Ignorance Is Not a Virtue

This is part of the General Conference Odyssey.

Nathaniel quoted from Elder Haight’s talk, saying, “Modern man must replace uncertainties and doubt with a desire to know more of Jesus.”

I thought this went hand-in-hand with Franklin D. Richards’ talk on testimony:

[T]o obtain a testimony one must have a real desire to know the truth and must be willing to exert considerable effort.

The interested person must study the gospel, and the gospel is to be found primarily in the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price, the four standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In this dispensation the Lord has counseled us to “seek … out of the best books words of wisdom: seek learning, even by study. …” (D&C 88:118.)

Jesus said, “… know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32.)

I feel sure that part of this freedom Jesus refers to must be freedom from ignorance, as ignorance is a deterrent to happiness, growth, and development.

Through study of the scriptures we can understand our relationship to God and how the basic gospel principles apply to our daily lives. Our study, however, should be constant and intensive, for the gospel of Jesus Christ embraces all truth.

Hugh B. Brown once wrote,

We should all be interested in academic research. We must go out on the research front and continue to explore the vast unknown. We should be in the forefront of learning in all fields, for revelation does not come only through the prophet of God nor only directly from heaven in visions or dreams. Revelation may come in the laboratory, out of the test tube, out of the thinking mind and the inquiring soul, out of search and research and prayer and inspiration. We must be unafraid to contend for what we are thinking and to combat error with truth in this divided and imperiled world, and we must do it with the unfaltering faith that God is still in his heaven even though all is not well with the world.

As much as the scriptures warn against “the learned [who] think they are wise” (2 Nephi 9:28), modern leaders also preach against ignorance. The difficulty is finding the balance between continual learning and intellectual humility. Nonetheless, it should be clear that ignorance is not a virtue.

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