Quotes About Education
from LDS Church Leaders
If children are to be brought up in the way they should go, to be good citizens here and happy hereafter, they must be taught. It is idle to suppose that children will grow up good, while surrounded with wickedness, without cultivation. It is folly to suppose that they can become learned without education. (Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 273)
I am opposed to free education as much as I am opposed to taking property from one man and giving it to another who knows not how to take care of it... I do not believe in allowing my charities to go through the hands of robbers who pocket nine-tenths themselves and give one tenth to the poor... Would I encourage free schools by taxation? No!
(Journal of Discourses Vol. 18, p. 357)
We had to pay our own schoolteachers, raise our own bread and earn our own clothing, or go without; there was no other choice. We did it then, and we are able to do the same to-day. I want to enlist the sympathies of the ladies among the Latter-day Saints, to see what we can do for ourselves with regard to schooling our children. Do not say you cannot school them, for you can... I understand that the other night there was a school meeting in one of the wards of this city, and a part there--a poor miserable apostate--said, "We want a free school, and we want to have the name of establishing the first free school in Utah." To call a person a poor miserable apostate may seem like a harsh word; but what shall we call a man who talks about free schools and who would have all the people taxed to support them, and yet would take his rifle and threaten to shoot the man who had the collection of the ordinary light taxes levied in this Territory--taxes which are lighter than any levied in any other portion of the country?
(Journal of Discourses 16:19-20)
I can say that it is good and wise and judicious in parents to instruct their children in the way. If they wish the word of the Lord upon the subject, I will give it to you and you may, any of you, write it down if you please. It is the will of the Lord our God that we teach our children the way of righteousness from the Holy Scriptures and there is no better method than for mothers to teach them at home, and in the Sunday Schools. (The Teachings of President Brigham Young, Vol. 3)
...there is once in a while a good man comes along as a school teacher who is not a "Mormon," but as a general thing, what have these men done? They have planted the seeds of infidelity in the hearts of the children, decoyed the hearts of their female pupils, and led them to ruin, and they have turned round and cursed us... They do not know a Saint from a sinner or righteousness from unrighteousness... (The Mind and Will of the Lord, Brigham Young, p. 443)
I cannot say that I would recommend the reading of all books, for it is not all books which are good. Read good books, and extract from them wisdom and understanding as much as you possibly can aided by the Spirit of God. (Life of Brigham Young, p. 218)
We want to make our own school books. We are paying now from thirty thousand to sixty thousand dollars a year for school books that can be made here just as well as to send and buy them abroad. This is carrying out the plan and principles of building up Zion, whether you know it or not. We may preach until Doomsday, and tell how Zion will look, how wide her streets will be, what kind of dwellings her people will have, what kind of carriages and what fine horses they will have, and what a beautiful looking set of people they will be, but it is all nonsense to talk about what we will never reach if we do not stop our folly and wickedness. We have the privilege of building up and enjoying Zion, and I am telling you how to do it. We want the women, from this time forth, to go to work and save the paper rags, and we will make the paper for them. And they can learn to make type. I can pick hundreds and hundreds of women out of this congregation that could go into a shop and make type just as will as men, it is a trifling thing. And they can learn to set type, and they can learn how to write for our school books. We have plenty of men and women that know how to write books, and how to teach too. We have just as good school teachers here as any in the world.
(Journal of Discourses 16:17)
The duty of the mother is to watch over her children, and give them their early education, for impressions received in infancy are lasting. You know, yourselves, by experience, that the impressions you have received in the dawn of your mortal existence, bear, to this day, with the greatest weight upon your mind. It is the experience of people generally, that what they imbibe from their mothers in infancy, is the most lasting upon the mind through life... Children have all confidence in their mothers; and if mothers would take proper pains, they can instill into the hearts of their children what they please. You will, no doubt, recollect reading, in the Book of Mormon, of two thousand young men, who were brought up to believe that, if they put their whole trust in God, and served Him, no power would overcome them. You also recollect reading of them going out to fight, and so bold were they, and so mighty their faith, that it was impossible for their enemies to slay them. This power and faith they obtained through the teachings of their mothers. (Journal of Discourses 1:66-70)
No matter what your circumstances are, whether you are in prosperity or in adversity, you can learn from every person, transaction, and circumstance around you. (Discourses of Brigham Young, 250.)
