What I Believe: Seek Ye Out of the Best Books

"...seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith." 
-Doctrine & Covenants 88:118

It's no secret that Latter-Day Saints cite C.S. Lewis quite frequently.  (About as frequently as the poem "Footprints in the Sand" is referred to worldwide!)

Can you blame us?

C.S. Lewis was THE-MAN!  He was a phenomenal author.  Brilliant in his style, and in the understandings and creations of his mind....not to mention his flawless illustration of those creations, via words.  (Plus, his sense of humor was spot-on!)   Add to all that, he was very VERY inspired in the entire collection of his writings.

It's also no secret that all 7 volumes of Mr. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia are some of our favorite books here on The Ranch.

Considering how wonderful the Hollywood production of Voyage of the Dawn Treader turned out, I had the sudden urge a few weeks ago to re-read the Chronicles.  (Boy am I glad I did, since it's been 5 years since my last reading of them all!)

What I couldn't help but adore most from the series is the last book, The Last Battle.  It reminded me of things I've learned in the scriptures.

For instance, there are some trees, whose fruit is described as follows:
"...Not far away from them rose a grove of trees, thickly leaved, but under every leaf there peeped out the gold or faint yellow or purple or glowing red of fruits such as no one has seen in our world.  The fruit made Tirian feel that it must be autumn but there was something in the feel of the air that told him it could not be later than June.  They all moved toward the trees.  
    Everyone raised his hand to pick fruit he best liked the look of, and then everyone paused for a second.  This fruit was so beautiful that each felt 'It can't be meant for me... surely we're not allowed to pluck it.'
   'Here goes, then!' said Eustace.  And they all began to eat.
   What was the fruit like?  Unfortunately no one can describe a taste.  All I can say is that, compared with those fruits, the freshest grapefruit you've ever eaten was dull, and the juiciest orange was dry, and the most melting pear  was hard and woody, and the sweetest wild strawberries was sour.  And there were no seeds or stones, and no wasps.  If you had once eaten that fruit, all the nicest things in this world would taste like medicines after it.  but I can't describe it.  You can't find out what it is like unless you can get to that country and taste it yourself."  (-The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis, Ch. 13, pg. 171-172)

Much like fruit of the tree in Lehi's vision (which Nephi received as well, after praying to see it for himself and better understand it 1 Nephi 8):
"And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.
And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.
And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit."
-1 Nephi 8:10-12

When one hears--or reads, for that matter-- truth, it resounds within.  That resounding in the Holy Ghost testifying to the pure truth that has been beheld.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

Truth = Light = Christ.

"The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth." 

In other words, Christ is in the intelligence....He's in the light and in the truth.  Hence why we should seek after Him....after the truth & light...after God's glory.  Not only so we can become closer to the Savior and more like Him, but because we take that intelligence with us when we leave this life.

"Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection."

That is why truth is so important.  As are the best books!  They further us along in our journey throughout the Eternities....and in our obtaining exaltation.  Out of the best books we will not only find knowledge, but will have truths (which we've already learned) reaffirmed through additional testimonies.

I must say, that even though I feel like a heal for not continuing in a classroom/laboratory style of college-education, I am satisfied that I can still find truth & education & intelligence through books available outside of a formal institution.  I'm grateful I live in a country, and a day & age where I can still learn and grow because I have freedoms to read.....to expand myself.  What a blessing!  (Thanks to my hubby, past family members, and all the others who've sacrificed so much to protect those freedoms, btw.)

The last few chapters in Lewis' The Last Battle are a great metaphor to what one learns when reading in the Book of Revelation, found at the end of The New Testament(Go, read it!  You'll see, I promise!)

In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe...The Silver Chair...and The Last Battle there are even lessons, symbolism, and similarities found that connect well with what we've seen in Jesus Christ's Atonement, His resurrection, and the promise of our own resurrections.  It's all been very reassuring....and beautiful to ponder!  So much so, that I've found myself in tears often while re-reading.  (You've GOT to read these or re-read them for yourselves!)  And frankly, all 7 of Lewis' Chronicles connect well with scriptural accounts & Christian beliefs in general!

Though C.S. Lewis' works may not be textbooks (in a secular sense, per se), but there is SO much light & knowledge to be gained in reading them.  Textbooks are mere mens' samplings of where we, as humans, have guessed.... and happened to have been lucky enough to have guessed right (when contemplating the laws, creations, and power of God), anyways.

Also, in case you were wondering, I love the allusion given in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, towards the end, of Aslan as a lamb.  Perfect!  Especially when it is revealed that the lamb IS Aslan: 
"...'There is a way into my country from all the worlds,' said the Lamb; but as he spoke his snowy white flushed into tawny gold and his size changed and he was Aslan himself, towering above them and scattering light from his mane."
   'Oh, Aslan," said Lucy.  'Will you tell us how to get into your country from our world?'
   'I shall be telling you all the time,' said Aslan.  'But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river.  but do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder.  And now come; I will open the door in the sky and send you to your own land.'..."
"...'it isn't Narnia, you know," sobbed Lucy.  'It's you.  We shan't meet you there.  And how can we live, never meeting you?'  
   'But you shall meet me, dear one,' said Aslan.
   'Are-are you there too, Sir?' said Edmund.
   'I am,' said Aslan.  'But there I have another name.  you must learn to know me by that name.  This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.'..."  -(The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis, Chapter 16, pg. 269-270)

So, I'll fore go expensive tuition, and gladly accept the education I gain each time the Holy Ghost touches my heart and teaches me from books of truth; from whichever pages that further light may be found.

I'm so grateful for the best books and their inspired authors.  They are such blessings.


Kim said...

I LOVE THIS SCRIPTURE!! Plus it's Brendon's mission scripture. I am in the process of getting this scripture put on a tile and waiting to see what my "peep" came up with. Great thoughts! Miss you darlin'!

Garden of Egan said...

OK, don't hate.........I have never read the Chronicles of Narnia.
I started to once, I have the set.
I thought it was scary.

You convinced me to give it a try again.

Lisa Loo said...

C.S. Lewis is true! :0)

I love his writings and I love that I can read his writing over and over and love it every.single. time.

You are not going to believe this but my word verification was "ouread"!

LKP is true!

karen★ said...

i really love c.s. lewis. i have the most beat up copies of the chronicles of narnia from when i was little, & my seth bought me this massive book that has all seven books in it for a valentine's day gift nine years ago. i also love the screwtape letters (which some people think is controversial, but i happen to think it's complete genius.)

i really love your last thought about text books being guesses on our parts. so insightful.

have i told you lately how awesome i think you are?


well, you are awesome. totally awesome.

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