Today I met with Dr. Graham and with Rebekah Westrup, an undergraduate who will be doing research with us. She has already begun to compile all the existing articles on blended learning. This will be a treasure trove!
Over the past week, my assignment was to look into what Latter-day Saint (Mormon) doctrine and scriptures say about being and becoming, especially as compared to learning through knowing or doing. It’s been really rewarding to spend time reading and thinking about this. Becoming is all over the talks given by our Church leaders. In Mormon theology, we believe that each person is literally the spirit child of Heavenly Father, and we believe that we can become as He is. Thus we are always being encouraged to become better and more God-like.
Let me share some of the quotations that were especially meaningful to me:
- James 1:22-24: But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. To me, this set up a progression of learning. To hear the word allows us to know the doctrine, but we are being encouraged to go beyond that to doing the word. If we do not do our beliefs, we have forgotten what our own identity. We cannot begin to become if we do not do what we know to be true.
- Elder Lynn G. Robbins, What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye To Be?: Do without be —hypocrisy—portrays a false image to others, while be without do portrays a false image to oneself. The latter half of this statement fit with Richard Williams’ definition of agency, which is living truthfully. Thus to truly exercise agency, one has to do what one claims to be.
- Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Becoming a Disciple: King Benjamin…said, ‘Now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them’ (Mosiah 4:10). Such is still the test. Deeds, not words—and becoming, not describing—are dominant in true discipleship. Here Maxwell links deeds (doing) with becoming. It seems that we eventually become based on what we spend much of our time doing.
- Alma 7:12: And he [Christ] will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. This scripture really struck me. How is “know[ing] according to the flesh” different from our usual, cognitive sense of knowing? This kind of knowing seems based in experience (doing, even becoming).
We have a collection of fabulous quotations from scriptures and prophets, and these don’t begin to do the list justice. What are my greatest take-aways? First, that I believe God cares very very deeply about our becoming. Second, becoming is more than knowing and doing, but it is also based upon them, especially upon our actions. Finally, I’m just reminded of the divine potential within every person to become like God. I love this scripture especially:
Moroni 7:48: Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.
More than anything else charity, or the pure love of Christ, is essential to becoming what God wants us to be. Since we are trying to relate becoming to the overall process of learning, how do we learn charity? What does that look like in an educational setting? How do classrooms based on charity behave? How does this translate into today’s model of mass education?