The Lord’s University

Cartoonist Pat Bagley pokes fun at BYU’s 1997 decision to remove pieces from a traveling exhibition of the works of nineteen-century French sculptor Auguste Rodin.

The LDS Church is my alma mater. It holds a special place in my heart. It helped me earn a degree. A degree isn’t simply a piece of paper; it represents a level of competency to be turned loose and sent off armed with enough skill and knowledge for what’s next. Just like my secular university education, it seems the most important knowledge I’ve learned from my church alma mater is ‘how to learn’, everything else is just details and can become irrelevant with new advancements in understanding.

My alma mater helped build important life skills that I can use to pursue a profitable life. I want to give back to it. It’s anything but perfect. It’s got some real issues, but on a good day, I smile and say that’s what makes it what it is. On a bad day I get frustrated and want to rally for change. My alma mater inspires me when I see it win on the field. But I also get depressed when it looses.

I want to help other currently enrolled students on their learning journeys and I donate to the cause giving where I can in time and means. I even volunteer as part-time faculty.

These days I’m finding the best way to stay relevant and keep expanding my skill set isn’t pursuing further formal education in hopes of obtaining another degree, it’s simply loving to learn and being actively engage in my own studies. I still go back for continuing education courses, but I’m not taking those courses for a degree anymore — they simply help to keep my skills refined and relevant. In fact, some great continuing education courses I take come from other institutions, not just my alma mater.

Is my alma mater better than other ones? I dunno know. For me, I think it is. It’s hard for me to imagine getting my degree from anywhere else. Would I recommend my alma mater to others? For the right students, yes I would. But I’ll admit, maybe some students are better off at other institutions.

In fact, over the past few years it seems more and more students have dropped out from my alma mater or are transferring to other institutions. I’m a little saddened by this, but maybe they’ve found something better for them. Perhaps they felt they weren’t learning what they needed to. Maybe they earned their degree and found employment elsewhere. Whatever the case, I just hope they find their feet and keep pursuing their education whether it is formal or informal.

I guess what I’m saying with this little analogy is, the Church is not my relationship to God. It has helped to develop that relationship by both inspiring me and breaking me. At the end of the day the Church has been an integral part of my journey. It’s given me tools, skills, and understanding that I can’t imagine being able to developed without it. But at some point, there comes a time that you have to leave the classroom and go out and learn on your own to earn your way.

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