Are knowledge and intelligence the same thing, or are they different? Some of you are nodding your heads in response to the question, "Are they different?" The answer is yes. One can accumulate knowledge in the form of facts, information, or data. Intelligence is the application of what we know for righteous purposes. That statement bears repeating. Intelligence is the application of what we know for righteous purposes. There is an element of action, an element of obedience, in true spiritual intelligence. Look at the order in which knowledge and intelligence are presented--knowledge first, intelligence second. Follow along in the next line of the scripture and note the parallel between the terms knowledge and intelligence and the means by which they are acquired: "And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience." Now link knowledge and intelligence with diligence and obedience.
• How is knowledge obtained? Through diligence. And what is that? Hard work, perseverance, sticking with a task.
• How is intelligence acquired? Through obedience. Intelligence is the application of what we know for righteous purposes.
D&C 88:118 is a familiar verse. We have all read it many times, but I want to draw your attention to the sequence and pattern contained in it: And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. The sequence parallels what we find in Section 130. In fact, if we look at those two verses side by side, this is what we learn:
• Knowledge is obtained through diligent study. (Knowledge: Diligent + study. Diligent - D&C 130:19; Study - D&C 88:118.)
• How is intelligence developed? Through faithful obedience. (Intelligence: Faithful + Obedience. Faithful - D&C 130:19; Obedience - D&C 88:118.)
Brother and sisters, if there is one point I would have each of us understand today, it is that you and I are here at Ricks College to increase in intelligence. I do not mean ACT scores. I do not mean IQ. I do not mean the mere accumulation of facts. I mean spiritual intelligence. The intelligence I am talking about is not an academic pursuit; it is a spiritual pursuit wherein we learn and apply what we know for righteous purposes. Here are a few examples that highlight the distinction between knowledge and intelligence:
• You and I may know the right things to do--that is knowledge. But if you and I are intelligent, we will consistently do the right things. It is one thing to know what to do, but intelligence is consistently doing the right thing.
• It is important and good and necessary to know that the gospel is true. Intelligence is consistently being true to the gospel.
(David A Bednar, Gain Spiritual Intelligence, Ricks College Devotional, September 9, 1997)