One of the contradictions I have noticed in the Church is with regard to education. We are encouraged to obtain all the education we can in this life and to make the study of the Gospel and the scriptures a lifelong pursuit. One of the other oft quoted scriptures, even seen at the entrance of BYU is: “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. Light and truth forsake that evil one.”(D&C 93:36-37)
However, intelligence is not always measured by how much schooling one has. Some of the most intelligent, smartest people I have known were not college graduates, holding advanced degrees, but folks who had a lot of common sense, could perhaps fix anything broken, figure out solutions to complex problems that came up in normal life, or were just incredibly smart, insightful and very observant. They also had a ton of empathy for others.
On the other hand, I have also known many people who might have been classified as “book smart,” having much formal education but lacked common sense, humility, compassion for others or were, in a word, just plain dumb.
I have also know those who, without any formal education were not very smart or those with a ton of formal education who were meek, humble, submissive, bright, articulate and very willing to serve others.
So, in summary, I have found that intelligence and intellect is not always measured by how much formal education one might possess.
The contradiction seems to be: “Can someone have too much education? Or, “does there come a point when too much education destroys faith?”
We are also told in the scriptures that we will leave this earth with as much knowledge as we were willing to obtain, so we’d better learn as much as we can. But what does that refer to? I suspect it means that we are to know as much about Heavenly Father and Jesus as we possibly can, to understand the Atonement, the Fall and the effects those have on our eternal life (see John 17:3). That we are to learn about what it means to have charity and serve others.
It probably doesn’t necessarily mean how many advanced degrees we can obtain.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am certainly not saying that education is bad for you. It is not. But, what might be bad is that where our educational training might hamper our ability to fulfill our mission in this life to return to live with Our Father in Heaven and to pass the test of this mortal existence.
The Adversary clearly uses enticements of evil to derail our mission and to get us to leave the path. But he also uses good things to do the same thing. If he can entice us to be so wrapped up doing something that appears to be good for us to get us to question our faith and what we have known to be true, to doubt truth claims of the Church, it is just as effective as getting us to commit some sin.
Back to the opening scripture. “But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.” This is important because of the last part, “hearken unto the counsels of God. “ What does that mean? I think we find the answer to that in Mosiah 3:19: “…becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
So, does this set up a contradiction between education and submissiveness? Are there some things the learned in this day are no longer willing to submit themselves to? Because they know better?