Feasting at a buffet of learning

Continuing to bulge at the seams, Campus Education Week at Brigham Young University once again provided a unique learning experience for thousands of patrons Aug. 16-20.

Following the theme "Guided By the Light," 1,200 classes were offered throughout the week on topics such as religion, families, self-improvement, art, history and science. Many classes were packed and overflowing.Elder Richard G. Scott of the Council of the Twelve spoke at a devotional in the Marriott Center Aug. 17. BYU Pres. Rex E. Lee conducted the devotional.

Elder Scott urged the 13,927 at the devotional "to acquire spiritual knowledge and to use it with wisdom." To do that, he said, "one must, in humility, seek divine light, exercise faith in Jesus Christ and strive diligently to keep His commandments."

He exhorted the audience to base testimonies on the example of the Savior rather than on the examples of imperfect men and women.

"Why seek divine light?" he asked. "If the darkness is too intense it can overpower light, as with a bulb plunged into a bucket of black printer's ink. Spiritual light overcomes the darkness of ignorance and disbelief."

He explained that gaining spiritual knowledge requires great dedication, persistence and humility. "Humility permits us to be taught from on high through the Spirit."

Elder Scott counseled those listening to continue gaining knowledge. "As knowledge unfolds, it must be understood, valued, used, remembered and expanded.

"The things I've been teaching you are not theory," Elder Scott concluded. He promised that greater truth and knowledge from the Lord can be obtained through the steps he prescribed.

E. Mack Palmer, Education Week director, estimated that more than 35,000 were enrolled in Education Week this year - a similar number to last year.

Brother Palmer said that while accommodating the crowd is a problem, it's kind of a nice problem. "I stop a lot of people and talk to them, and their attitude is that they're just excited to be here," he said. "There's really power in learning and it changes their lives and helps them with their daily activities."

R. Neil Carlile, Education Week coordinator, told the Church News: "A lot of people feel this is a week they can come and be renewed spiritually. There are so many classes. There are people who come to attend the dance classes, such as ballroom dancing and social dancing. We had a gourmet cooking class that was well attended.

"Education Week offers those attending an opportunity to pause from their daily activities and have a concentrated educational experience. It's a whole week where they can just focus on learning. The principles they are exposed to at Education Week can benefit them and their families."

To illustrate these benefits, Brother Carlile explained that there is a lost and found area for Education Week attendees. Those reporting or turning in lost items fill out a form describing the items and where the items were found. Brother Carlile related that on one of the forms, in describing a lost item, someone had written, "Testimony." The answer to where the item was found was Education Week classes.

More and more people each year are discovering how Education Week benefits their lives. Melvin and Rosemary Gadd of Bountiful, Utah, who have been attending Education Week together for six years, were impressed that the number of people attending continues to grow.

"The lines are longer, but the teachers are worth waiting for," said Sister Gadd.

The couple stayed at Deseret Towers on campus so they could take advantage of Education Week opportunities without commuting. Their activities included sessions at the Provo Temple.

Brother Gadd said his only complaint about Education Week is that "it's not longer."

About 300 classes were designed just for the youth, who also experienced the cramping caused by booming enrollment. To get into the Joseph Smith Building Auditorium for popular classes, for example, was a challenge."Some of them sit in here all day just so they'll be able to see their favorite speaker," said hostess Lynda Benson.

Many of the youth have been to Education Week before and said they would be back again for two reasons.

First, the chance to meet and socialize with other youth in a positive setting. Second, "We learn about the gospel and they make it fun," Ryan Erickson of Ogden, Utah, said of the teachers who entice them back each year.

Victor W. Harris has enjoyed five years speaking to youth as a member of the Education Week faculty.

"The most wonderful thing is when the Spirit comes and I know [the youthT are being touched," he said.

He, like many of the youth instructors, believes music is an important tool. "I feel strongly that music has the power to teach," he said after presenting a class entitled: "Music and Mormons - The Choice of the Royal Generation."

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