By Morgan Fox
“Precisely as you partake of the spirit, so will you progress in your studies’ (Karl G. Maeser). I’ve shared this quote many times in tours of the gallery and contemplated it on my own. Precisely as I partake of the spirit. The success I’m seeking in my studies- the good grades and graduate school opportunities I’m working for- are contingent on my efforts in both those subjects and on my interactions with the spirit.
I know this. I believe this. And yet, drowning in midterms with finals looming ominously just around the corner, my study has slipped to a purely secular realm. It’s difficult to make room for the spirit in Economics’ supply and demand curves or international relation realist theories on war. But the promise made by BYU’s founding principal, Karl G. Maeser, still holds true, proffering the solution to the progress I’m hoping to gain from my textbooks- partake of the spirit.
When we’re feeling overwhelmed by schoolwork and assignments, it’s easy to put off those things that will feed our spirits- scripture study, temple attendance, meaningful prayers, etc. But it is precisely those things that will elevate our performance in school to the next level. Our progress and success depends on our spiritual engagement and spiritual education. “If we provide a spiritual foundation for our secular learning, we can gain a depth of understanding never before imagined possible. We can see the world around us and understand it through God’s eyes. We are talking about a widening, not a narrowing, window of opportunity to learn if we attend to first things first” (L. Tom Perry).
When I start to forget to put ‘first things first’, a stroll through the gallery reminds me that the foundation of all learning is spiritual. I’m grateful for this place of learning on campus that is my constant reminder to partake of the spirit, work hard, and then watch the miracles unfold.