Living Prophets Lesson 9: David O. McKay

Importance of Education


Get the entire FHE lesson series on "Living Prophets."

Purpose: To help family members understand the important role of education throughout this life

Gospel Principles: Education, scripture study, learning

Scripture: D&C 88:118

Music: “Truth Eternal” (Hymns, no. 4), “Seek the Lord Early” (CS, 108)


President David O. McKay was raised on a farm but knew early in his life that he did not want to be a farmer. He loved to learn and spent as much time as he could reading and studying, and he was blessed to be able to attend college after his mother received some money in an inheritance. While attending the University of Utah he played football, was involved in student government, and studied so hard he was able to graduate as valedictorian. A year after he

became president of the Church, President McKay spoke to the student body at Brigham Young University about the importance of getting a college education: “University life is essentially an exercise in thinking, preparing and living. . . . The aim of education is to develop resources in the child that will contribute to his well-being as long as life endures; to develop power of self-mastery that he may never be a slave to indulgence or other weaknesses, . . . one who can face

life with courage, meet disaster with fortitude, and face death without fear.”


1. Print a copy of “Seek Learning.” Explain to children what studies each of the college majors include. Ask each family member to name the major that sounds the most interesting to him or her.

2. Explore the required education for a specific skill or career in which individual family members have expressed interest. Discuss what they can do now to prepare for this training (some examples might include study hard in school, get good grades, get involved in appropriate extracurricular activities, and so on).

3. Discuss the following quote by President Henry B. Eyring, including how one can learn continually to develop his or her talents: “The Lord and His Church have always encouraged education to increase our ability to serve Him and our Heavenly Father’s children. For each of us, whatever our talents, He has service for us to give. And to do it well always involves learning, not once or for a limited time, but continually.”

Additional Resources:

1. Review the Church’s education website at to learn more about college preparation.

2. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism contains two informative entries regarding education (“Attitudes toward Education” and “Educational Attainment”).

Get the entire FHE lesson series on "Living Prophets."

All lessons are excerpted from the new book Follow the Prophets: 52 FHE Lessons from Latter-day Prophets.

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