Heber C. Kimball:
I am not what the world calls a learned man; neither is President Young. We never went to any college except the one sustained by the Latter-day Saints, and we have been in that from the beginning. Let me tell you, gentlemen and ladies, if we had been brought up in palaces, and been sent to school all the days of our lives to get all the education of the world, and were practical men only in these things, would we be of any advantage to this people? A man may pass through a course of education designed to fit him for a doctor, a minister, or a lawyer, and it is often the case that he comes out an ignoramus, or worse than useless member of society. When the flowers begin to bloom on the mountain sides, the ladies try to imitate them with artificial ones. Which would you rather possess in education--the real flower, or the artificial one? Would you not rather have true education, direct from heaven, than the artificial one of the world? The one educates the head and the heart, the other the head alone.
(Journal of Discourses, 3:106)
John W. Taylor
There is a spirit working among the Saints to educate their own offspring. If our children will be all we will have for a foundation of glory in eternity, how needful that they be properly trained... There are wolves among us in sheep's clothing ready to lead astray our little ones... Wolves do not devour old sheep when there are any young ones. I have herded sheep long enough to know that. Look after your children. (Collected Discourses 2:138.)
Whatever you do, be careful in the selection of teachers. We don't want infidels to mold the minds of our children. They are a precious charge bestowed upon us by the Lord, and we cannot be too careful in rearing and training them. I would rather have my child taught the simple rudiments of a common education by men of God, and have them under their influence, than have them taught in the most abstruse sciences by men who have not the fear of God in their hearts. (The Gospel Kingdom, p. 273.)
In relation to the education of the world generally, a great amount of it is of very little value, consisting
more of words than ideas; and whilst men are verbose in their speaking or writing, you have to hunt for
ideas or truth like hunting for a grain of wheat among piles of chaff or rubbish. It is true that a great
amount of it is really valuable and it is for us to select the good from the bad. The education of men ought to be adapted to their positions both as temporal and eternal beings. (The Gospel Kingdom, p. 269)
Shall we employ teachers that will turn the infant minds of our children away from the principles of the gospel and perhaps lead them to darkness and death? ...I would like to know if a Methodist would send his children to a Roman Catholic School, or vice versa? I think not. Do either send their children to "Mormon" schools, or employ "Mormon" teachers? I think not. Do we object to it? No, we do not; we accord to all classes their rights, and we claim rights equal with them. Well, shall we, after going to the ends of the earth to gather people to Zion, in order that they may learn more perfectly of His ways and walk in His paths, shall we then allow our children to be at the mercy of those who would lead them down to death again? God forbid! Let our teachers be men of God, men of honor and integrity, and let us afford our children such learning as will place our community in the front ranks in educational as well as religious matters. But would we interfere with other religious denominations? No. Prevent them from sending their children where and to whom they please? No. Or from shipping where they please? No. I would not put a hair in their way, nor interfere with them in any possible way; they can take their course, and we want the same privilege. (Journal of Discourses 19:249-250)
Let our children be taught by our friends and not by our enemies... Educate your children, and seek for those to teach them who have faith in God and in his promises as well as intelligence. (The Gospel Kingdom, p. 276-277)
One of the latest movements has in view the revocation of all certificates given to school teachers who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ, which means the placing of our children, by the help of our taxes, under the tuition of those who would gladly eradicate from their minds all love and respect for the faith of their fathers. The duty of our people under these circumstances is clear; it is to keep their children away from the influence of the sophisms of infidelity and the vagaries of the sects. Let them, though it may possibly be at some pecuniary sacrifice, establish schools taught by those of our faith, where, being free from the trammels of State aid, they can unhesitatingly teach the doctrines of true religion combined with the various branches of a general education. And in this connection permit us to urge upon the Saints in all the Stakes of Zion the necessity of caring well for the education of our youth. If we are to be a powerful people in the near future, wielding potent influence for good among the peoples of the earth, we must prepare ourselves for those responsibilities, and not expect that ignorance will avail us in that day; but a knowledge of true principle, of doctrine, of law, of the arts and sciences, as well as of the Gospel, will be urgently necessary to enable to fulfill, to God's glory and the renovation of the world, the responsibilities which we believe will, by right of our calling, at that time be most assuredly ours. (Messages of the First Presidency, 3:58)
Let our teachers be men of God, imbued with the Spirit of God that they may lead them forth in the paths of life, and warn them against the various evils and iniquities that prevail in the world, that they may bear off this kingdom when we get through, and be valiant in the truths of God. Teach them how to approach God, that they may call upon him and he will hear them, and by their means we will build up and establish Zion, and roll forth that kingdom which God has designed shall rule and reign over the nations of the earth. We want to prepare them for these things; and to study from the best books as well as by faith, and become acquainted with the laws of nations, and of kingdoms and governments, and with everything calculated to exalt, ennoble, and dignify the human family. We should build good commodious school-houses, and furnish them well; and then secure the services of the best teachers you can, and thus "train up your children in the way they should go." Solomon said, if you do, "when they are old they will not depart from it." (Journal of Discourses 20:60)
