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'Vital truths are expressed in life'

Knowledge is intended to travel in a convoy of other Christian qualities, otherwise precious perspective will be missing, said Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Council of the Twelve.

Giving the keynote address at BYU Campus Education Week Aug. 18, Elder Maxwell spoke about "The Inexhaustible Gospel," saying that such a theme conveys the vastness and preciousness of the enormous body of knowledge members call the gospel.The scriptural definitions and insights pertaining to terms like truth, knowledge, intelligence and education "gives us an understanding of these concepts which differs markedly from that of the world," he explained.

"Each is added upon or affected by the relevant revelations. These differences are especially worth noting during an Education Week," Elder Maxwell continued. His address was the beginning of four days of educational lectures and activities on campus Aug. 18-21.

The scriptures make it clear that knowledge is to be associated with other virtues such as patience, humility, charity and kindness, he remarked.

"Gaining knowledge and becoming more Christlike are two aspects of a single process,' which process is part of beingvaliant' in our testimony of Jesus," Elder Maxwell said, quoting from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism.

"The gospel is inexhaustible because there is so much to know, and so much to become, as vital truths are not merely accumulated in the mind but are expressed in life.

"The highest education," he continued, "includes the salvational truths, bringing us a knowledge of `things as they really are and things as they really will be.' " (Jacob 4:13.)

Elder Maxwell added: "Brilliance, by itself, is not wholeness nor happiness. Knowledge, if possessed for its own sake and unapplied, leaves one's life unadorned. A member might describe the Lord's doctrines but not qualify to enter the Lord's House. One could produce much commentary without being exemplary. One might be intellectually brilliant but Bohemian in behavior. One might use his knowledge to seek pre-eminence or dominion. Such are not Jesus' ways, for He asks that perception and implementation be part of the same spiritual process."

Christ does not dominate by His intellect, but leads by example and love, Elder Maxwell explained. "There is no arrogance flowing from the keenest of all minds. He does not seek to conquer or to prosper `according to His genius.' (Alma 30:17.)

Elder Maxwell said a few modern individuals end up "looking beyond the mark" as "their minds seek to run far ahead of their confirming behavior."

"Exciting exploration is preferred by them to plodding the implementation, as speculation and argumentation seem more fun to these few individuals rather than consecration, so they even try to soften the hard doctrines. By not obeying, they lack knowing and thus cannot defend their faith, and a few become critics instead of defenders." (John 7:17.)

He added: "As far as salvational truths are concerned, the secular knowledge explosion in recent years - with all of its many and unarguable benefits to mankind - has not been a bang at all, but merely a whimper. It was the Restoration which provided the explosion of salvational knowledge!"

Noting the important role of secular knowledge, Elder Maxwell said Latter-day Saints should be just as eager as others to learn secular truths. Traditional education is even more beneficial when it has a spiritual dimension, he said.

"God possesses perfect knowledge, but He also possesses perfect love, mercy, etc. What a contrast with those mortals who are bright but bad, and who are clever but carnal! Even genius without goodness can be dangerous.

"By accessing the inexhaustible divine databank through meekness and righteousness thereby utilizing the Spirit, scriptures, and prophets, special wisdom is opened to us as the Spirit teaches us of `things as they really are and things as they really will be.' " (Jacob 4:13.)

Elder Maxwell remarked: "Many in the world hold back from making the `leap of faith' because they have already jumped to the Korihor conclusions," such as "God never was nor ever will be; there is no redeeming Christ; man cannot know the future; man cannot know of that which he cannot see; whatsoever a man does is no crime; and death is the end."

"One basic limitation of worldly wisdom is its lack of longitudinality and of precious perspective. Worldly wisdom cannot `see afar off,' and without a spiritual memory and spiritual will, past mistakes are repeated and folly is resumed!"

The world in its wisdom constantly seeks to accommodate the natural man, while gospel wisdom constantly urges members to put off the natural man, Elder Maxwell explained. "This is a pivotal point, and it makes all the difference!

"Being so immersed in the gospel framework, we sometimes fail to realize how illuminating gospel truths are with regard to so many issues of the day. For instance, given the plan of salvation with our need to experience this mortal school and acquire a mortal body, and the very preciousness of human life, we see the awful practice of widespread abortion differently.

"Similarly, striving to have the `mind of Christ' includes purity of thought and letting virtue garnish our thoughts unceasingly. Hence we view pornography as an awful and enslaving thing. We cannot feel otherwise, even if practices such as abortion and pornography are legally and constitutionally tolerated."

This does not mean members expect others to share their views or to understand them, Elder Maxwell commented. "Some will not even tolerate our views and will attempt to shame us. But if we really are saints of the Holy One,' we will endure thecrosses of the world, and despise the shame of it.' " (2 Ne. 9:18.)

Salvational truths combine longevity and relevancy; they contain span and significance, he continued.

"Ultimate wisdom enables us to see Jesus as the Light of the World, but further, we also come to realize that it is by His light we should see everything else! The gospel's bright light thereby helps us see God, ourselves, others, life and even the universe more correctly and more deeply.

"How intellectually amazing the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is! The gospel is truly inexhaustible! It is truly a marvelous work and a wonder!"

Elder Maxwell concluded: "Our men and women should be truly educated and articulate as to secular knowledge, but should also be educated and articulate in the things of the Spirit."