January 25th Increase in Learning Reading Group

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(This is the text transcript from the Reading Group Discussion about Increase in Learning Chapter 1 Related Readings. This discussion was held on Seek on January 25, 2012.)

Emily Watts
Welcome to Week 2 of our discussion of Increase in Learning, by Elder David A. Bednar! This week we'll be talking about the Related Readings for Chapter 1 of the book. Please join us!

Beth Kirby
I was worried when I first came here and this plugin wasn't showing.

Emily Watts
Glad you're here, Beth! We're hoping this version ends up being a little more user-friendly. For one thing, you won't have to refresh in order to be able to see the whole thread!

Beth Kirby
That is going to make this so much easier. Thank you.

Emily Watts
I was particularly struck by the questions of the Spirit/angel/guide. Elder Bednar has heightened my sensitivity to questions. "What desirest thou?" I found myself pondering that. What a great opportunity to consider, "Yeah, what do I really want here?"

Maggie Olson
Hello Beth and Emily, I wasn't here last week, but would love to at least evesdrop this week!

Emily Watts
I want to start by posing a question that was raised at the end of last week’s discussion. Nadine asked, Why did we reprint that whole long passage from 1 Nephi when we can so easily just find and mark that in our own scriptures. What did YOU think about that?

Yvette Burton
I loved having them there. To me it just emphasized their importance.

Beth Kirby
I liked having them there. It was far easier for me to actually study and make notes rather than either having to find my quad or go back and forth between the Gospel Library App and my Notebook.

Emily Watts
I can tell you we discussed this quite extensively with Elder Bednar. He felt (and I agree) that people might see these verses differently if they read them in a different context. I know that my own scriptures are all marked up with previous observations, and it was great to come to it new. I especially liked having the wider margins for writing in. P.S. Welcome, Maggie!

Beth Kirby
That's another good point. It was great to have a nice clean copy of the verses.

Maggie Olson
Unless something else gets left out, I like the feeling of continuity....

Emily Watts
What jumped out at you this time through?

Yvette Burton
It really changed the way I think about agency and learning. It struck my heart in a way that I have not experienced before. My own thoughts and emotions sometimes get in my way.

Colleen Lamarre-Treagan
I think we all get caught up in the magnitude of the people involved in the scriptures and forget they are/were 'regular' people for their time, but with loads of faith!

Colleen Lamarre-Treagan
Or we don't have faith enough we are valued enough to be answered

Beth Kirby
Sometimes I have a tendency to want more than a still small voice and if I don't get it, I don't think I've received an answer.

Colleen Lamarre-Treagan
"be still and know that I am God" is my favorite quote these days. Being still is a problem for me.

Beth Kirby
I think that is a problem for a lot of us Colleen. This world is set to high speed. Go, go, go; Give it to me now, etc...

Maggie Olson
Yes, Colleen... we expect angels, and miss the "still small" answers.

Emily Watts
That plays into the reading "Quick to Observe." I loved his insights into how we can become better at recognizing the Spirit's whisperings.

Emily Watts
Page 55 People asking Sister Bednar, "How did you know?" She has figured out how to hear the Spirit in the fast-paced world.

Beth Kirby
I would love to talk to her and find out what her secret is. Though actually, Elder Bednar has given us that secret.

Colleen Lamarre-Treagan
Or being overt and wanting to have a clear answer. The unclear ones I put in my 'overthink' and not my 'kiss' folder

Natalie Watts Gardner
So maybe that's what we should "desire". When asked, "what desirest thou" maybe we should ask "to be quick to observe."

Emily Watts
Natalie--what a good desire. Sometimes I have to pray for the DESIRE to DESIRE that!

Krisy Bennett Shaughnessy
I agree with what Beth has said. In our day and age, we have technology making it so we can communicate in an instant with anyone, anywhere. It's caused us to demand answers immediately and makes it hard for us to ponder and listen for the soft promptings that allow us to find answers and insights for ourselves.

Emily Watts
Krisy, how can we use the "instantness" of technology to bless our lives instead of frustrate us?

Beth Kirby
The church apps are a good use of instant technology blessing our lives.

Colleen Lamarre-Treagan
I LOVE the Church apps, Beth.

Beth Kirby
Colleen they make it so much easier for me to actually study and take notes.

Charlene Leach
Is there sound to this or is it reading and answering questions?

Emily Watts
Charlene--no sound, just typing as fast as we can! [grin.]

Yvette Burton
I tend to overthink things too. I know Heavenly Father answers my prayers the hard part for me is trusting myself to hear the answer.

