Quotes on Knowledge

See also: 2 Nephi 9:28; Helaman 16:19-21; 2 Peter 3:3-4; D&C 93:30; D&C 131:6  

The knowledge explosion of which the world is so proud is not of man’s creation.  It is his discovery of portions of the unlimited knowledge and information which is part of God’s knowledge.  How we use it is determined by whether we are of the eternal kingdom of God or a part of the temporary understanding of the world. — President Howard W. Hunter, General Conference, October 1973

“Let us not be deceived by the learning and sophistries and the wickedness of this world.  Let us not forget that God lives, that we are his children, that his purpose is to bring us to immortality and eternal life.  Let us always remember and keep in mind that all man has learned and accomplished, together with all that he will yet learn and accomplish in mortality, is as a drop in the ocean compared to the knowledge and works of God.  Let us remember that in the light of God’s knowledge, and he knows all things, still his instruction to us – against that total knowledge – is that, above all else, the one thing of most importance to us is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.”  (Elder Marion G. Romney) Book of Mormon Student Manual, p. 108

A little spiritual knowledge is a great deal better than mere opinions and notions and ideas, or even very elaborate arguments. — President Lorenzo Snow, Journal of Discourses, 23:293

If I have learned something through prayer, supplication and perseverance in seeking to know the truth, and I tell it to you, it will not be knowledge unto you. — President Joseph F. Smith

A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge.  For if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth.  Hence it needs revelation to assist us, and give us knowledge of the things of God. — Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:588

Any intelligent man may learn what he wants to learn.  He may acquire knowledge in any field, though it requires much thought and effort.  It takes more than a decade to get a high school diploma; it takes an additional four years for most people to get a college degree; it takes nearly a quarter-century to become a great physician.  Why, oh, why do people think they can fathom the most complex spiritual depths without the necessary experimental and laboratory work accompanied by compliance with the laws that govern it?  Absurd it is, but you will frequently find popular personalities, who seem never to have lived a single law of God, discoursing in interviews on religion.  How ridiculous for such persons to attempt to outline for the world a way of life!  — President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, September 1978, pp. 4- 5

Isaiah 5:21 states:  They are “wise in their own eyes.”  President N. Eldon Tanner illustrated the necessity of heeding this warning.  He noted that when people “become learned in the worldly things such as science and philosophy, [they] become self-sufficient and are prepared to lean unto their own understanding, even to the point where they think they are independent of God; and because of their worldly learning they feel that if they cannot prove physically, mathematically, or scientifically that God lives, they can and should feel free to question and even to deny God and Jesus Christ.  Then many of our professors begin to teach perverse things, to lead away disciples after them; and our youth whom we send to them for learning accept them as authority, and many are caused to lose their faith in God. . . .

“How much wiser and better it is for man to accept the simple truths of the gospel and to accept as authority God, the Creator of the world, and his Son Jesus Christ, and to accept by faith those things which he cannot disprove and for which he cannot give a better explanation.  He must be prepared to acknowledge that there are certain things – many, many things – that he cannot understand.”  (In Conference Report, Oct. 1968, pp. 48-49.) Old Testament Student Manual, 1 Kings – Malachi, p. 142

If men [and we would add women] would be great in goodness, they must be intelligent, for no man can do good unless he knows how; therefore seek after knowledge, all knowledge, and especially that which is from above, which is wisdom to direct in all things, and if you find any thing that God does not know, you need not learn that thing; but strive to know what God knows, and use that knowledge as God uses it, and then you will be like him; [you] will . . . have charity, love one another, and do each other good continually, and for ever. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Who We Are and What God Expects Us to Do,” BYU Devotional, September 15, 1987

Jesus taught about priorities when He said, “Seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (JST, Matt. 6:38, in Matt. 6:33, footnote a). “Seek . . . first to build up the kingdom of God” means to assign first priority to God and to His work.  The work of God is to bring to pass the eternal life of His children (see Moses 1:39), and all that this entails in the birth, nurturing, teaching, and sealing of our Heavenly Father’s children.  Everything else is lower in priority.  Think about that reality as we consider some teachings and some examples on priorities.  As someone has said, if we do not choose the kingdom of God first, it will make little difference in the long run what we have chosen instead of it.

