today, I will be humble and teachable. Whether in a classroom setting or in my own personal study, I will make the effort to “understand great knowledge,” to accept it, and to apply it in my life.