March 7th Increase in Learning Reading Group

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(This is the text transcript from the Reading Group Discussion about Increase in Learning Chapter 4: Doctrines, Principles, and Applications. This discussion was held on Seek on March 7, 2012.)

Deseret Book
Hi everyone! We apologize for the technical delay today! But we're glad you are here. :)

Beth
I'm glad to be here! These chats are always worth the wait. (:

Tina
Using a different email address each time might get sticky. I didn't want to but it wouldn't let me use the same one from last week. Fortunately I have a bunch of e-mail addresses but...

Deseret Book
It is tricky to have to use new email addresses - but a little secret, you can make up fake ones too. It just needs something in that part to let you sign in.

Deseret Book
Welcome to today’s discussion of Chapter 4! If you remember, when we left off last week, Emily challenged us to come prepared with an experience we’ve had with “What doctrine, if understood, would help me with...”

Deseret Book
Unfortunately Emily isn’t able to join us today because of some important meetings, but she asked me to help out and left us with her personal experience to start out our discussion today:

“Hi, friends! So sorry I can’t be with you today, but I thought I would try to “compensate” by leaving a post to share with you my own journey with doctrines, principles, and applications. I’ve got to tell you, it has been a really exciting one for me. I apologize, in advance, that this entry is LONG.

I decided to fill in the blank with something decidedly application-oriented that I have struggled with all my life: I am messy. I am a really terrible housekeeper. And it really has affected my family and how effective we are at getting things done and having people over and all kinds of things. I thought it might be kind of the ultimate test to apply the doctrine question to this problem. So I started playing with the framework.

Starting with “having a clean house” and “being organized at work” as desired applications, I derived the principle, or guideline for behavior, of “order.” What doctrine would be associated with the principle of “order”? I finally decided it was the plan of salvation. WHY should I want order in my life? Because it would help me be who Heavenly Father needed me to be. That’s pretty good motivation, actually.

Deseret Book
So, what are some principles that seem related to “order”?

Logan
It makes me think about the order of the family. Meaning, we all have roles to play and when we fulfill them, families function better.

Deseret Book
I agree Logan!

Tina
The scriptures say that all things should be done in wisdom and order. Our homes should model the temple, a house of orde.

Natalie
It makes me think of the order of the day. When I put my scripture study first and cleaning next they are much more likely to get done then when I leave them to the end of the day.

Deseret Book
Especially the importance of working together as a family.

Logan
When we don't keep order by fulfilling those roles (and there is a lack of order), then we have individuals that don't learn the important things: principles and ordinances of the gospel, general education, self reliance, etc.

Deseret Book
Great! Those are all great answers. And what I found as I thought about that question was that each of those answers could be observed in the scriptures. For example - keeping things in order like Natalie mentioned. Its about having our priorities straight.

Tina
I also think of organization when I think of order.

Deseret Book
For example, the order of events in the creation. There was a specific sequence. And it did matter. Have you ever thought about the fact that God could have created the whole world in one "day"? Why didn't He?

Natalie
I can't remember who talked about it in the General Conference but he said that when we put God first in the order of our priorities, then everything else will fall into it's proper place, and that doesn't mean that it will be the same every day.

@DB, maybe to teach us that it's not about sprinting. You can't do it all in a day and have it "be good".

Deseret Book
Exactly, Natalie!

Natalie
Breaking things up makes the tasks easier to manage, and less daunting

Beth
Maybe that we need to take our time - we shouldn't always be in a rush.

Tina
It's a good reminder that there is a time and season for everything.

Beth
And smaller tasks, as Natalie point out, is much less overwhelming than trying to do it all at once.

Natalie
If I leave a project to the last minute, chances are I will get it done but I am ALWAYS left wondering what it would have been like had I spent more time.

Deseret Book
I agree with both of you. Emily shared those thoughts with me in regards to her experience of applying the things Elder Bednar taught in this chapter and explained that the concepts work perfectly in temporal things as well as spiritual things.

Tina
...and without the last minute stress.