And then we want to study also the principles, and to get the very best teachers we can to teach our children; see that they are men and women who fear God and keep his commandments. We do not want men or women to teach the children of Latter-day Saints who are not Latter-day Saints themselves. Hear it you Elders of Israel, and you school-trustees! We want none of these things. Let others who fear not God take their course; but it is for us to train our children up in the fear of God. God will hold us responsible for this trust. Hear it, you Elders of Israel and you fathers and you mothers! Talking about education, as I said before, Joseph Smith knew more in regard to true education than all the philosophers and scientists of the earth; and he knew it by the revelations of God. (Journal of Discourses 20:179)
We do not want outside folks to teach our children, do we? I think no. We do not want them to teach us
how to get to heaven, do we? If we did, it would be of no use, for they do not know the way. Well, then,
we do not want them to tamper with the minds of our little ones. You will see the day that Zion will be as far ahead of the outside world in everything pertaining to learning of every kind as we are today in regard to religious matters. You mark my words, and write them down, and see if they do not come to pass. We are not dependent upon them, but we are upon the Lord. We did not get our priesthood nor our information in regard to his law from them; it came from God. The world profess to know a little about what they call science, literature and the arts. Where did they get their knowledge of these things from? And what is it they really do know? They know something about the laws of Nature. Who made those laws? God made them; and it is by his almighty power that they are governed. (Journal of Discourses 21:100)
We have committed to our care pearls of great price; we have become the fathers and mothers of lives,
and the Gods and the Holy Priesthood in the eternal worlds have been watching us and our movements in relation to these things. We do not want a posterity to grow up that will be ignorant, depraved, corrupt, and fallen, that will depart from every principle of right; but one that will be intelligent and wise, possessing literary and scientific attainments, and a knowledge of everything that is good, praiseworthy, intellectual and beneficial in the world, and become acquainted with the earth on which we stand, and the elements of which it is composed, and by which we are surrounded, and know how to control them and manage them, and how to put to the best use everything that comes within our reach. And above all other things, teach our children the fear of God... Let our teachers be men of God, imbued with the Spirit of God that they may lead them forth in the paths of life, and warn them against the various evils and iniquities that prevail in the world, that they may bear off this kingdom when we get through, and be valiant in the truths of God. Teach them how to approach God, that they may call upon him and he will hear them, and by their means we will build up and establish Zion, and roll forth that kingdom which God has designed shall rule and reign over the nations of the earth. We want to prepare them for these things; and to study from the best books as well as by faith, and become acquainted with the laws of nations, and of kingdoms and governments, and with everything calculated to exalt, ennoble, and dignify the human family. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 20 p. 60)
The world is opposed to us. They say they are not. Well, would you injure them? No; I would not hurt a hair of their heads or deprive them of any right they enjoy, either religious or political. We want to treat all men kindly and with due respect; but we do not want to be governed by their religious views, nor put our children under their teachings. We want to look after the education of our children and see that they are placed under proper teachers and receive proper training, and not be placed in the hands of the enemies of the Church and kingdom of God... We believe in celestial glory, and we believe in terrestrial and telestial glory, or in other words, we believe that there will be a separation finally of the good and the bad. Now, we are engaged in gathering together, or separating ourselves from the world and building our temples and administering in them for the living and the dead, and we spend millions of dollars in the accomplishment of this object, that we may become united and linked together by eternal covenants that shall exist in all time and throughout eternity. And then, when we have done all this, we go and deliberately turn our children over to whom? To men who do not believe in the gospel, to men according to your faith, are never going to the Celestial Kingdom of God. They will get as big a glory as they are prepared for, but they are not going there. And you will turn your children over to them. And you call yourselves Latter-day Saints, do you? I will suppose a case. You expect to be saved in the Celestial Kingdom of God. Well, supposing your expectations are realized, which I sometimes doubt, and you
look down, down somewhere in a terrestrial or telestial kingdom, as the case may be, and you see there your children, the offspring that God had given you to train up in his fear, to honor him and keep his commandments, and perceive that between you and them there is a great gulf, as represented by the Savior in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. And supposing they could converse with you - which however they could not - but if such were the case, what would their feelings be toward you? It would be Father, Mother, you are to blame for this. I would have been with you if you had not tampered with the principles of life and salvation in permitting me to be decoyed away by false teachers who taught incorrect principles. And this is the result of it. (Journal of Discourses 20:107.)
