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Religious faith and secular education can bolster each other, devotional speaker says

Despite studies that find that educated Americans are the least likely to participate in religious activities, education can strengthen your testimony of the restored gospel, Terry B. Ball, dean of Religious Education, assured students at Tuesday's devotional.

Ball pointed out that Latter-day Saints typically stand out in sociological studies that analyze the relationship between religiosity and education. This is because the more education Latter-day Saints have, the more likely they are to pray, to study the gospel, to attend church, and to feel that faith is important.

"As members of the church we are not surprised by these findings, for we understand that a faith confirmed by the spirit is further confirmed and informed by education," Ball said.

The devotional will be rebroadcast Sunday, March 23, on BYU Television at 8 a.m. and 4 and 10 p.m., and on KBYU-TV at 6 and 11 a.m.

Ball highlighted three conditions that must be met in order for students' experience at BYU to confirm and inform their education.

"First, you must have faith; second, you must be obedient, and third, you must be observant," he said.

Education confirms and strengthens faith in beliefs that are true, Ball said. A belief in things that are not true will "fall flat on its face.

"God wants each of us to have the gift of faith," Ball said. "If you sincerely strive and ask Him for it, God will give you this gift, this wonderful ability to recognize and believe truth, and your education will strengthen that faith."

Your testimony is best confirmed and informed by your education if you are obedient to the commandments of the Lord, Ball told students. By continually striving to do what is right, a person is more worthy of the Lord's guidance.

"If you will diligently strive to keep the commandment of God as you gain your education, not only will you receive the confirmation of the spirit, but you will also find your testimony and understanding of the restored gospel further confirmed and informed by what you learn in your studies," Ball explained.

Finally, students must be observant. They must develop the habit of considering how their studies can inform the gospel as well as how the gospel can be informed by what they are learning.

"When an engineer, a musician, a social scientist, or anyone educated in a given discipline read the scriptures," Ball said, "they can gain insights and make discoveries unique to that discipline, if they are looking for them - if they are observant."

Writer: Alexis Plowman

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Photo by Jaren S. Wilkey/BYU Photo

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