As regards knowledge, the highest priority religious knowledge is what we receive in the temple.  That knowledge is obtained from the explicit and symbolic teachings of the endowment, and from the whisperings of the Spirit that come as we are desirous to seek and receptive to hear the revelation available to us in that sacred place. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, General Conference, April 2000

If a person seeks to obtain wisdom in his life, the first step he must take is to seek the Lord, “to establish his righteousness.”  He must come to a realization that he is inadequate in and of himself.  He must in sincerity call upon God with full purpose of heart. “Seek, and ye shall find” (Matt. 7:7 ) has ever been and is now the pattern and the promise.  Doing this, a person may – and it is the only way he can – be led to a knowledge of God from which springs that “profound reverence” declared by the Psalmist to be the beginning of wisdom. — President Marion G. Romney, “Converting Knowledge into Wisdom,” Ensign, July 1983, p. 2

It is easier to perceive error than to find truth, for the former lies on the surface and is easily seen, while the latter lies in the depth, where few are willing to search for it. — Goethe

Wisdom comes through effort.  All good things require effort.  That which is worth having will cost part of your physical being, your intellectual power and your soul power – “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”  (Matt. 7:7)  But you have to seek, you have to knock.  On the other hand, sin thrusts itself upon you.  It walks beside you, it tempts you, it entices, it allures.  You do not have to put forth effort.  It is like the poor, fallen woman who lies in wait to deceive.  It is like the billboard advertising attracting you to drink and to smoke.  It is like the message that comes into your very homes with the television and radio or the golden packet put right into your hand.  Evil seeks you, and it requires effort and fortitude to combat it.  But truth and wisdom are gained only by seeking, by prayer, and by effort.  — President David O. McKay, Conference Report, October 1965, p. 145

Hidden knowledge is not unfindable.  It is available to all who really search.  Christ said, “ . . . seek and ye shall find.” (Matt. 7:7)  Spiritual knowledge is not available merely for the asking; even prayers are not enough.  It takes persistence and dedication of one’s life.  The knowledge of things in secular life are of time and are limited; the knowledge of the infinite truths are of time and eternity. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, October 1968, p. 129

The principle of knowledge is the principle of salvation. This principle can be comprehended by the faithful and diligent; and every one that does not obtain knowledge sufficient to be saved will be condemned.  The principle of salvation is given us through the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p. 212

This intelligence must endure . . . . The glory and intelligence that God has prepared for the faithful, no man knoweth.  Should not this fill every heart with peace and joy – that there is no end to the progress of knowledge? — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 8:155

It is not wisdom that we should have all knowledge at once presented before us; but that we should have a little at a time; then we can comprehend it.  President Smith then read the 2nd Epistle of Peter, 1st chapter, 16th to last verses, and dwelt upon the 19th verse with some remarks.

Add to your faith knowledge, etc.  The principle of knowledge is the principle of salvation.  This principle can be comprehended by the faithful and diligent; and every one that does not obtain knowledge sufficient to be saved will be condemned.  The principle of salvation is given us through the knowledge of Jesus Christ. — The Doctrine of Calling & Election,” Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 297-98

When we get to understand all knowledge, all wisdom, that it is necessary for us to understand in the flesh, we will be like clay in the hands of the potter, willing to be molded and fashioned according to the will of him who has called us to this great and glorious work, of purifying ourselves and our fellow-beings, and of preparing the nations of the earth for the glory that awaits them through obedience. Discourses of Brigham Young, 223

The object of this existence is to learn, which we can only do a little at a time. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 87

Everyone should learn something new every day.  You all have inquiring minds and are seeking truth in many fields.  I sincerely hope your greatest search is in the realm of spiritual things, because it is there that we are able to gain salvation and make the progress that leads to eternal life in our Father’s kingdom.

The most important knowledge in the world is gospel knowledge.  It is a knowledge of God and his laws, of those things that men must do to work out their salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, “The Most Important Knowledge,” Ensign, May 1971