Colleen Lamarre-Treagan
Okay, Natalie, I desirest quick discernment

Maggie Olson
Nice answer, Colleen!

Colleen Lamarre-Treagan
I'm still waiting maggie, lol

Beth Kirby
Cases like this almost makes me wish I had one of those dictation applications...

Beth Kirby
Yvette, I have a hard time trusting myself to hear the answer. What can we do to change that?

Yvette Burton
Like one of the talks mention. There is power in knowledge. My goal~ to know the Spirit so well there is no room for fear or doubt. Getting there but it is a work in progress

Emily Watts
Yvette and Beth, I have heard Elder Bednar say that the important thing is to act, and if the impulse is a good one, we don't have to spend a lot of time wondering if it came from the Spirit or not.

Beth Kirby
Emily, I am trying that and already experienced this in pondering my degree program options. I started down a path that seemed right, but found it wasn't. But it was a gentle correction and I quickly understood that God has a better idea.

Stacey Boam
Beth, I think it just takes practice like everything else. Once we have trusted in ourselves once we can learn again and again.

Emily Watts
Stacey--good point. We learn by doing.

Colleen Lamarre-Treagan
I think we have to remember that Heavenly Father pulls no punches. The answer is the answer, enough said. But I don't give myself credit for recognizing it.

Yvette Burton
We can know the Spirit by inviting it into our lives, acknowledging it when we feel it afterall that is how I taught my children to recognize the Spirit when they were little.

Emily Watts
Yvette, seems like if we listened to ourselves the way we want our children to listen to us, we'd be doing better!

Yvette Burton
So true!!!

Emily Watts
Again from p. 55 "Sister Bednar frequently prays for the spiritual eyes to see those who have a need."

Krisy Bennett Shaughnessy
Emily, maybe we can enjoy the instantness of technology by asking Heavenly Father for his cell phone number so we can just text him? [joking!] It is an excellent question though. Technology has made Increase in Learning a valuable tool (I have it on my iPad and can read/watch Elder Bednar anywhere)! And I agree with Colleen, I have several of the Church apps and they allow me to have a wealth of knowledge with my on my phone and iPad constantly and instantly.

Natalie Watts Gardner
I remember Elder Bednar telling us that his wife would go to church each Sunday praying that the Lord would show her someone that needed help/love that day and every sunday he would watch as after sacrament meeting she would always find someone new to visit with/sit by/ help.

Emily Watts
Beth, isn't it interesting how God always seems to have a better idea?

Maureen Thomas
Finially logged on - living in Australia, it's Australia Day and 7.16am Thursday morning! found it nteresting that the insert in The Ensing for Jan, which we just got yesterday contain at talk by our area presidency person used Elder Bednar's pattern for learning o get the point accross!

Maggie Olson
we need to remember to search it out in our own minds first, though...

Colleen Lamarre-Treagan
I find the types of promptings I use to discount were those that someone or other needed my attention or a pick-me-up and the person I was thinking of at the time was someone who I thought had it all. Comparing my insides with their outsides made me feel there was nothing I could give these people they needed. But looks can be deceiving and now I act on those promptings.

Beth Kirby
Yes. What was also profound to me was that this time I didn't get discouraged and think that I had clearly chased off the Holy Ghost. I think reading Elder Bednar's book helped with that.

Emily Watts
Wow--we're international! So cool! Thanks for coming, Maureen--and all of you, really. This is so much fun.

Beth Kirby
I liked that too Maureen.

Emily Watts
The big aha for me reading the book this time through was the statement on p. 60 "Discernment is so much more than recognizing right from wrong. It helps us distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant, the important from the unimportant, and the necessary from that which is merely nice." So the gift is SO VITAL!

Beth Kirby
I have been using the online study notebook for taking notes and adding my own feelings and insights as I read. I also now find other examples in my church readings of the very principles Elder Bednar talks about.

Emily Watts
And how do we get that gift? By being "quick to observe."

Natalie Watts Gardner
we really do need a "like button"

Beth Kirby
Emily, that IS vital. I often struggle with such discernment (and I guess I can't always keep blaming it on my ADHD [grin]

Beth Kirby
Yes we do Natalie.

Sherstin Hatch
I think a lot of recognizing the spirit comes in consequence from removing distractions. That point was taught to me over and over again as I read these related readings. Pg. 40-44 is an example. I think our current culture is FAR REMOVED from an environment where the spirit can be present. I thought I was doing a fairly good job balancing gospel and the world in my home, but now I think that our efforts have not been enough.

