Elder Bednar's invitation to 'Increase in Learning'

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 6 2011 5:00 a.m. MST

For Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, learning has been a lifelong passion and pursuit.

“I love to learn,” Elder Bednar wrote in the preface of “Increase in Learning” (Deseret Book, $26.99) his new book. “And I love learning about learning.”

Increase in Learning: Spiritual Patterns for Obtaining Your Own Answers” was uniquely designed for the purpose.

“This book focuses upon concepts, patterns and processes that can help you and me learn for ourselves the fundamental doctrines and principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ,” Elder Bednar wrote. “This volume discusses why we should and how we can ‘increase in learning.’”

To completely engage the reader and enhance the learning process, the book features a blend of print, media and online resources. For example, at the end of each chapter, readers are invited to ask questions, ponder and apply the principles being taught. The margins of the book are extra-wide and there are blank pages for jotting down notes.

Beyond the text material, additional learning resources are available on both the accompanying DVD and online at seek.deseretbook.com/learning. The DVD contains a live question and answer discussion between Elder Bednar and a group of young adults, as well as an interview with Elder Bednar and Sister Susan Bednar. In both settings, concepts found in the book are discussed. Related readings that expand on and emphasize many of the concepts taught follow each chapter. Most of these related readings are taken from talks reprinted in the Ensign, an LDS Church publication.

“Please remember, however, that the written text, the questions to consider, the questions you pose at the end of each chapter, the readings, the additional resources are not complete in and of themselves,” Elder Bednar wrote. “Each has been designed to complement and enhance the others.”

If a reader prefers to use an e-reader device, a standard version of the book is available. There is also an enhanced ebook with embedded video content (see free Deseret Bookshelf app).

“This is the first interactive book where the content of the book and the DVD have been integrated,” said Cory Maxwell, director of publishing at Deseret Book. “They really should be read and watched together to get the full benefit of Elder Bednar’s insights.”

Elder Bednar warned readers that “this volume is not intended to be a quick, casual or relaxing read.” It doesn’t prescribe specific study habits, methods, lists of things “to do,” or provide doctrinal answers to pressing questions.

“Rather, I invite you throughout the book to engage in various learning experiences so you can increasingly ‘stand independent’ (Doctrine and Covenants 78:14) and learn how to find answers to your own questions,” Elder Bednar wrote. “Consequently, as you progress through the chapters you will needed to read, study, ponder, search, ask, knock, record thoughts and feelings, link, connect, revise, rethink, ask again, start again, and, most importantly, act.”

Elder Bednar was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve in 2004. Prior to his call, he served as an Area Seventy, regional representative and stake president. He served a mission to southern Germany and earned bachelor's and master’s degrees from Brigham Young University. After he received a Ph.D. from Purdue University, Elder Bednar taught at Texas Tech University and the University of Arkansas before becoming the president of BYU-Idaho in 1997. He and his wife, Susan, are the parents of three sons.

The title of the book was taken from Proverbs 9:9-10.

“My hope is that the combination of your faith in Heavenly Father and the Savior, your willingness to act as an agent, the text and the learning experience in which you will engage will invite the Holy Ghost to help you more fully understand basic gospel truths and a powerful spiritual pattern,” he wrote, “to the end that each of us may increase in learning.”

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