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How to retain spiritual ideals in academia

I recently graduated from dental school. In spite of the many pressures and demands on my time, the four years I spent in dental school were years of tremendous spiritual growth for me.

The same is true of the four years of predental study. There were several things I did in school to make sure that I didn't drift away from the Lord. i recommend the following:*Study the scriptures daily.

*Have personal and family prayer daily.

*Attend Church each week.

*Participate in institute of religion

*Accept and fulfill all Church callings and ipportunities for service.

*Dedicate the Sabbath as a day of rest from study as often as possible and practical.

*Strive to honor all covenants and commitments and to keep the commandments.

I not only grew spiritually by following these steps, but I was also blessed in my studies and in my performance at school. Even though I routinely spent 60 to 80 hours each week at school or studying, I made time for the Lord, and he helped me time after time when I needed His help. - Robert D. Stevenson, Moreno Valley, Calif.

How we did it:

Adopted 'success formula'

Whe I enrolled at Massachusetts Institute of Technology after eight years away from college, I had concerns about other areas of my life. However, my wife and I adopted the "success formula" of our former bishop in Vallejo, Calif., Randy Taylor.

Every morning before classes, regardless of how late I had studied or whether or not I had an exam that day, we read the Bokk of Mormon together. This has been a "success formula." I feel as if the Lord is right there with me through every exam and assignment. My study has been more purposeful and productive, and I have time for my family and the church. - VerrDon H. Mason, Weymouth, Mass.

Reserved time for Lord

When I entered graduate school, I was a recent convert. I made a commitment to myself to keep my priorities in order. no matter how pressing class demands were, I would reserve time each day for meaningful prayer and scripture study and save Sundays for the Lord and not for studying, homework or catching up on my cleaning.

If a theory, principle or idea presented in the classroom failed to "fit" with gospel principles, I knew the error lay in the secular theory and not in the gospel. - Victoria J. Chambers, Orem, Utah

One source of truth

As a former student and now college instructor, I have found it helps to remember there is only one source of truth in academic studies as well as religious matters. Truth is anything that is compatible with the scriptures and latter-day revelation.

Error is anything that is contrary to revealed knowledge, no matter how popularly accepted by the academic community. Unfortunately, error may have to be committed to memory to be used on tests, or in other academic assignments. I try to use as little energy on this as possible. In this way, I have confidence that what I have spent most of my time on will be part of what I take with me when I leave this life, and I won't have wasted my efforts on things with no eternal value. - Carolyn Wright, Oregon City, Ore.

Keep family strong

As a student family, we face special challenges in keeping the Lord first. Here are some things we do:

*Remember Heavenly Father is there to help. He will compensate for time spent in His service or with family.

*Use Sunday to strengthen our family ties.

*Take an institute of religion class as husband and wife every semester. This gives us our weekly time away form the children and helps us keep the purpose in perspective.

*Have family prayer, scripture study and family home evenings. - John and Heidi Alsup, Stillwater, Okla.

Spiritual must be first

One of the questions I posed to my LDS mentor at the mid-western university where I was pursuing my doctorate was whether to study on Sunday. Eighteen years later I still recall his response: "Yes, if you want to be the smartest man in the Telestial Kingdom." His response caused me to rearrange my priorities. Spiritual excellence must be first and intellectual excellence will flow as a most important part of spiritual excellence. - Terry Clapp, Phoenix, Ariz.

Matter of commitment

As a member of the faculty at Richland college in Dallas, Texas, since 1972, I have become well known as a Church member. By living my religion and by actively sharing information about the Church and its beliefs, I am respected by my colleagues and students and sought out for more information.

Maintaining a spiritual perspective, whether in an academic setting as a student or faculty member, or in any other work setting, is a matter of personal commitment, prayer and desire to keep the spirit of the Holy Ghost nearby. We are the ones who choose how we will live, regardless of the potential influences of our environment. - B. Lorraine Towles, Garland, Texas

Need faith in Lord

For me, the key to success was a deep abiding faith that the Lord wanted me ther, in that curriculum, at that time in my life. When you know you are doing what the Lord would have you be doing - then faith brings answers and miracles, especially in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

In the final weeks of a post-graduate program, I began typing me thesis involving collecting digitally encoded information. A month before graduation, the computer system for this data "died with no funding for repair." After two weeks of researching alternatives, I prayed more fervently.

I felt my only alternative was to build the necessary equipment from scratch. The miracles that followed are cherished entries in my journal, and the successful completion of my degree far exceeded my expectations. - Vinny DiGirolamo, LaPlata, Md.

Prayer, institute help

As a mature student attending a community college, I am amazed at how many opportunities I have to discuss or defend the gospel. The following things help me keep my spiritual perspective and balance:

*Attend Church meetings and institute classes.

*Fulfill Church callings

*Prepare for classes before Sunday so it's seldom necessary to study on Sunday.

*Pray for guidance. - Lois Kullberg, Vancouver, Wash.

How to checklist:

  1. Pray, study scriptures daily, individually and as a family.
  1. Attend Church, fulfill callings and keep the Sabbath day.
  1. Enroll in institute and share information about the gospel.
  1. Distinguish between secular theory and gospel truth.

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