How to “think celestial” when it comes to education

What it means to ‘think celestial’ about education

Last October, President Russell M. Nelson exhorted the worldwide Church to “think celestial” in his remarks to the general conference.

BYU-Pathway Worldwide President Brian K. Ashton and his wife, Sister Melinda Ashton, reaffirmed the Prophet’s invitation at a devotional broadcast on Tuesday, January 16. They also urged students to apply it to education.

President Ashton stated, “When it comes to education, we choose to always be learning and we get as much education as we can when we think celestial.”

Sister Ashton began their joint address on Tuesday by explaining that those who think celestial put Jesus Christ first in their lives. “We also take an eternal perspective, which means that we remember that our choices on earth determine where we will be and whom we will be with after this life. … Fortunately, as President Nelson noted, the things that allow us to be happy after this life are the same things that will make us happy here on earth.”

President Ashton said, “Those who think celestial” likewise center their thoughts on Jesus Christ. We try to behave as the Savior would behave by considering what He would do if He were in our shoes. We have greater faith in Jesus. We reflect on His perfect model and His suffering on our behalf. We receive the sacrament with greater reverence and mindfulness.

President and Sister Ashton stated that those who “think celestial” pay tithing, abide by the commandment of chastity, and make an effort to repent every day.

Regarding the idea of a celestial education, President Ashton stated that an excessive number of BYU-Pathway students discontinue their studies too soon. After finishing Pathway Connect or receiving a certificate, many people acquire better jobs, but they stop short of getting a degree.

Sister Ashton added, “Our dear students, the world is changing rapidly. If you want a career that will last, get your degree and continue to learn.” She quoted Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, who encouraged individuals to educate their minds and hands and to “take advantage of every educational opportunity.”

Quoting Doctrine and Covenants 130:18-19, Sister Ashton pointed out that those who gain intelligence and knowledge in this life will have “so much the advantage in the world to come.”

With seven-week classes and the new three-year and 90-credit degree facilitated through BYU–Pathway beginning in April, “if you take two classes per term, you can finish your degree in three years,” Sister Ashton noted. “If you take one class per term, you can finish in less than five years. What’s more, the three-year degree has cut the total cost of the degree by 25%.”

President Ashton said. “The more education you have, the more you too can make a difference in your family, the Church, your community and your nation.”


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