Now, then, if men, without much of the advantage of what is termed education in this world are filled with the Spirit of God, the revelations of the Holy Ghost, and can comprehend the relationship of man to God, can know their duties, and can teach a people, a nation, or a world how they may be saved and obtain thrones, principalities, powers, and dominions in the eternal worlds -- if men can understand these principles by the gift of the Holy Ghost and the revelations of the Most High, and are enabled to place them before the people so that they can comprehend them, then, I say, these are the men of education -- the men of intellect -- the men who are calculated to bless and ennoble the human family. This is the kind of education that we want and the more simple those principles can be conveyed the better. They are more adapted to the wants and intelligence of the human family. . . Do you repudiate education, then? No -- not at all. I appreciate all true intelligence, whether moral, social, scientific, political, or philosophical. But I despise the folly that they hang on to it, and the folly that they call education. (The Gospel Kingdom pp. 270-271)
The education of men ought to be adapted to their positions, both as temporal and eternal beings. It is well to understand the arts and sciences; it is well to understand language and history; it is well to understand agriculture, to be acquainted with mechanics, and to be instructed in everything that is calculated to promote the happiness, the well-being, and the comfort of the human family. That education which but amounts to a little outward appearance and applies only to a few conveniences of this life is very far short of that education and intelligence which immortal beings ought to be in possession of. The education of the present day is generally misapplied; indeed, men have misapplied the education which they have received for generations and generations. (Journal of Discourses .5:263)
It is pleasing to notice the increased feeling of anxiety on the part of the Saints to have their children educated in schools where the doctrines of the Gospel and the precious records which God has given us can be taught and read. Our children should be indoctrinated in the principles of the Gospel from their earliest childhood. They should be made familiar with the contents of the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. These should be their chief text books, and everything should be done to establish and promote in their hearts genuine faith in God, in His Gospel and its ordinances, and in His works. But under our common school system this is not possible... In no direction can we invest the means God has given us to better advantage than in the training of our children in the principles of righteousness and in laying the foundation in their hearts of that pure faith which is restored to the earth. We would like to see schools of this character, independent of the District School system, started in all places where it is possible. (Messages of the First Presidency, 3:86)
Train your children to be intelligent and industrious. First teach them the value of healthful bodies, and how to preserve them in soundness and vigor; teach them to entertain the highest regard for virtue and chastity, and likewise encourage them to develop the intellectual faculties with which they are endowed. They should also be taught regarding the earth on which they live, its properties, and the laws that govern it; and they ought to be instructed concerning God, who made the earth, and his designs and purposes in its creation, and the placing of man upon it... And whatever labor they pursue, they should be taught to do so intelligently; and every incentive, at the command of parents to induce children to labor intelligently and understandingly, should be held out to them.
(Gospel Kingdom: Selections from the Writings and Discourses of John Taylor, 271-272.)
Karl G. Maeser
Judging the educational system in vogue in the United States by its fruits, we need only refer to the statements made by many thinking men of this nation to the effect that evil results accrue from the practice of excluding Diety from textbooks and school rooms, and thus tacitly encouraging a feeling of infidelity, which is rapidly growing among the youth of this land. That system of Godless education has proven unsatisfactory and we will have none of it. (Revealed
Educational Principles and the Public Schools, p. 114)
A glance over the conditions of mankind in this our day with its misery, discontent, and corruption, and disintegration of the social, religious, and philosophic fabrics, shows that this generation has been put into the balance and has been found wanting. A following, therefore, in the old grooves, would simply lead to the same results, and that is what the Lord has designed shall be avoided in Zion. President Brigham Young felt it in his heart that an educational system ought to be inaugurated in Zion in which, as he put it in his terse way of saying things, neither the alphabet nor the multiplication table should be taught without the Spirit of God.