Natalie
I think, "yeah it's done but it could look or taste or be so much better" And it pays to mention that God had them return and report after each step.

Deseret Book
That as we come to understand the doctrines - even something temporal like the doctrine of order - that once we get it into our mind and heart, it gives us the ability to execute the applications.

Natalie
Like he wouldn't have let them go onto the next step till this one was completed to his standard.

Beth
Sometimes it's challenging - especially with my AD/HD...

Deseret Book
I agree Natalie - the accountability of "return and report" is SO important!

Natalie
That kind of thing feeds my "checklist" frenzy though

Deseret Book
Did any of you have experiences this past week of putting into action the concept of "what doctrine, if understood, would help me with ________" ?

Logan
In the creation, Christ was acting rather than being acted upon. During that process there were confirmations that everything was good...maybe that's an example of how we need to interact with those that are learning.

Natalie
this chapter helped me to see that there needs to be balance.

Tina
Maybe our lives are patterned the same way. We can't move on to the next learning experience until we've completed this one, up to His standard.

Natalie
@ Logan - very interesting thought. I need to chew on that one for a while... My goodness how that would change our attitudes towards others!...

Deseret Book
Excellent thought, Logan! Natalie, it would change our attitudes, wouldn't it!

Logan
I don't necessarily think it was a learning process for Christ at that point, maybe just positive affirmations from a father

Natalie
ALSO - I thought a lot this week about staying on something we have DONE instead of moving on..

Beth
Enjoy our accomplishment(s)!

Natalie
I mean, I know the church is true, so I don't need to spend my energy learning that it's true. I need to go to the next level of learning.

Deseret Book
Yes Beth, it is important to enjoy our accomplishments! Logan, that is a great thought about it being a learning process. I think that is because Christ understood the framework that Elder Bednar is teaching us to learn in this chapter.

Natalie
I know Joseph Smith is a prophet. The spirit has born witness to me of that.

Beth
A balance needs to be struck between not lingering too long but not being so eager to move on that we fail to really take in and appreciate what we've done.

Natalie
So now I need to move forward and learn what that MEANS for me in my life. Not keep asking Heavenly Father if he is a true prophet.

Deseret Book
The really cool thing about doctrine/principle/application framework is that it is just that: a framework. There aren’t any wrong answers.

Natalie
@ Beth - YES!

Deseret Book
Wow Natalie. I love that!

Deseret Book
And yes, Beth, well said!

Stacie
I've kind of felt like this week, that the understanding the Doctrines and Principles, digging for them and figuring out where you are at is the big part of the learning process and then the applications help you reinforce what you've learned, they keep that process active in you.

Beth
And the fact that a doctrine can be a principle and vice versa when using the framework

Natalie
IT HAS BEEN SO MUCH FUN!!

I seriously wake up with a legal pad and pen and start making messes like E.Bednar said I can't believe how this has fueled my desire to learn.

Carol
reading the first part of Chapter 4 and remembering the discussion Elder Bednar presents in Chanpter 1 about acting and being acted upon; I am thinking about the Article of Faith in a newer light, It doesn't read, We are to believe (being acted on), but it begins "We believe..." and that is all about my own knowledge and testimony.

Natalie
I haven't watched TV all week!

Deseret Book
It has been fun, hasn't it?! I remember at the beginning of the book when Elder Bednar says that he loves learning. I thought about that a bit and didn't think that I really love it too. But since reading this book, I truly have come to love learning!

Carol, welcome! And yes - thank you for tying us back to Chapter 1. It is so true!

Natalie
Carol - I never read the A of F in that way! Great point!

Beth
Reading the book rekindled my love of learning and helped me to see why I felt I had stagnated. The framework is exceptionally useful in all aspects of my life. Every time I find the biggest benefit the book brought me to my life right now, I then find something else that's an even bigger benefit.

Natalie
The whole idea of moving principles to doctrine and application to principles is incredible. I am amazed at how it has helped me "think outside the box"

Beth
I suppose that's part of the continual learning aspect of life.

Natalie
And the video was especially good at illustrating this whole thing.

