True Knowledgeby -
Knowledge has a way of invigorating us and igniting a greater interest in the world around us. For a long list of excellent reasons, leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (also called the Mormon church) advise us to get all of the education that we can. We are counseled to continue learning throughout our lives. We learn that we are commanded, “Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith” (Doctrine & Covenants 109:7). Following this commandment has been an important and fulfilling goal in my life.
There are many ways for us to seek after knowledge. I have greatly enjoyed my experience studying a variety of subjects at the university I attend. I have also gained some of my most important lessons from what I have encountered on the path of my life. Both study and experience have brought invaluable instruction. As we continue our quest for learning, however, it is important to remember that not all knowledge is created equal. As prophesied by Paul in the New Testament, we live in a day when men are “ever learning, and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). While there are a many stimulating and enriching works available for our study (more than ever before), there is a lot of useless and even destructive content to sift through. Many of us wade daily through a virtually endless flood of information. It can be difficult to pick out what is relevant, and more difficult still to know what is true. I have often felt that way, at least.
It is exactly how Joseph Smith felt as a young boy in the early 1800’s. Everywhere he turned, there were different opinions on the subject of religion. Speaking of the impassioned and often conflicting beliefs surrounding him, he said, “In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?” (Joseph Smith History 1:10). Ultimately, Joseph realized that the only way to find a sure answer was to do his best to find out what he could, then ask God in prayer which beliefs truly came from Him. The response to that prayer was marvelous. Our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared personally to Joseph Smith. They explained to Joseph that the whole truth was not found on the earth at that time. Parts of it were available, and good people everywhere were doing their very best with the truth they had, but important aspects of knowledge about God and His plan for us had been fading for centuries.
The world had been in the time foretold in the Bible: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it” (Amos 8:11-12). The Lord’s answer to Joseph Smith’s sincere prayer marked a change, an end to that famine.
Not only did God want to guide Joseph Smith in his pursuit of the truth, He wanted to guide all of us, His children. He wanted each of us to find relief from our own personal famine. At various times in my own life, I have felt this overpowering thirst for truth and for answers. I have also felt the sweet joy and peace of finding the knowledge that I so greatly needed. It came as I spent time in deep thought and study. It came as I prayed sincerely to understand God and His plan, and as I was later attentive for answers to those prayers. It came as I searched the words of the Bible and the Book of Mormon.
All of us have deep questions that drive us to search in many different places for answers. Whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever your questions, I know that you can quench your thirst and find the truth that you seek. I know that you will find answers in the Church that Jesus Christ Himself leads and guides through a modern-day prophet: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I invite you to see for yourself. Visit mormon.org, read the Book of Mormon, or meet with Mormon missionaries. May you find the knowledge that you seek.