The last time I gave a talk, I had written it while playing a board game with my family. I was just sitting at the table with my Chromebook in my lap typing & whenever it was my turn I would look up and make them make my move and keep writing. Id like to point out that I won that game. I was told I did a good job but I don't think anyone would have guessed that those were the circumstances under which I wrote my talk. So I'm curious to see how well I do when my attention isnt split between the game and writing. Now that I have successfully shaved up a couple seconds from a time I suppose we should get onto the actual talk.
We know we don't yet have the complete knowledge of the gospel. It isn't regular that we receive large amounts of revelation each year. Because of this, we often hear many of the same lessons repeated over and over again. However, we are taught that we need to continually learn. So, what value comes from learning similar lessons each year. In Doctrine & Covenants, Chapter 50 Verse 24 it reads, That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. In Colossians Chapter 1 He says, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; He put together these scriptures to create one message that the continuation of lessons have greater impact which puts us further along the path.
Repetition itself, is not a good or bad thing. If we look at it from an unbiased standpoint It is literally defined as: the recurrence of an action or event. When we repeat actions, nothing about the actual action changes. So why did we repeat them? I searched up the term repetition in Google Scholar. This evidently was a good idea because I came across a quote from some philosopher. "Repetition changes nothing in the object repeated but does change something in the mind which contemplates it." Put simply, a task may seem easier after you've done it a million times, it's not because the actual task you've done is easier, something in your brain changes.
I'm gonna discuss the negative potential repetition has for us. Let's pretend that there's this kid named Bob and he's about 10 years old. One day he decides he's hungry, not actually hungry, but the type of hungry you get when you're actually just bored and not wanting to accept it. So he opened the cupboard with cookies in it and gets a large spoon to slide the Oreos off the shelf where his dad put them. Which should be out of reach but not when Bob had so cleverly, gotten a large spoon to help him get them down. Now that Bob has the Oreos he has to decide how many he wants. After careful deliberation he decides that he can definitely get away with one, its pretty unnoticeable. Even if they noticed, it's only one cookie So he probably won't get punished too severely. So Bob gets his cookie and slides it back onto the shelf, which is much easier than getting it down. So, Bob unfortunately has gotten away with this. This is unfortunate because what he tells himself is he will only do it once. And he was very firm with himself when he made that decision. The next day, Bob gets bored and hungry again, so he does it again. Except this time, he takes two, he hasn't gotten in trouble yet so why should he stop. Bob wasn't wrong in his initial reason that he could get away with it. He didn't think anything considerable would happen would eat them all at once. I've never done this particular crime but there are many other times that I've gotten comfortable doing something that I probably shouldn't. There's never no consequences and it feels like there aren't. This principle has been brought up many times in Sunday school. And to paraphrase my Sunday school teacher, " Nobody wakes up one day and thinks I'm gonna commit a massive sin today." Rather satan convinces you that it's maybe okay to sleep in rather than go to church. Or you're super tired So, maybe you don't read your scriptures that night. He knows better than anyone how great of a technique repetition Is. Because he's trapped millions with it and he is the grand master of it. Since for as long as anyone's been able to make good decisions Satan's significantly making wrong ones. All repetition does is teach your brain. You can teach it the right things or you could teach it the wrong things. Bob taught his brain the wrong things when he believed that there was no consequences. But the process of teaching your brain the right things can essentially be the same. A couple of weeks ago, I was eating lunch with my dad and he turned on a video about practicing affectively. I was very surprised to learn that muscles don't actually have memory. Information in our brains travel along nerve fibers called axons which are wrapped in Myelin. The Myelin sheath Insulates the axons like rubber around electrical cables, which prevents energy loss from electrical signals to the brain uses. When we practice something, the myelin sheath appear to get thicker better insulating the pathways the signals are traveling on. So less of the signal gets lost on the way.
I imagine the same logic can be applied to our spiritual cells. Each lesson creates a metaphorical nerve library in our testimonies and repeating actions build up the myelin around our fibers. So, that over time the same actions or lessons can have a greater effect on strengthening our testimonies. I'd like to bear my testimony that I know all things in the Gospel have a purpose. I know my Heavenly Father lives and his son sacrificed himself for our sins. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.