Deseret Book
Isn't it great, Beth? This book changes your life, doesn't it!? Such awesome things for us to absorb and apply to our lives.

The video was really helpful to me too. What stood out to you the most from the video?

Natalie
Good question, because I had never seen it and so I watched the whole thing,

Beth
Yes. I am not practicing hyperbole when I say this book changed my life - or rather acting on what was in the book changed my life. Just reading it wouldn't have had that profound of an affect.

Natalie
@ Beth- I totally agree. You have to DO it not just READ it.

Beth
Active learning is wonderful! (:

Natalie
Um, there were just a lot of personal questions that were very specifically answered.

But I love that Elder Bednar kept pounding the point, "What doctrines and principles if understood would change ____?" It totally changed my way of thinking.

Deseret Book
That's really neat Natalie. That's one of the things I've loved the most about this learning process is just how specific and personal it is.

Tina
It was hard for me to grasp some of the concepts in the book because Elder Bednar is so brilliant. Watching the videos helped me to truly understand. I could feel the Spirit coming from the teachings.

Deseret Book
And yes, active learning is wonderful isn't it?

Natalie
I loved learning about his role as an apostle. To find "the one". It seems daunting because they have so much to do, yet it is how Christ did it.

Deseret Book
Tina, I felt the same way. The videos really helped me to fill in the gaps where I wasn't quite sure I was grasping what I had read.

Logan
The interesting thing about his question is that it requires diving into the scriptures for examples and insights. It is the opposite of the one word answers we've learned to accept in Sunday School/Gospel Doctrine

Beth
I just realized that in not directly answer those young adults' question it made it more easy to apply what he was teaching when he addressed those questions to my own life and my own experiences and questions.

Logan
And most likely, it requires personal reflection most people wouldn't feel comfortable sharing in that type of a setting anyway

Deseret Book
Thank you for that insight Logan! It is true.

Natalie
I really liked watching him - watching him think and recognize the Spirit

Logan
It makes learning (and improving) a pretty intimate experience.

Deseret Book
And speaking of personal reflections, something that really stood out to me was when Elder Bednar talked about focusing on applications and he said that it likely happens because we like to believe and feel like we are in control. Do any of you feel that way?

Tina
I had to chuckled when I heard the phrase "what doctrines and principles if understood..." in stake conference this weekend. It's an epidemic. :)

Natalie
You could tell when he asked a question and got an answer that then he'd decide if he needed to dig a little more

Deseret Book
That is great, Tina!

Stacie
DB - Yes

Natalie
YES.

Deseret Book
Phew, I'm glad I'm not alone, Stacie. When I was re-reading the chapter to prepare for today, that section really hit me.

Natalie
I have been trying to get my kids to keep their rooms clean. But today I asked them WHY they like having clean rooms and their answers were totally unexpected.

Deseret Book
Especially when he said "We all would do well to remember that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's Church, and He is able to do His own work."

Beth
I think despite my commitment to do what the Lord wants me to do, I was still (and probably still am) trying to exercise too much control. I have to keep going back to the poem "Let Go and Let God"

Natalie
But now I can use that to help them instead of CONTROLLING them to clean.

Carol
So, do you think that this new approach to learning is what might help us down the road to "true doctrine, understood" as Elder Packer taught? And if so, I think another quote back in the first chapter,(I've been reading them side by side trying to catch up here) from Bruce C. Hafen that says: "because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we may learn from our experiences without being condemned by that experience" gives courage to rise up after our stumbles in our spiritual lives. What do you think? I decided to put that quote on my fridge.

Deseret Book
Exactly Beth!

Natalie
@ Carol - YES!! I loved that quote by Elder Hafen too!

Beth
Carol, absolutely!

Natalie
And it makes so much more sense now.

Logan
I used that concept (not quote) in my lesson on Sunday. I think it's a great relief

Stacie
It's what Grace is about

Logan
It summarizes grace/repentance really well

Natalie
AND it moves grace from a principle to a doctrine.

