January 18th 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: An Individual Responsibility to Learn. This discussion was held on Seek on January 18, 2012. The original comment thread can be found here.)

Emily Watts
Hi, everyone! We are ready to begin our discussion of chapter 1 in Elder David A. Bednar's book Increase in Learning. To comment here, be sure you're logged into Facebook and then come back to this page. During the discussion, if you'll just reply to this comment, we can keep the whole thread together.
Like · Reply · Follow Post · 18 January at 1:00 p.m.

Emily Watts
As the discussion continues, remember to click your Refresh button on your browser periodically to see all the comments.
1 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:02 p.m.

Emily Watts
So, here's my first observation. When Elder Bednar says he loves learning, it is the TRUTH. As we were working on the edit, he wanted me to explain everything about what I had changed--not because he was questioning it, but because he wanted to understand why those changes needed to be made. (Not that there were very many changes, mind you!) He wanted to understand everything about the process. It was really cool to almost be able to see his mind working. The question I asked myself--and I want to ask you--is this: What if you struggle to love learning? How have you developed that gift in your own life?
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:06 p.m.

Dallas Petersen
Emily Watts That is a great question. It seems like my biggest struggle at times is competing priorities and distractions. It's been helpful to develop a regular time to do my scripture study, etc., and set up a routine.
1 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:12 p.m.

Macy Sanderson Robison
I've never struggled to love learning, I've just struggled with making the time to engage in learning. I've started tricking myself into studying for "just 15 minutes," and as I do that, I find that I don't want to stop and I don't want to be interrupted. I love how Elder Bednar put it in his "The Essence of the Gospel is Change" video in the list above.
1 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:12 p.m.

Beth Kirby
Emily Watts I actually love learning, but I struggle with ADHD, dyslexia and time management issues. However, I am finding that Elder Bednar's book is helping figure out how to work with those limitations.
3 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:13 p.m.

Emily Watts
Dallas Petersen I think it's interesting that Elder Bednar says "We cannot expect simply to attend Church meetings and to participate in programs and thereby receive all of the spiritual fortification" we need. Really? Even active participation in the programs of the Church isn't enough?
2 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:14 p.m.

Macy Sanderson Robison
Emily Watts That quote was one that really struck me. Especially that he says we can't receive ALL of the spiritual fortification we need. Some, yes. But not all. I've loved how he words things in such a way that I'm more grateful for the gift of agency than in the past. And that I need to make sure I actively use that gift.
3 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:17 p.m.

Emily Watts
Beth Kirby Time seems to be a big factor for so many people. I agree that the book motivates me to want to give this greater priority. When there are so many other things screaming louder, it can be hard. Macy, I like the idea of "tricking yourself" into starting. Dallas, routine seems like a good idea too.
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:18 p.m.

Marlene Fish
Emily Watts - Guess I'll post this in the thread :-| For me, it's a matter of just starting. Once I've disciplined my self to actually start learning, the desire just seems to come as new thoughts and ideas flow. Once I start - I want to know more and the process feeds on itself. I'm kind of a slow starter, but I usually finish strong.
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:18 p.m.

Beth Kirby
Emily Watts I have actually found in the last year how true that is though. I have done so much better now that I am doing more than just attending church and participating in programs. I can't believe how much I've grown spiritually is in such a short period of time.
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:18 p.m.

Dallas Petersen
Emily Watts I appreciate the idea that we're agents not objects. Imagine if I did that every time I'm sitting in sacrament meeting and might think I've heard this talk before... it really brings to mind D&C 50:22-- "Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are aedified and brejoice together."
2 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:20 p.m.

Emily Watts
Marlene Fish Isn't it interesting that it seems to be "after the trial of your faith." The more we act, the more "delicious" it becomes to us. He says a lot about the step-by-step process (see the Joseph Smith comment about beginning at the bottom and ascending step by step).
3 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:21 p.m.

Emily Watts
Are you encouraged or discouraged by the idea of starting at the bottom of a ladder?
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:21 p.m.

Beth Kirby
Emily Watts I like how he keeps reminding us that we are to act and not be acted upon. Sometimes, I think, people too easily become complacent. I think Elder Bednar has just given me a new mantra.
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:22 p.m.

Emily Watts
Plus, his quote from Brigham Young: "we are not capacitated to receive all knowledge at once." I feel a longing to increase my capacity for obtaining knowledge.
2 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:23 p.m.

Macy Sanderson Robison
Emily Watts I don't mind starting at the bottom of the ladder. My struggle has always been keeping up my enthusiasm as the ladder continues upward. Elder Bednar talks about how there is always more to learn and more to know - that realization can be discouraging at times. Not that I have to know everything, just that there are so many temporal limits on the things I can learn.
1 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:24 p.m.

Noah Sparks
Learning is natural. Whether we like it or not we are becoming. Attitude while learning is something we can control. Curiosity compels me to explore relationships (of things, principles, people, etc).
2 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:24 p.m.

Macy Sanderson Robison
Emily Watts That Brigham Young quote is some comfort in regard to what I just posted. Thank you! Knowing my capacity can increase is encouraging as the "ladder" extends.
1 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:25 p.m.

