The old schoolground joke goes, “March winds, April showers bring to us May flowers. What do May flowers bring?”
Another answer is graduation ceremonies. Oh yes, the season for graduates (and/or their parents) to fork out hard-earned cash to wear tablecloth-like gowns, attempt to stay in step to the processional march and endure, “This is not the end, but the beginning” speeches.
It is also the time to finally receive that coveted diploma documenting the graduate successfully completed all education requirements. But often the official diploma comes only when you return the cap and gown that you rented.
It is interesting to me how graduation ceremonies have evolved from Shakespeare’s line in Othello’s “Pride, pomp and circumstance” to mixes of iPhones, Snap Chat and Bitmoji.
Fancy pansy graduation traditions to the side, throughout history the Lord has been clear on the importance of each of his children gaining knowledge.
In Proverbs we read, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:”
Two verses later we learn, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
When Daniel and certain Hebrews were trained in Nebuchadnezzar’s court, God gave them knowledge and wisdom beyond others. “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.”
The Apostle Paul referred to the Alexandrian Jew and recorded, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”
Jesus taught his disciples directly and us through his recorded word, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
Young and older LDS people are consistently reminded, “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.”
We also learn, “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.”
The people I respect the most are those who constantly seek after truth and knowledge. They thrive on learning from history and from others.
LDS Church President David O. McKay is among those I admire. In addition to being a lifetime learner — when the wonders of the Internet were in embryonic stages — he pursued a teaching career.
President McKay taught that science, history and literature are but means used to reach the desired end.
He wrote, “True education seeks, then to make men and women not only good mathematicians, proficient linguists, profound scientists, or brilliant literary lights, but also honest men, combined with virtue, temperance, and brotherly love — men and women who prize truth, justice, wisdom, benevolence, and self-control as the choicest acquisitions of a successful life.”
To the youth of the LDS Church, President Gordon B. Hinckley taught, “It is so important that you, young men, and you, young women, get all of the education that you can.”
He added, “The Lord has said very plainly that His people are to gain knowledge of countries and kingdoms and of things of the world through the process of education, even by study and by faith.”
During this season of cramming for finals, planning after-school parties and enduring graduation lines, I hope all of us will remember the value of thinking intensively and critically.
Roberts is a former LDS bishop of the Tooele 6th Ward.