Personal Online Journal

Sunday, July 21, 2013

In other words, light and truth

The Glory of God is (Not-Too-Much) Intelligence is a great article summing up intelligence as a Mormon.  I particularly like the description of having a high ceiling and low floor.  If you describe it in terms of academic or formal learning.

I love this comment by Ray
Yes, the title is correct – and it should be, if “not too much” means “an intellectualism which brings the person to obsessiveness or extreme pride and inflexibility”. There is a huge difference between “intelligence” (especially as our canon defines it) and “intellectualism”. 
I like the D&C clarification of “or in other words, light and truth”. That gets missed in many conversations about what it means to be intelligent within the framework of the Restoration – and it defines the heart of the tension between being intelligent and being an intellectual, as those terms are used most often by the top-level leaders of the LDS Church. Intelligence becomes about clarity and real understanding, not the accumulation of information alone. Thus, my father who hated formal education and rejoiced when he escaped high school can be more intelligent than many of the students with whom I studied at Harvard who could recite all of the information they had read in classes and debate with anyone but who had no clue what it all meant and had no clarity and real understanding of the subjects they had studied and the people around them. 
I think the Church, as an entity, encourages the type of intelligence described in the D&C – but, since it is comprised of individuals, that ideal gets emphasized, watered down or even rejected at each level moving throughout the organization. Thus, it’s difficult to make a generalized statement about “The Church” as a whole that is intelligent in nature without including a level of ambiguity that recognizes the tension of competing extremes and the widely varying mid-points most of us actually live.
And this comment by SilverRain
You lost me when you jumped from “intelligence” and “knowledge” to intellectualism. I’ve come to know quite a few intellectuals who are dumber than bricks. Intelligence isn’t just being well-read. It’s wisdom, wisdom to recognize a greater power and knowledge than yours, wisdom to apply what you learn to real life. 
“When [men] are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.” 2 Nephi 9:28-29 
That pretty much sums it up.

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