Emily Watts
Beth Kirby Don't you find that our society is becoming more and more passive? TV, Internet, movies, even texting is more passive than actual talking. We really have to fight our natural-man tendencies to act rather than be acted upon.
2 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:26 p.m.

Beth Kirby
Emily Watts Starting at the bottom of the ladder doesn't seem bad at all. It helps me to remember that what is important is that I keep progressing, not necessarily how fast I progress.
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:26 p.m.

Beth Kirby
Emily Watts Absolutely. And everything is now delivered in quick sound bites so there isn't much to think about or really contemplate what it means and the consequences.
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:28 p.m.

Emily Watts
Noah Sparks Do you think our natural desire for learning (which is so manifest in children, I think) somehow gets "squelched" by the busyness of everyday life?
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:29 p.m.

Christine Welsh Condon
Learning is intensified as I reflect on the things I just studied and write down my thoughts and the inspiration received. It is personal and strengthens my testimony as I strive to hear and see what the scriptures are teaching...and I know I'm only skimming the surface...but it is fun and exciting.
2 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:33 p.m.

Lorelie M. Sander
Emily Watts Simply attending church and participating in programs is definitely not enough. As an MTC teacher I saw a huge difference in the attitudes and abilities of missionaries who had actively attended meetings versus those who had actively participated in learning. Missionaries who had paid the price and learned for themselves were much more confident and powerful teachers than those who had simply attended seminary or Sunday school, but hadn't diligently studied on their own. Gospel knowledge that is deeply rooted and fortifying comes as WE actively seek, study and ponder to understand.
2 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:34 p.m.

Emily Watts
Beth Kirby So how do we help children who have grown up in the "sound bite" world? President Hinckley talked about the home in which he grew up; how many people grow up in such surroundings today? How do you combat the pull of the instant-gratification society?
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:35 p.m.

Noah Sparks
Emily Watts undoubtedly. All too often we conform to certain unwritten "rules" that make us second guess ourselves and our inclination to be fascinated by the world Father has given us. We follow a script in so many scenarios instead of looking to our identity and heritage for inspiration of what is possible. What do you believe influences our desire to learn most?
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:36 p.m.

Beth Kirby
Emily Watts With me, I've discovered as I've contemplated Elder Bednar's book and other aspects of my life involving learning, that the desire to learn has always been there but it's hard to feel it or realize it with life's busyness.
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:37 p.m.

Lisa Hori Badal
Emily Watts It's simple. If you lack in any are, you have to pray & pray & pray for the DESIRE to want to learn & love it.
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:38 p.m.

Beth Kirby
Emily Watts I think President Hinkley hit the nail on the head. Within our homes we need to create an environment that allows not only for the Holy Ghost to help us teach the children to understand, but that encourages children to go beyond the sound bites and to really take time to learn and think about things.
1 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:39 p.m.

Lisa Hori Badal
because He is able to compensate for our weakness if we turn our hearts & mind to him for help.
2 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:39 p.m.

Diana Petersen
I love the examples of latter-day learners in chap. 1. Pres. Hinckley was an example that I could witness as I watched and listened to him teach. His example made me excited about learning.
4 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:40 p.m.

Emily Watts
Noah Sparks I love what Elder Bednar says: "The Holy Ghst is the teacher who kindles within us an abiding love of and for learning." I guess the closer we are to the Spirit, the greater our desire to learn. And it DOES take ACTIVE participation in your own life (as Lorelie observes), which is difficult when there are so many things that invite passivity.
4 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:40 p.m.

Beth Kirby
Emily Watts Things like creating a "technology free" time at home where we read (scriptures or other books), or just discuss things in general.
2 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:40 p.m.

Beth Kirby
Emily Watts I find what you just said to in reply to Noah is absolutely in place in my life right now. Only after I started being more active in seeking the Holy Ghost and doing more than just gong through the motions as a member of the church that my desire to learn is very present and ever growing.
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:42 p.m.

Emily Watts
Lisa Hori Badal Isn't that a comforting truth? I loved Eduardo Contreras's story about how the Spirit helped him learn to read almost instantly. Like the ability was just there locked in his mind, and the Spirit turned the key.
2 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:43 p.m.

Emily Watts
Diana Petersen I loved those examples too. I especially loved that formal education wasn't necessarily a component.
1 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:43 p.m.

Dallas Petersen
Beth Kirby I really like the idea of a technology free time. I was going to say scripture study time is that for my family, but we're all using iPods, iPhones, etc. for our scriptures, especially right now as we're reading general conference talks. Nevertheless it is a great suggestion—unplug and tune-in to people and the spirit.
2 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:44 p.m.

Lisa Hori Badal
Beth Kirby I agree, and it's also wonderful that we can have this discussion here.
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:45 p.m.

Lorelie M. Sander
Beth Kirby "the desire to learn has always been there" I love that! It's so true. And when I step away from the busyness of life and actually take time to learn something useful that just gives me an even greater desire to learn more. Like learning to play the piano--it was really hard at first, but once I realized how much better my life was with that skill, it wasn't enough. Then I wanted to learn to play the guitar :)
3 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:45 p.m.

