Spiritual learning and growth don’t just happen. They require sustained effort over time, and they therefore require structure. We need to establish appropriate spaces, schedules, and habits in order to learn about God and grow closer to Him.
In late 1832 and early 1833, when many church members had returned home from missionary service, Joseph Smith received a revelation which he characterized as an “olive leaf…plucked from the tree of paradise, the Lord’s message of peace to us” (Letter to W. W. Phelps, 11 January 1833). In this revelation, God instructed church leaders to establish an educational program, called “the School of the Prophets.” Here is an outline of the revelation:
- Doctrinal basis: An explanation of the relationship between light (knowledge) and law (appropriate behavior), and the role of both in our sanctification (v. 1-61).
- Call to action: An invitation to grow closer to God and to teach one another in preparation for additional missionary service (v. 62-86).
- Explanation of urgency: A prophecy of events leading to the Second Coming of the Savior, and beyond (v. 87-116).
- Practical guidance: Specific instructions on how to organize the school (v. 117-141).
Here are some blog posts relating to this revelation:
“That which is governed by law is also preserved by law.” (v. 21-22, 33-34)
- The trials and temptations we face strengthen us and prepare us to receive celestial glory: Ye Would Be More Miserable – Mormon 9:4 (v. 22).
- Like all gifts, the gifts we receive from God are ours to use and enjoy, but only if we are willing to receive them: “Every Good Gift” – Moroni 10:18 (v. 33).
- God’s law isn’t so much something to live up to as something to grow into—a description of a better way to live which will bring us happiness as we learn to follow it: “My Law” (v. 34).
“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.” (v. 63-67)
- God wants us to turn toward Him and toward the happiness that He can bring into our lives: Whom He Listeth to Obey – Alma 3:26-27.
- There are many things we can do to grow closer to God. As we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us: How to “Come unto Christ”.
- We need to intentionally place ourselves in circumstances where we can connect with God: How Can I Have More Experiences with God? .
- If we focus our thoughts on the Savior and His gospel, our bodies will be filled with light: He That Is Built Upon the Rock – 2 Nephi 28:28.
“After your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes.” (v. 88-90)
- Punishments are not the opposite of persuasion. They are a form of persuasion. Their purpose is not to exact vengeance for our sins but to wake us up and convince us to abandon our sins: What Are the Roles of Persuasion and Punishment in Motivating Good Behavior?.
“Seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (v. 118)
- We learn better when we are attuned to the Holy Spirit, no matter what topic we are studying: How Can I Apply My Heart to Understanding? (Mosiah 12:27).
- Some activities which help us gain wisdom can also help us gain knowledge, such as reading good books: Wisdom and Knowledge – Moroni 10:9-10.
- We should be open to multiple methods of gaining knowledge. Limiting those methods can artificially restrain what they are able to know: Korihor and the Closing of the Nephite Mind.
- Knowledge can be given to us, but if we fail to receive and internalize it, then it’s useless to us: The Spirit of Deep Sleep – 2 Nephi 27:4-5.
“Retire to thy bed early… Arise early.” (v. 124)
- Part of taking care of our mortal bodies is acknowledging their limitations and pacing ourselves appropriately in order to give them the rest they need: In Six Days the Lord Made Heaven and Earth – Mosiah 13:16-19.
- To follow the example of the Savior, we need to ensure that our spirits govern our bodies. That’s why we’re given commandments like fasting, the Word of Wisdom, and getting appropriate sleep: The Flesh Becoming Subject to the Spirit – Mosiah 15:2-5.
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