(Educating Zion, p. 2)
George Q. Cannon
Think of the immense influence which 60,000 children, properly educated, will have on the earth, if we
furnish them with the facilities, that are within our reach. Why, it is stupendous, the mere thought of
so many children being trained and indoctrinated in our principles, as they are in our schools, and a
foundation of a superstructure reared of an understanding of the principles of the gospel, and mixed with that, a knowledge of science as well as the ordinary branches of education. (Collected Discourses
There is no good reason why the biographies and writing of pagan philosophers should be admitted into our schools while the life, teachings and works of the Son of God are denied admission there. As our schools are now managed, the infidel has every advantage. Infidelity is almost sure to follow the use of many textbooks. The books which are most valuable for men to know are rigidly excluded from the schoolroom. This is wrong. (Gospel Truth, p. 245)
There are parents who are very favorable to their children receiving education, but appear to be indifferent as to the character of the teaching which they receive. They do not seem to place any value on their children being taught the principles of their religion. Apparently, therefore, they would as soon their children be taught in schools or colleges where religion is entirely ignored as in an academy taught by Latter-day Saints. . . The Latter-day Saints have forsaken everything for their religion. They have been willing to die for it . . How persons who have had these feelings concerning religion in their own case can be so careless as to expose their children to infidelity seems a great mystery. (Juvenile Instructor Vol. 27, p. 546)
Neither you nor your parents can be too careful to see that your young and fruitful minds are fed and stored with good principles. You want to learn that which is true - when you learn anything about God, Jesus Christ, the angels, the Holy Ghost, the gospel, the way to be saved, your duty to your parents, brethren, sisters or to any of your fellow men, or any history, art or science, I say when you learn those things, you want to learn that which is true, so when you get those things riveted in your mind and planted in your heart, and you trust to it in future live and lean upon it for support, that it may not fail you like a broken reed. (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 266.)
We want to save our children, and to have them partake of all the blessings that encircle the sanctified -- to have them receive the blessings of their parents who have been faithful to the fullness of the gospel. We do not want them to wade through all the routine of false doctrines and erroneous systems that we have had to wade through in our generation. (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p.268)
We feel that the time has arrived when the proper education of our children should be taken in hand by us as a people. Religious training is practically excluded from the District Schools. The perusal of books that we value as divine records is forbidden. Our children, if left to the training they receive in these schools, will grow up entirely ignorant of these principles of salvation for which the Latter-day Saints have made so many sacrifices. To permit this condition of things to exist among us would be criminal. The desire is universally expressed by all thinking people in the Church that we should have schools where the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants can be used as text books, and where the principles of our religion may form a part of the teaching of the schools. (Messages of the First Presidency, 3:168)
It would be better for us not to be able to cast up a single sum in addition and be humble before the Lord than to have ever so much knowledge and permit that knowledge to lead us to destruction. (Wilford Woodruff's Journals 5:428.)
Our children should be indoctrinated in the principles of the Gospel from their earliest childhood. They should be made familiar with the contents of the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. These should be their chief text books, and everything should be done to establish and promote in their hearts genuine faith in God, in His Gospel and its ordinances, and in His works. But under our common school system this is not possible.(Messages of the First Presidency, Jun. 8, 1888, Vol.3, Pg.166-169)
What did we come here for? We came to build up Zion, not to build up Babylon. The voice of the Almighty called us out from the midst of confusion, which is Babylon, to form a union and a lovely brotherhood, in which we should love one another as we love ourselves. When we depart from this purpose, the Spirit of God withdraws from us to the extent of that departure. But if we continue in the extent of those covenants which we made when we received the gospel, there is a corresponding increase of light and intelligence, and there is a powerful preparation for that which is to come. And because of our faithfulness and our adherence to the covenants we have made, the foundation upon which we stand becomes like the pillars of heaven -- immovable. (The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow p. 179)
Joseph F. Smith
There are three dangers that threaten the church from within, and the authorities need to awaken to the
fact that the people should be warned unceasingly against them. As I see them, they are flattery of prominent men in the world, false educational ideas, and sexual impurity. (Gospel Doctrine p. 312-313.)
Do not let your children out to specialists... but teach them by your own precept and example, by your own fireside. Be a specialist yourself in the truth. Let our meetings, schools and organizations, instead of being our only or leading teachers, be supplements to our teaching and training in the home. No child in a hundred would go astray, if the home environment, example and training were in harmony with the truth of the gospel of Christ, as revealed and taught to Latter-day Saints.