Emily Watts
Christine Welsh Condon I've felt that too. Maybe it's because writing is an ACTION, and it takes us out of the realm of being acted upon and into the realm of engaging our minds and being agents who act.
1 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:46 p.m.

Emily Watts
Okay, now I want to ask you--did anyone write down a question at the end of the chapter? I'd be curious to know what questions came up in your mind as you read.
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:48 p.m.

Beth Kirby
Lisa Hori Badal I think your absolutely right about Him compensating for our weaknesses. I think as we turn more and more to the Spirit, our confidence increases and we are more inspired to learn and aren't so intimidated by our weaknesses.
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:50 p.m.

Beth Kirby
Emily Watts I wrote 2 down...They mostly relate to the fact that I am preparing to finally earn a degree.
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:52 p.m.

Emily Watts
I think it's interesting that he felt strongly enough about questions that he really wanted to invite people to formulate their own. It's yet another way of being an agent who acts . . .
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:52 p.m.

Diana Petersen
pondering is an action that I find has resulted in learning especially when accompanied by fasting which brings a greater abundance of the Spirit to me
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:53 p.m.

Beth Kirby
Emily Watts How can I use the principles taught in this chapter in my desire to earn a degree and to gain the skills and experience I need to go down a new path that Heavenly Father may want me to.
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:53 p.m.

Dallas Petersen
Emily Watts That has been one of my big lessons from this book—ask good questions. I noticed that in his videos, too, that he would often restate and rephrase questions asked of him. I become increasingly interested in how he was rephrasing this—taught me the kinds of questions I should be asking myself as I'm learning.
3 Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:54 p.m.

Emily Watts
How would you answer his question: "How will understanding and effectively fulfilling my individual responsibility as a learner prepare me for the world in which I do now and will yet live?"
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:54 p.m.

Beth Kirby
Emily Watts What can I be doing now to "appropriately seek the companionship of the Holy Ghost" so that I have His influence as I diligently, patiently and persistently seek the knowledge the Lord wants me to gain right now and in the future?
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:54 p.m.

Emily Watts
Beth Kirby That's a great question, and I love that it makes it personal for you.
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:56 p.m.

Beth Kirby
Emily Watts I will learn more and more things in this life, which will aid me in even more learning that will take place in the next life and also move me further along the road of learning all things.
Like · Reply · 18 January at 1:57 p.m.

Emily Watts
As we're closing up the live discussion (please feel free to continue commenting throughout the week!), I want to ask--How do you feel about this discussion format? What can we do to make it a better experience for you? And--remember to join us live again next week, when we'll talk about the Related Readings for Chapter 1. Bring your friends! Thanks so much for joining us, all you "agents who acted"!
1 Like · Reply · 18 January at 2:01 p.m.

Beth Kirby
Emily Watts I don't know if it's my browser or what, but I am finding that after I refresh, I have to scroll down a few times to get back to this discussion, but it's still works pretty well.
Like · Reply · 18 January at 2:03 p.m.

Heather Reed Faas
Beth Kirby I have to too. Thank you for your insights. I have the same questions as you. Especially since I just started back to school to get a degree after being out of school for 16 years (getting old lol). I am always asking myself your second question. I guess the essence is that I need to make the time to act. I need to actively seek, not just go through the motions.
1 Like · Reply · 18 January at 2:10 p.m.

Carolyn Fish
Missed the conversation earlier, but I still wanted to comment. The thing that keeps coming back to me about Chapter 1 of "Increase in Learning" is the fact that we have to be active learners -- not expect someone to just open up our heads and pour in the knowledge. Also, one thing I thought that the Latter-Day learners had in common is that they made an effort to become lifelong learners.
3 Like · Reply · 18 January at 8:01 p.m.

Emily Watts
Carolyn Fish I'm so glad you joined us later--I hoped people would! I love what you pointed out about lifelong learners. I know so many people who think they've "done their time" and just need to endure--not realizing that enduring WELL means continuing to progress.
Like · Reply · 19 January at 10:15 a.m.

Nadine Deakin Sharpe
Emily Watts - thank you for your work on the editing process of this wonderful book! My personal relationship with the Holy Ghost has been on my mind for several years and His role as a member of the godhead; Elder Bednar's quote on p2 "The Holy Ghost is the teacher who kindles within us an abiding love of and for learning" was particularly impactful to me. The Holy Ghost does act a my guide, but also a tender teacher. I also found it interesting that 17 pages (p20 - p37) were devoted to 1Ne 11-14 when those who will read it have access to the BofM & have probably read it multiple times, were you privy to the reason behind this? I want to wear out this book with notes, "break down" the vision of the tree of life, and want to go back to that section again & again. I've found that I enjoyed the DVD straight through, but have nibbled on the book and am enjoying every morsel - I'm on p77. I'll watch for future discussions
Like · Reply · 23 January at 11:48 a.m.

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