Deseret Book
What a fantastic connection, Natalie!

Tina
And if we truly understand grace, it will become an application as well. We can start to show that grace to those around us.

Natalie
Now you can really say "I have an app for that"

Just kidding.

Beth
I love that in one setting something can be a doctrine in the framework, a principle in another, and an application and yet another. It just opens us up to learning so much more!

Deseret Book
I love that in his summary of the chapter, Elder Bednar testifies to what a blessing it is to live in a day when the restored gospel is on the earth. That we are able to understand these doctrines, principles and applications such as grace and how it fits into our personal lives. @Natalie, LOL!

Natalie
OH MY GOODNESS - His idea of all being gathered together in Christ was amazing

Beth
*LIKE* Natalie! (:

Natalie
I think THAT was the part of the video that stood out the most for me. That this is when ALL is restored and ALL is gathered ALL together in Christ.

Deseret Book
It was amazing! And motivating to think that he said we are responsible to gather together in one!

Natalie
That answered some intense questions for me due to a strong antimormon sentiment in my extended family at the moment.

Deseret Book
Now that we have all been inspired by this framework, how can we share it with those in our lives?

Carol
Tina's point is great, that as we understand and feel "empowered" by our testimony of principles, we really do become more confident in showing that grace through compassion to others, and that is where mortality becomes the school it should be and not just a burden to struggle against.

Stacie
Oh, it just pops up all the time, when someone says, anything about someone else's or their own attitude or behavior

Natalie
Well the way that Elder Bednar shared it with us was to just keep asking the same question - what doctrine if understood....

Deseret Book
Great point Natalie!

Beth
Oh... I already have "What doctrine, if understood..." questions ready for my visiting teachees this month - especially given what my stake once us to be working on this year

Deseret Book
That's a great idea Beth!

Beth
sigh. I am struggling my my homonyms/homophones right now.

Natalie
Also, a point E Bednar made in the video is that we don't do it in huge numbers. We do it one by one. "Just be one"

Tina
Starting with ourselves

Stacie
Natalie - ministering like the Savior

Natalie
Right. One will influence one will influence one etc.

You can't stand up and teach this in a talk because it will go in one ear and out the other.

Beth
Yes. Starting with ourselves.

Natalie
you have to ask inspired questions and invite people to ACT

Deseret Book
I loved that too, Natalie. The best way we can share anything is by having first implemented it in our own hearts and lives and then to just truly love others and be a true friend. Which we are friends one on one.

Natalie
thus becoming agents instead of objects

Beth
Exactly Natalie! This book has opened me up to how I can be a better visiting teacher since it's such a new thing for me (despite a life-long membership in the church).

Deseret Book
Agents instead of objects, exactly! Excellent point Natalie.

Natalie
@ Beth! YES! ME TOO!

It's sometimes hard to remember I have 3 little AGENTS running around my house not 3 little objects.

Tina
For me it has opened up ideas of how to be a better mother and wife. I think it points you to where you personally need to work.

Natalie
But this has definetly changed my parenting.

Stacie
yes

Deseret Book
Like Elder Bednar said in the very beginning of the book - there isn't a principle more central, important or essential to spiritual learning than the principle of acting as agents and not being acted upon as objects.

Beth
Asking inspired questions, encouraging them to act and with inspiration helping them use this framework in their lives even if they haven't read the book.

Natalie
@ DB - that was the war in heaven - Satan wanted us to be objects and Christ agents.

Tina
I keep thinking of the "I'm in charge of me" song now too.

Deseret Book
It is amazing to me how I have lived my whole life trying my best, and within a mere 170 pages of this book, I've found a whole perpective.

Natalie
But asking inspired questions is really hard and takes lots of practice.

Deseret Book
@Natalie, exactly!

Natalie
Does anyone have any hints?

Stacie
@ Natalie - I was actually thinking about that this morning. I wondered what Satan could have said to 1/3 that would have made them so afraid of the gift of agency.

Tina
Fear of failure

Beth
Yes Natalie. But so does doing anything else in life and doing it well.