(Gospel Doctrine, p. 302)
I believe that we are taxing people more for education than they should be taxed. This is my sentiment. And especially this is my sentiment when the fact is known that all these burdens are placed upon the tax payers of the state to teach the learning or education of this world. God is not in it. Religion is excluded from it. The Bible is excluded from it. And those who desire to have their children receive the advantages of a moral and religious education are excluded from all these state organizations, and if we will have our children properly taught in principles of righteousness, morality and religion, we have to establish Church schools or institutions of our own, and thus the burdens of taxation are increased upon the people. We have to do it in order that our children may have the advantages of moral training in their youth. I know that I shall be criticized by professional "lovers of education" for expressing my idea in relation to this matter. (Conference Report, Oct 1915, p.4)
Any man who will question the divinity of the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ, or will deny the so-called
miracles of the scriptures is unfit to be a teacher of Latter-day Saint children. (Improvement Era Vol. 21, p. 104)
Everyone should learn something new everyday. You all have inquiring minds and are seeking truth in many fields. I sincerely hope your greatest search is in the realm of spiritual things, because it is there that we are able to gain salvation and make the progress that leads to eternal life in our Father's kingdom. The most important knowledge in the world is gospel knowledge. It is knowledge of God and his law, of those things that men must do to work out their salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord. (Ensign, May 1971, pp. 2-3)
Can you find a Catholic that will send his children to a Protestant school, or a Protestant who will send his to a Catholic school; they, each, send their children to their own schools, and they take all the pains and use all the means in their power to rear their children in their own faith, being convinced that is the proper course for them to pursue. It is right that they should do so. But some Latter-day Saints are so liberal and unsuspecting that they would just as soon send their children to Mr. Pierce down here as to anybody else. I would not do it. However good a man Mr. Pierce may be, he should not teach one of my children as long as I had wisdom and intelligence to teach him myself, or could find a man of my own faith to do it for me. (Journal of Discourses 14:287-288)
Heber J. Grant
It is a duty we owe our children to see that they get an education; but the education of the heart--education in the Gospel, a testimony of the plan of salvation--is the foundation that we should lay in the breast of every child. Statistics show that in the New England States, were they pride themselves on the high standard of education they have reached, and justly too, the percentage of illiteracy is lower inside the prison walls than outside. And why is this so? Because they educate the brain at the expense of the heart, and leave God out of the question; the eternal part of man is neglected. Notwithstanding the growth of education in the United States has been remarkable and phenomenal, yet there has not been a corresponding growth in morals; and the result is the high percentage of criminals among the educated classes. And there are many leading men today who condemn the free school system of the United States on this account. I have often admired the Roman Catholics because of the training of their children. In this respect they show a consistency that we might pattern after with credit and profit. They believe that Catholicism is the only true faith, and they take the greatest pains to educate their children in the tenets of their faith, and thereby show they are sincere in what they profess. I have heard it said that the Catholic priests maintain that if they can have the training of children until they reach, some say eight and others twelve years, they will ensure their being Catholics for ever after. Now, if this boast can safely be made by Catholics why not by Latter-day Saints? If we will do our duty, and be as liberal in devoting dollars and cents to the education of the children as the Elders are in devoting their time as missionaries to foreign countries, there certainly will be a wonderful growth in the knowledge of the Gospel among the youth of Zion. I hope to see the day when the Latter-day Saints as a community will be awakened to the importance of this question, and when they will as readily use their time and means to propagate faith in the hearts of their own flesh and blood, as they are to go and preach the Gospel to the people of foreign lands. (Collected Discourses, Vol.1, September 1, 1889)
I will thank the Lord when the public sentiment of America shall say that a man who does not believe in prayer cannot teach our children, at the expense of the public. Why should my money be used to employ a man to teach my children infidelity and a lack of faith in God? I remember as a boy, when we had our small common schools, that they hired a non-Mormon to teach in the Twelfth Ward school. He got up and said: "I understand that in the past you have prayed in this school. We will not have any more prayers, because we do not know whether or not there is anybody to pray to." I consider it an outrage that the money of people who believe in the Lord God Almighty can be spent to teach our children that kind of "rot." I endorse Nicholas Murray Butler's words, "The fool who says in his heart: 'There is no God,' finds his god when he is looking in the mirror." (Conference Report, April, 1922: 167.)