Emily Watts
Sherstin, I think distraction is one of the big evils of our age. That's why discernment is so important!

Maggie Olson
Emily, what do you define as "quick to observe"? I think that has many meanings.

Natalie Watts Gardner
I find it interesting in the story of Nephi that because of his "desire" and the way he accounted for the things he saw he essentially gained a "special witness" of the Savior.

Emily Watts
Maggie, Elder Bednar defines it like this "When we are quick to observe, we promptly look or notice and obey."

Colleen Lamarre-Treagan
There is a video on YouTube with a comparison of the Book of Mormon to your cell phone and how they can both do the same thing.

Colleen Lamarre-Treagan
It is by a member of the Tabernacle Choir who was also a professional singer before he dedicated more of his time to Church

Beth Kirby
Sherstin, I think you've really pinned down why it's so hard.

Lily Whitfield
I agree, Emily...his teaching on discernment helped me to recognize that gift in a much broader view than I previously had..

Beth Kirby
His discussion of discernment also helped me to see that I was better at that than I ever realized. I had not noticed how often I had used that gift in my life.

Stephanie Collins
I had never given thought to I Nephi chapters 12-14 showing us how we can learn through the Holy Ghost teaching us.

Emily Watts
Stephanie, that's why it's so cool to have those scriptures in this different context.

Maggie Olson
It's that "obey" part....I question too much, I think

Yvette Burton
I loved the comparison of the Spirit and the Liahona.

Stephanie Collins
Me too, Yvette!

Colleen Lamarre-Treagan
YES, Yvette, that was great

Beth Kirby
Yvette, I did too. It just really cemented his teachings.

Emily Watts
Me too, Yvette. Makes it very concrete.

Emily Watts
It's funny because we think, "Why didn't they just pay attention to the Liahona?" Are they looking at us now and say, "Why don't they just pay attention to the Spirit?

Sherstin Hatch
The liahona quit working when they were contentious, rude, slothful or FORGETFUL. Yikes! Those are every day occurrences in our house, not to mention T.V. movies, music. Did anyone else feel the same way?

Maggie Olson
‎ "like", Emily!

Colleen Lamarre-Treagan
One thing I have been able to make work for me is when I am trying to make a decision and a past even pops into my mind I try to concentrate on how that even played out. In the past I would just consider it a flash of memory, but there are lessons to be learned and followed. Sometimes the question has been answered for us before.

Stacey Boam
One way I try to get rid of distractions in my life, is I take time everyday or week to turn stuff off. Technology is good, but sometimes I miss just have quiet time to think and ponder. It has become the best part of the day for me. No Phone, no TV, no iPod, I'm totally unplugged.

Beth Kirby
Stacey, that's a great idea and one I've been trying too. At first I was uncomfortable with the silence but as I kept at it, I found myself feeling more and more in tune with the Spirit.

Yvette Burton
I feel so empowered to chart my course through this life and it is only the first chapter.

Beth Kirby
Good point Emily. And yes Sherstin. I often feel the same way.

Natalie Watts Gardner
Sherstin, YES

Lily Whitfield
Beth-exactly how I feel re discernment -makes me extra grateful to recognize it

Krisy Bennett Shaughnessy
And "like" Sherstin! That's how it is in our house too! Yikes!

Emily Watts
I don't want to feel guilty every time I turn on the TV, though. Is it never okay?

Emily Watts
I worry that when I leave this life I'm going to be accountable for all the time I've wasted.

Natalie Watts Gardner
The more I don't have the TV on, the more I realize it was SUCKING the life out of me and my family. My husband would come home and the kids wouldn't even greet him because they were ZONED OUT...

Sherstin Hatch
Me too.

Emily Watts
Getting comfortable with silence. Interesting way to think about it, Beth.

Natalie Watts Gardner
Verbal accounting in prayer, "Heavenly Father I feel like the answer I'm getting is this so I'm moving forward with it - stop me if I'm wrong"

Emily Watts
Seems like all the most important stuff in my life happens outside my comfort zone.

Yvette Burton
Love that Natalie.

Emily Watts
Sherstin, I love that story too. Isn't Sister Bednar AWESOME!

Natalie Watts Gardner
Visual accounting - we raise our hand to ask/answer a quesiton, sustain someone in church...temple...

Beth Kirby
I guess I need to remember you quoting Elder Bednar to Natalie too... Elder Bednar really emphasized that in one of the video clips. I thought I had stepped far out of my comfort zone, but maybe not far enough...

Emily Watts
Baby steps are a start!