Natalie
@ Stacie - that is a great question.

Logan
Elder Bednar talked about getting people to take ANY action and how that can help. I think he gave the example of visiting inactive members and having them JUST let you in. Thats a pretty simple step. I'm keeping this concept in mind while teaching the ward cub scouts how to swim.

Beth
And remembering that just doing something - taking some action - is better than just staying still paralyzed by fear.

Natalie
baby step to the water Logan...

Logan
Rather than just talking at them, I'm asking them about life saving skills (round about application here) but when I ask questions, I can see them think it through.

Tina
I think inspired questions lead the student to ask questions and make discoveries on their own.

Natalie
Yeah I agree.

Deseret Book
Tina and Logan, you are exactly right!

Beth
Yes, Tina!

Carol
It makes an interesting study of the New Testament Gospels, to see the kind of questions the Savior asked to the variety of people and situations He was in. It has been helpful to me, and Alma 5 has a great list of insightful questions that we can apply to ourselves and people we are involved with.

Deseret Book
Learning is something we have to do ourselves. Which comes from making discoveries on our own.

Logan
It's interesting to watch them mentally work through it. I re-ask the question a week later and they still know the answer because they went through the mental work to get the answer.

Natalie
But when I teach gospel doctrine sometimes I have a hard time coming up with good questions.

Stacie
I think inspired questions lead to revelation.

Natalie
@ Carol - Thanks!

Tina
I think obvious questions are the ones that end up dead in discussions. Getting them to think deeper is so hard though.

Natalie
I agree.

Deseret Book
@Logan, I think watching children learn is the greatest because you can see it so clearly on their faces as they work through it. Wouldn't it be great if we were all as willing as children to learn new things?

Natalie
@DB YES! I love the look on their faces when they get it.

Tina
We should be, the good book says. :)

Natalie
And I love how he described UNDERSTAND as NOT "I get it" but rather "I feel it"

Beth
Yes, Natalie!

Deseret Book
But I think each of us has taken some of our baby steps to being like that as we have started working toward an Increase of Learning through the framework we've discovered! :)

Stacie
yes

Tina
Although there are lots of things I truly understand in my heart and have a testimony of, but still find hard to consistenly do.

Beth
Exactly, DB! (:

Deseret Book
Yes, Natalie! I loved that too. And have experienced it as I applied these things!

Natalie
But that's when you tell Heavenly Father "I need strength beyond my own" like he talked about on the video.

Carol
When I've asked my children to help me understand a principle is when I have had the most sucess. They love being able to try to help, it's such a part of their natures, and for most of us, being part of creating an answer is more comfortable than being under the spotlight of coming up with a "correct" answer.

Stacie
Carol - I agree

Tina
Usually when I pray for strength, the answer is get up and do. Not so easy.

Deseret Book
That is so neat, Carol! And I think that is exactly what Heavenly Father has done with each of us.

Natalie
@ Carol - Great point.

Stacie
I think that's the problem in gospel doctrine, helping people "discuss" not think that you are looking for a specific answer and being nervous that they might not have it right - Natalie

Deseret Book
He lets us create our answers and learn for ourselves!

Natalie
creating answers as led by the Spirit instead of telling the correct answer.

Deseret Book
I agree Stacie. And I think a lot of responding with having to have the "correct" answer comes a lot from how the question is asked.

Stacie
Which is interesting, because if we are creating our own answers they may be different from others.

Natalie
@ Stacie - yes. I learned a lot in his technique of asking - "now I don't have a right answer for this - I want you guys to tell me what you think"

Stacie
@Natalie - me too

Tina
Also good questions are often primed, like giving an example before asking a question. Or before reading a scripture, priming with "Look for" so they are ready for a question.

Natalie
But "creating our own answers" seems a little scary - how do we know they're true?

Tina
Trust and your mouth will be filled.

Natalie
I mean I have asked open questions in gospel doctrine and gotten answers that are WAAAAY off base, boarderline not true...

