Monday, April 30, 2012

Increase in Learning

I have not reviewed many books on my blog but every once in a while I find a book which has changed my thinking and has helped me move on in my mortal experience. Such is the book "Increase in Learning" by David A. Bednar. This book started me off on a new reading of the Book of Mormon last Fall. To respond to Elder Bednar's challenge to look for the strengthening power of the atonement in my reading I have found many more evidences of that power.
Elder Bednar was hesitant to write this book because he felt this type of learning could not be taught from a book. This increase of learning really comes through the Holy Ghost so reading about it might give knowledge but the Holy Ghost would be the one to teach the heart. So the writer and editors came up with a new way to present the book. Elder Bednar asks his readers many questions which they may answer in the extra large margins on the side. Accompanying the book is a CD which has a classroom of Young Adults discussing this book with Elder Bednar. They ask him questions about his writing and he masterfully leads them to answering the questions themselves. These video clips are powerful. My favorite is a clip with Elder and Sister Bednar being interviewed by Sheri Dew, the CEO of Deseret Book Co. From that clip I learned something I have struggled to understand for years. The brethren of the church have been admonishing us to look for Doctrine, Principles and then apply them in our lives. I have been trying to understand how to distinguish them apart. This task has been frustrating. Being unwise, I have even tried to teach this to my students. Well, guess what? Doctrine, Principles, and Application cannot fit into a nice clean box.

They actually intersect and sometimes are interchangeable. What is commonly an application like, go out and serve your neighbor can be a doctrinal truth as is taught in Joshua 24. In the church we teach application with a fervor because we want to increase righteous behavior. But without the correct doctrine the applications turn into a list of to-dos. If you have struggled with more dynamic learning and teaching, I recommend this book. The E-Reader format has the videos embedded and come along as you read each section. Below is another brief description of this book.

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