Mon - Jan 12, 2009 : 05:49 pm
Memory Retention and Service
An interesting concept was brought up during an interesting class I had on Sunday.
Last year, I went to the normal gospel doctrine class almost all year and enjoyed almost every class. We had a fabulous teacher who really brought the class alive with discussion about interesting concepts. Never once was a spirit of contention fall upon our discussions, either, which I've found to be a blessing.
Anyway... Yesterday it was announced that all teachers who weren't teaching were to attend a "teaching how to teach" class, and I thought I'd give it a try. So, I went in and discovered there were only 4 people attending plus the teacher.
The teacher, however, was fabulous. Very humble, well prepared, and taught effectively.
One of the principles he taught came at me like a ton of bricks. I really, really, really wish I would have grabbed the copy of the book he was reading from (which was written by Boyd K. Packer, if I remember correctly), but alas - I didn't.
Before I paraphrase what the book said, let me tell you that during my mission, I had an almost insatiable desire to know the scriptures. I would read them literally in every spare moment I had. During lunch, I would eat, politely thank the host of the lunch, and then spend the rest of the time studying.
Now, I don't tell you this to brag. In fact, I've told relatively few people this for the very reason that it seems like I'm a braggart when doing so.
Early on in my hunger for the scriptures, I found myself praying before each study session that, "I might be blessed to remember the scripture passages I read both in location and principle that I might be more able to help myself and others in need, when the doctrine itself would be helpful."
Very soon thereafter, I found myself able to quickly find passages I had read months previously. This continued until I finished both the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.
For years after, friends and family would come to me when they needed a scripture on a subject. Again - I don't tell you this to brag, but I found it amazing that I could have such a vivid memory of scriptures, when my memory of pretty much everything else in life was pretty much non-existent.
Here's where it gets interesting....
Yesterday's reading of President Packer's book (I'll get the name and quote as soon as I can) said something to the effect of this:
"Learning the Gospel when focused on the service it might provide, and not the personal gratification of getting smarter or any other selfish reason, will yield a much better memory of the principle learned"
When he read that, I was almost dumbfounded. Really, I don't know why I started praying that I might use my memory of the scriptures to help someone else in a time of need, but I did. And that's probably why I was inspired to do so - without knowing the connection between service and memory retention.
I don't know... I found that so wonderfully amazing. Just another piece of evidence that God is aware of us, our talents, what we need, what others need that we can provide, etc...
Very, very cool and spirit-filled Sabbath, yesterday was.
I'm going to do a little more research on the connection between memory retention and service. Heaven knows I'm living proof that it works.
*UPDATE* - The book by Elder Boyd K. Packer is named "Teach Ye Diligently". The quote I was paraphrasing is found on page 185.
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