Carol
Elder Packer's quote helps us keep a good balance in the "creating our answers" as we are able to check them against the True test Elder Bednar describes; the scriptures, the Brethren and our interaction with the Holy Ghost. It's a well structured system of learning.

Deseret Book
That is a good point, Natalie. And I think that is where the concept of understanding comes in.

Logan
The scriptures say we'll know things are true if they bring us closer to Christ

Beth
That's the thing - depending on the individual and circumstances, the correct answer to the same question won't necessarily be the same to the person standing next to you.

Logan
by their fruits you will know them

Deseret Book
When we truly understand the doctrines and principles, we are not fabricating an answer but rather feeling its truthfulness and doing our best to express it in words.

Stacie
The spirit

Deseret Book
Excellent point, Carol! We do have a great checks and balances system in the gospel.

Natalie
Thanks, these are all really great points. So I guess that's the tie up to the mess we make on the page. Let the spirit teach you as you write and scribble, then find it in the scriptures to see that it's true.

Beth
Everything seems to come down to the Spirit...

Natalie
What would we do without the Holy Ghost?!! We'd be sunk for sure...

What a marvelous blessing.

Deseret Book
Yes! The Holy Ghost truly is a gift for our lives!!

Beth
I feel Elder Bednar has given us some great tools to use so that we feel the Spirit more in our lives as we learn.

Carol
I'm off to teach piano lessons... what a great group of souls you all are. I've enjoyed this...keep it up! The book is amazing! Thanks for sharing

Beth
Thanks Carol!

Natalie
See you carol! Thanks for your insights!

Deseret Book
Thanks for joining us Carol! Enjoy the piano lessons. And as for the rest of us, we only have a minute or two left.

I hope each of us can take some time pondering today what doctrine or principle, if understood, would help us press forward in becoming what the Master would have each of us become.

Natalie
This book has made me SOOOOO EXCITED FOR GENERAL CONFERENCE!!

Beth
Me too, Natalie!

Stacie
Yes

Natalie
I will definetly be listening with different ears.

Deseret Book
Thank you for your insights today. And yes, hasn't it been an excellent preparation for us to learn in a whole new way while we listen to the general authorities!?

Well said, Natalie. I think we will each be listening with different ears.

Natalie
Is next week the last week?

Logan
Thanks everyone, for letting me join in!

Beth
2 more weeks, Natalie.

Deseret Book
Next week we will be discussing the related readings to Chapter 4 and then the following week will be a wrap-up of the whole book.

Tina
Tell Emily we missed her!

Beth
Chapter 4 related reading next week. Wrap up week after.

Deseret Book
So yes, two more to go!

Tina, I will! She's fantastic and I'm excited she'll be back next week!

Natalie
Thanks everyone!

Beth
Thanks!

Deseret Book
Thanks for coming today everyone. Have a great week! And best wishes to each of you in your learning! :)

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How can I set myself up for success and not for discouragement? How can I set myself up for success and not for discouragement?
In Act in Doctrine, Elder David A. Bednar shares key insights to... Watch
How can I be more like Jesus? How can I be more like Jesus?
In Act in Doctrine, Elder David A. Bednar shares key insights to... Watch
Power to Become Additional Readings Power to Become Additional Readings
As followers of Christ, our desire is to become like Him. In fact,... Read
Why do I have to be 12 to go inside the temple? Why do I have to be 12 to go inside the temple?
In Act in Doctrine, Elder David A. Bednar shares key insights to... Watch
What If You've Hit a Learning Plateau? What If You've Hit a Learning Plateau?
Elder David A. Bednar talks about having "eyes to see" beyond the... Watch
Power to Become: Youth Part 2 - Short Video Power to Become: Youth Part 2 - Short Video
Part two of A Discussion with the Youth Watch
How would you explain to someone that rules aren’t restraining? How would you explain to someone that rules aren’t restraining?
In Act in Doctrine, Elder David A. Bednar shares key insights to... Watch
Power to Become Quote: Challenge to Youth Power to Become Quote: Challenge to Youth

As followers of Christ, our desire is to become like Him. In... Read

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