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January 6, 2020

Cultivating a Desire to Learn

"Wanting to learn something is usually necessary to accessing God's help."

Have you ever wondered why education is so important to God? The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Our Creator expects His children everywhere to gain an education as a personal endeavor… When you leave this frail existence, your material possessions will remain here, but the Lord has declared that the knowledge you acquire here will rise with you in the resurrection (D&C 130:18-19).”1

Do you wonder what to study or what is most valuable to learn?  

All learning is valuable and our Heavenly Father wants us to learn as much as we can, “things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth, things that have been, things which are… things which are at home, things which are abroad… that [we] may be prepared in all things… to magnify the calling whereunto [He has] called [us].”2

Heavenly Father has a plan and a calling for each one of us; He wants us to become like Him (See also Moses 1:39). To do that, we need to continue to learn and progress. During our life on earth, He asks us to serve each other to our fullest potential. That could mean fulfilling our role as a father or mother, developing and using our talents, or enhancing our communities through our occupations. Whatever it is that we want to do, we can achieve our potential as we learn as much as we can and serve Heavenly Father and the people around us.

Cultivating a desire to learn

For many students, family responsibilities or job improvement is their motivation to pursue higher education. Both of these are worthy and honorable endeavors, but education can provide so much more — it is a spiritual endeavor.

President Russell M. Nelson said, “Your mind is precious! It is sacred. Therefore, the education of one’s mind is also sacred. Indeed, education is a religious responsibility. Of course, our opportunities and abilities will vary a great deal. But, in pursuit of one’s education, individual desire is more important than is the institution you choose; personal drive is far more significant than is the faculty.”3

Imagine how different your experience through higher education could be if you felt a purpose beyond the pressure. If you don’t currently feel that your education is expanding your mind and bringing you joy, you can apply this challenge in your life: cultivate a desire to learn!

To cultivate means to prepare the land for growth or to try to acquire or develop a quality or skill.4 Similarly, we can cultivate a desire to learn by preparing our minds for growth and creating an environment for learning.

“[The Lord] granteth unto men according to their desire.”5 Brian Ashton, vice president of field operations at BYU-Pathway Worldwide, explained in his devotional that, “wanting to learn something is usually necessary to access God’s help.” 

Alma explained to us that when we plant a seed of desire, it will grow and enlarge our souls, enlighten our understanding, and become delicious to us. “[I]f ye can do no more than desire to [learn], let this desire work in you…”6

Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “The enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do and be good and to serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity.”7 Cultivating a desire to learn requires us to rely on the grace of our Savior. His grace can help us to be more and do more than we can on our own. 

Finding joy in learning

Learning is an eternal journey that can be enlightening, empowering, and ennobling. Finding joy in the journey, as bumpy as the path may be, is what God intends for each of us. In fact, the Lord told us that “men are that they might have joy.”8 Our learning can be so much more than a means to making more money, as important as money can be, learning can boost confidence and open doors to great experiences in life.

Do your best to be very involved in your courses, and class groups, and see how everything you’re experiencing applies to your eternal progression. Even though education requires hard work and dedication, focusing on blessings and opportunities and expressing gratitude to Heavenly Father help us to embrace the joy of learning.

How are you cultivating a joy in learning? Share in the comments below! 


1^ Russell M. Nelson, “Education: A Religious Responsibility,” (BYU-Idaho Devotional, Winter 2010)
2^  Doctrine and Covenants 88:79-80
3^  IBID
4^    The Merriam-Webster Dictionary
5^   See Alma 29:4
6^  IBID
7^   David A. Bednar, “The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality,” Liahona, Apr. 2012, 42–43
8^  2 Nephi 2:25

Comments on "Cultivating a Desire to Learn"

Victoria Odinkemere-Davidson says:

Thanks for sharing!

Roberto johnny says:

That is true. Having desire to learn is central to God’s help!

Jessica mudau says:

For you to have good a job or a good life is because of your education. Education is very important for your future and for your family’s future. The best thing about education is that no one will ever take it away from you, so it’s your’s forever.

Diovelito Eleguin Silva says:

That is correct!

mazzynarisma says:

I study with the intention to get closer to the Lord and His wonderful miracles. I feel those things when I pray and ask His guidance. I guess I’m that kind of person always hungry for knowledge, so I’m happy when I know something new because I can use it everyday to help my family and my work, especially in the work of God. But it isn’t easy. It takes diligence and perseverance, especially faith in God.

Walter Wisdom says:

The Spiritual knowledge we acquire here on earth will rise with us in the resurrection… Then we should study to show our ourselves approved unto the Lord.

jose duran says:

I try to do my prayers before I start to read something, or when I’m going to have my gatherings.

Garmai Velecial Gaypue says:

It always great to learn this gospel truth that education is a religion requirement, it motivate me to cultivate desire to seek learning through work diligent and faith.

Kayleen says:

In Elder Bednar’s talk, he stated that the Lord will give us strength to overcome our circumstances through His atonement. If we properly apply this truth, our education will excel.

Kayleen says:

Our Heavenly Father wants us to be educated so we can be ready for whatever He sends our way, both here on earth and in heaven. Education is definitely all we take with us. Our stewardships are a great form of education. Learning is not limited to books; experience is important also. (D&C 88)

Kayleen says:

I’m glad the prophet stated in his 2010 devotional that having an education doesn’t mean you have wisdom. They are two different things. You need to have the wisdom to know when to use your education. A lot of people don’t understand that education isn’t enough, you need to gain it and use it wisely. I appreciate everyone’s comments.

Thelma says:

How I am cultivating joy in learning is by trying as best as I can to apply what I learn in my life. As I come to realize how relevant the knowledge I am gaining is helping me be a better person, I then find myself excited to obtain more knowledge.

Lauren Conrad says:

Great insight, Thelma! I love how you pointed out that gaining knowledge can help us become better people when we apply what we learn.

oseph Ojelade says:

I am cultivating a joy in learning by expanding my mindset toward learning new things, especially about topics I once had no interest in, and I am now becoming more open to learning and growing. I have noticed an increased desire to learn, which has helped me to develop more thought-provoking questions to learn and inquire more.

Lauren Conrad says:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Joseph! Asking questions is so powerful.

Salome Adikuila Cokata says:

Knowing that I gain more knowledge and intelligence through diligence and obedience and to have so much more advantage in the next life…oh…I just get so excited about learning. Even though I sometimes find certain aspects of the course difficult…I am still excited and feel blessed to know that through it all, I have so much advantage in the next life…its worth the sacrifice.The sacrifice of living in a house that’s without electricity, and sitting in the dark at times during gathering, or going to the chapel so I can sit in the light…I am still excited because in the end it’s all worth it.

Lauren Conrad says:

Salome, your example of sacrifice and dedication is inspiring! I love the perspective you choose to have on education.

Moses Ime Ekpenyong says:

President Dieter Uchtdorf says that education is not merely a good idea but it is a commandment, pondering on this quote enable me know that i have been commanded by my heavenly father to keep all is commandment. I experience a great deal of joy knowing fully well that am keeping the lords commandment by my desire to learn…

Steve Younjeteh Deedweh says:

I really love what the prophet said In 2010 when he was addressing BYU students. He said, “Education is our religious responsibility.” President Nelson is so inspiring. I really know that if we get education, we will be able to take care of ourselves and our family as well as magnify our calling.

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