Unless we provide better means of religious instruction for the rising generation, I fear that many of them will turn away from the truth. (Gospel Standards: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Heber J. Grant, 163-164.)
George F. Richards
The public schools, maintained as they are by public taxation, are by law forbidden teaching religion in those schools. The result is an exclusively secular education, an education godless in its character; and such an education is most imperfect. What, then, are the schools going to do for us in the proper education of our children ? Who has not looked upon his little boy or girl, five or six years of age, the child approaching the years when he or she will be expected to enter the district school, but experiences a great deal of concern and anxiety, fearing that the morals of that child may be weakened, instead of being stimulated and encouraged, by attendance at the district schools. The restrictive influence in the schoolroom is scarcely sufficient to overcome the unhallowed and unwholesome environment often encountered on the playground. The church, then, has something to do as also the home, for they are to supply the entire moral needs of the child. (CR, April 1910, p.80, 82)
Heber C. Iverson
If you want to know what has de-Christianized the country, I point my finger to the provided school from which Christ has been turned out and the door slammed in his face. The thought of it makes me bury my face in my hands and sob with sorrow and shame. (CR, April 1920, p.85)
J. Reuben Clark
It does seem to me that we parents have not only lost all control as to what out own flesh and blood - I use that term instead of children because I should like to make the ugly fact as poignant as possible - I say we have lost all control as to what our own are taught... and also we are not even consulted about these matters. Now as a matter of principle, surely we who pay the costs and furnish the students might with propriety have some voice in what they whom we pay shall teach those students... I am willing that every man shall believe what he wishes, print what he wishes, and say what he wishes within his Constitutional rights, but I am not willing that he shall exploit all his idiosyncrasies in teaching my flesh and blood while I pay the bill! I insist that he shall have all the personal freedom he can carry, but I am not willing to extend that full and complete freedom into a gross license and then pay him to abuse that license to distort and debase the minds and hearts and bodies of those who belong to me and are dearer to me than life itself. (Prophets, Principles and National Survival, p. 188.)
John A. Widtsoe
We have given our public schools a great trust; and have endowed them with tremendous power. Our children are in their keeping during most of the formative years of life. As the schools teach so will the coming generation think and act. The conditions in our land today, good or bad, may well be laid at the doors of our schools, which nourished us in our immaturity with ideals which in our maturity are being translated into action... If the schools shall be powerful factors in building defenses against evil, and in preparing against the enemy, they must face about from traditional views and give undivided attention on the one hand to moral and spiritual training, and on the other to practical education. Such teaching, for that matter, has been the counsel and advice of the Church from the beginning. Never was it needed more than now. (CR, October 1940, p.62-65)
George Albert Smith
We have in our public schools and in our universities, men and women who are trained, their minds are lighted up by the teachings of men, and it is remarkable to what a degree the business of life has been brought to the attention of the human family; but most of our schools operate as a result of the wisdom of man and exclude God, the source of all truth. We spend millions of dollars in the education of the hand and of the mind, and we exclude from many of these institutions all knowledge of our heavenly Father, who gave to us the hand and the mind. In fact, there has been an effort made by some educators to create in the minds of pupils under their watch-care a contempt for the fact that the world we live in is controlled by our Father in heaven. (CR, April 1926, p.144)
Now, fathers and mothers, appreciate your children. Don't turn them over to somebody else to train and educate in regard to matters of eternal life. That is your privilege, and it is a privilege. Teach them to pray and walk uprightly before the Lord, and then in time of need they can go to him and he will answer their prayers. It will be astonishing to you the great happiness that will come into your home that you theretofore have not enjoyed, if you will follow this counsel.
(Conference Report, October 1948, p. 166)
Joseph Fielding Smith
Parents are commanded by revelation to teach their children these principles of the gospel...
Then they go to school and find these glorious principles ridiculed and denied by the doctrines of men
founded on foolish theories which deny that man is the offspring of God... These theories so dominate
the secular education of our youth. They are constantly published in our newspapers, in magazines and
other periodicals, and those who believe in God and his divine revelations frequently sit supinely by without raising a voice of protest. Under these conditions, is it any wonder the student is confused? He does not know whether to believe what his parents and the Church have taught him, or to believe what the teacher says and is written in the textbook. Naturally, students have confidence in their teachers and as confidence increases, there comes a lack of confidence in the doctrines of the Church and the parental instruction. (Man: His Origin and Destiny, p.2-3.)
