Monday, 29 December 2008

Learning through humility

A good friend of mine was asked to be a Sunday School teacher at our church. She will be teaching a bible study to a class of 40 or 50 adults, leading discussion and highlighting gospel principles. The class is full of people at all sorts of religious and intellectual levels and experiences, some who have a career in bible education, others who have been Bishops or served in other leadership roles. Oh, and my friend isn't even 25 years old yet. And yet, when I heard she had been asked to take this position, I knew she would be perfect. Sentiment throughout the church echoes my own.

I have learned that there is only one requirement to being a devout student of faith. It is not years of experience or how many times one has read the bible. It is humility.

If you look at the world religions, there are examples great men and women in every faith. They are spiritual and intellectual giants, who have devoted their lives to studying and living their beliefs through their religion. Looking at these people, you could not say they were duped, fooled or misguided into choosing their religion. If then, it was possible to definitively determine which religion is correct using man's intellect alone, it would stand to reason that all of these men and women would find themselves coming to identical conclusions about truth.

But they have not. Thousands of religious sects exist, each proclaiming to be the only true way. It would seem, then, to be the height of hubris to say that one could determine the truth by his own studying, logic and deductions. It would take several lifetimes to study in depth all the options. And then it would deem those with less spiritual knowledge unfit to make a decision. I know that personally I have not even a "ha' penny" of the wealth of spiritual knowledge that many others have.

But God does not require that. He did not call the scholarly Pharisees to Apostleship, but humble fishermen. He did not call Saul to preach the gospel when he was a well-known community leader, but called instead "Paul", a meek version of his previous self, ready to teach and be taught by the Spirit of God. Moses was a terrible public speaker and worried no one would take him seriously as a prophet of God. Even the founder of my church, Joseph Smith, was just a boy of 14 when he started on his path, from a family of no importance. By all accounts, he should simply have been ignored among the gathering of great religious intellects of his time.

But, in the end, the only way to find spiritual truths is through humility. Once you admit that you are unable to find the answer by yourself, you come to the level of humility that enables God to teach you.

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