Beth Kirby
I just went through an experience where I did that Natalie. I grew from it too.

Natalie Watts Gardner
‎"faith is strengthened, I feel it grow whenever I obey" Faith - primary childrens songbook

Beth Kirby
Thanks Sherstin! While reading I've been using the Desert Bookshelf version to watch the video clips. I hadn't even opened the CD. Thank you Sherstin for pointing me to that. I'll watch it as soon as we are done here.

Maggie Olson
Emily, is there a way to print or save this discussion? So MANY good thoughts.

Natalie Watts Gardner
I can't remember who said it, but it was the idea that FAITH is a gift from God - it is something bestowed upon us through obedience - not something we just conjure up within ourselves.

Yvette Burton
The knowlege that I am not alone EVER has helped me through some very difficult things this year. Sometimes the only thing we can do is act in faith and trust.

Sherstin Hatch
I don't know what I think about the "stop me if I'm wrong part." I don't know if He can because that would be "being acted upon". I guess, if you've asked for it, it's not? My sister told me that she asked something similar in her prayers, and I didn't know if that is how you receive an answer. Is it being acted upon?

Emily Watts
Maggie, we're going to post the whole thread in an article on Seek.

Beth Kirby
Good points Natalie and Yvette!

Sherstin Hatch
You're welcome, Beth.

Maggie Olson
Thank you, I'll check it out there. I like Seek, by the way!

Lynn Watkins
The idea that receiving is not passive is important in many ways in the church. Receiving requires action. It is receive the Holy Ghost...not grant the Holy Ghost. Receiving happens by preparing ourselves and acting on the things we learn.

Sherstin Hatch
I love the idea that Faith is birthed from obedience! Thanks for the reminder.

Yvette Burton
What is Seek?

Beth Kirby
Shersitn, I went forth with a plan and asked Heavenly Father to let me know if I was off course. He did just that.

Beth Kirby
‎ *LIKE!* Lynn.

Emily Watts
Yvette--when we finish our discussion, explore the site a little further. It's a collection of free videos and content that makes it easy to explore Deseret Book products.

Beth Kirby
I think Emily is referring to seek.deseretbook.com

Maggie Olson
seek.deseretbook.com.

Emily Watts
Right, Beth and Maggie!

Donald Treeman
Hello

Emily Watts
We're about out of time. Come back next week for chapter 2! Before we check out, though, if you were here last week, what do you think about the format of the discussion this week versus last? Was it easier? Harder? More or less frustrating? We're still working on getting this figured out, so your comments are welcome!

Natalie Watts Gardner
I don't think saying "stop me if I'm wrong" implies taking away our agency - I guess I should say, "help me to know if this isn't Thy will" I didn't mean to imply that Heavely Father actually come down and physically stop us...although that would be nice sometimes...

Natalie Watts Gardner
You need a "like" button.

Beth Kirby
It was much easier, Emily. (And these discussions are just far too short!)

Emily Watts
Hi, Donald! Sorry we missed you (mostly) this week, but please join us again.

Maggie Olson
I wasn't here last week, but this format was easy. We just need a Like button!

Emily Watts
Beth--I agree! It's one of the fastest hours of my week!

Beth Kirby
Same here, Emily.

Maggie Olson
So many insights, and a lot of food for thought!

Donald Treeman
I will be here next week. Mountain Time not Pacific

Natalie Watts Gardner
So what's the goal? A lot of talk is only fluff unless we can go away with a goal for a course of action...I guess that's a personal thing - though it helps to be able to "return and report"

Lynn Watkins
This format is much better than last week. Very easy to keep up with the current comment

Emily Watts
Maggie--sorry about the lack of Like. The format doesn't allow for it, but I think it works just to type "LIKE" when we're feeling it! Donald--sorry about that. Where did you find out about us? Natalie--Come back next week and tell us what actions you took and how they affected you! That's a good goal for all of us. See you then!

Sherstin Hatch
I just re-read our discussion. This is what I am currently thinking about the Holy Ghost. That He is like the sun, CONTINUALLY shining, warming, directing. Through our choices, "acting," we can turn toward Him, feel his influence and be directed. Or we can chose distractions, causing us to turn from the Holy Ghost, and face darkness, and uncertainty. King Benjamin talked about "withdrawing yourselves from the spirit of the Lord". So I wonder about the idea that "we can't force the spirit" because it seems like that and "always have His Spirit to be with us" are conflicting truths. Is "receiving the spirit" forcing it? Does He only come when He wants too? Or is He constant if we but choose to let Him influence?

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