Friday, September 27, 2013

Do Your Homework

Years ago I was asked to chair a committee of faculty from Brigham Young University and other schools with this question to study: What should be the future of higher education in the Church? Elder Neal A. Maxwell was then the commissioner of education. I told him I didn't think I could fulfill the assignment without the help of heaven. He asked if I would like a blessing. I've forgotten how it was arranged that I would see Elder Alvin R. Dyer, but that was especially pleasant for me, since I had been a priest once in a ward where he was the bishop, the president of my quorum. He listened sympathetically to my story, put his hands on my head, and gave me a blessing that included words like this as a promise: "In this assignment, and in many others which will come to you, your mind will be guided in channels toward the truth." That blessing gave me confidence, maybe too much confidence. The committee began its work. And after months of what seemed to me futile effort, I felt some desperation, much as you do when heaven seems to withhold its help in a task you know matters and is beyond you. I somehow managed to arrange another interview. This one was with President Harold B. Lee. He received me in a kindly way. In my anxiety, I soon blurted out my question: "President Lee, how do I get revelation?" He smiled. I am glad he didn't laugh, since it was an odd question to ask. But he answered my question with a story. It was essentially this. He said that during World War II he had been part of a group studying the question "What should the Church be doing for its members in the military service?" He said they conducted interviews at bases up and down the country. They had data gathered. They had the data analyzed. They went back for more interviews. But still, no plan emerged. Then he gave me the lesson, which I now give to you, in about these words: "Hal, when we had done all we knew how to do, when we had our backs to the wall, then God gave us the revelation. Hal, if you want to get revelation, do your homework." (see D&C 9:3-10) [From Elder Henry B. Eyring, To Draw Closer to God: A Collection of Discourses, p.91-103,105]

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