Saturday, January 17, 2009

Even a Child Can Understand

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Even a Child Can Understand, by Elder Gérald Caussé
Of the Seventy

In a conversation on future plans for our families, my friend, James Taylor, shared that one of his goals is to have a large glass sliding door adjacent to the family dining table in his home. He elaborated by sharing that he wants to have whiteboard markers on hand (they work on glass, too, you know) to make breakfast time a time for learning for his children. He figured that algebra, geometry, and even calculus would be a breeze for his children under his tutelage.

I think he was probably right.

Besides, if Elder Eyring's father kept a blackboard in his basement for use in teaching his children (reference here), the whiteboard/sliding door approach must be a good idea. Most importantly, though, James is a wonderful and loving teacher. I thought of him when Elder Caussé shared the quote from President John Taylor:

It is true intelligence for a man to take a subject that is mysterious and great in itself and to unfold and simplify it so that a child can understand it.

"Mysterious and great" as math is, let's talk about the gospel. I love the connection that Elder Caussé makes between our Father in Heaven and us, his children, through this quote by Joseph Smith:

If He comes to a little child, He will adapt himself to the language and capacity of a little child.

I think of my understanding of God and the things of God. It's marvelous to consider how much this understanding has changed over the years. In addition, it's quite fun to imagine how it will continue to grow, deepen, and become even more vibrant in days and years to come.

We've all had the experiences in our scriptures where we read a passage and see words that couldn't have possibly been there before because of how perfectly they apply to a question/problem we've been dealing with. While I know that the Spirit can enlighten our understanding and use the scriptures to teach us, perhaps another reason is related to this fascinating remark of Elder Caussé:

God would indeed be unjust if the gospel were only accessible to an intellectual elite. In His goodness, He has ensured that the truths regarding God are understandable to all His children, whatever their level of education or intellectual faculty.

The truths of God are as available to my small children as they are to my University colleagues. As I grow in understanding and intellectual faculty, perhaps the truths of God I need to learn are made available where they would have before been unnoticed.

I'm grateful for my growing understanding of God and the things of God. However, despite whatever advanced understanding I think I have now compared to when I was a child, I take comfort in knowing that we're still told that we must "be converted, and become as little children" (see Matt. 18:3). Isn't it wonderful that as great and glorious as the things of God are, even a child can understand.

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