There is no knowledge, no learning that can compensate the individual for the loss of his belief in heaven
and in the saving principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. An education that leads a man from these central truths cannot compensate him for the great loss of spiritual things. (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:321-322.)
The education of the present day is very largely knowledge without the accompanying light and truth... Such learning leads to spiritual death, not spiritual life. I regret exceedingly that courses of study in the public schools, in the colleges, and places of learning throughout the land, are in conflict with the fundamental truths of the Christian faith; and for one, I desire to express my feelings... and to declare that I consider it an outrage against the liberties of the people, when we are denied the privilege of teaching principles of eternal truth in the realm of religion; when we are denied the privilege
of praying to our Heavenly Father in the schools, or referring to the Supreme Being for fear that we will offend someone. (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, p. 320)
Frequently some young student comes to be greatly disturbed because some statement made by a teacher has expressed doubt of or discredited some principle of the Gospel or some fact recorded in the Bible. Most of these young people are at a receptive age. They have been taught to believe the scriptures are of divine origin... Then to have a teacher ridicule some scriptural incident or doctrinal teaching, is to them very disturbing. Having some confidence in their teachers, they find themselves torn by a mental conflict. Are their parents deceived? Is the teacher right? They look upon the teacher as a person of reliability and integrity. This feeling is augmented by the confirmation given in the textbook to what the teacher has said. These conflicts are most serious indeed and the student begins to accept the theories and to reject the teachings of the Church and his parents. If they continue in school with this conflict to contend with, the conviction is strengthened that the text and the confirmation by the teacher cannot be wrong. (Man: His Origin and Destiny p. 9-10)
This is one of the great obstacles in the way of the education of our children: the books which are in our schools, and from which our children are taught, contain theories that are unsound; they are based upon false premises that lead to wrong conclusions; and it requires the utmost care on the part of parents and teachers to prevent bad effects following education based upon such textbooks... It is a difficult thing, in the midst of...false doctrines and theories which come to us and our children in the guise of science, to prevent the spirit of unbelief from influencing us. (Gospel Truth, p. 245)
The trend of education throughout the world today is materialistic and mechanistic; the swing is away from God. What the advocates of these doctrines are pleased to call "moderism" and "liberalism" eliminate faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. (The Progress of Man, p. 379)
I regret exceedingly that courses in study in the public schools, in the colleges and places of learning throughout the land, are in conflict with fundamental truths of the Christian faith; and, for one, I desire to express my feelings, and to declare that I consider it an outrage against the liberties of the people, when we are denied the privilege of teaching principles of eternal truth in the realm of religion; when we are denied the privilege of praying to our Heavenly Father in the schools, or referring to the Supreme Being for fear that we will offend someone; and at the same time instructors are permitted to advocate that, in the schools, which the teachers themselves profess and declare to be in conflict with the fundamentals of the faith which I believe, and which thousands of others accept throughout this nation and other nations of the world as divine truth...
There is no knowledge, no learning that can compensate the individual for the loss of his belief in heaven and in the saving principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. An education that leads a man from these central truths cannot compensate him for the great loss of spiritual things. (Doctrines of Salvation 1:321-322)
David O. McKay
Still fresh in our memory is the fact that a paranoiac, with a native ability to influence the masses, demonstrated through concentrated effort by specially trained instructors and leaders, how the minds of youth could be directed within 2 decades to accept even a perverted ideal. How near he came to the realization of his aim within a few short years is now a matter of history. If youth can be so influenced to degenerate to the jungle, it can also be trained by united purpose to ascend the path of spiritual attainment. (Gospel Ideals, p. 430.)
Character is the aim of true education; and science, history, and literature are but means used to accomplish the desired end. Character is not the result of chance work but of continuous right thinking and right acting. . . . True education seeks, then to make men and women not only good mathematicians, proficient linguists, profound scientists, or brilliant literary lights, but also honest men, combined with virtue, temperance, and brotherly love -- men and women who prize truth, justice, wisdom, benevolence, and self-control as the choicest acquisitions of a successful life. . . . It is regrettable, not to say deplorable, that modern education so little emphasizes these fundamental elements of true character. The principal aim of many of our schools and colleges seems to be to give the students purely intellectual attainments and to give but passing regard to the nobler and more necessary development along moral lines.
(Gospel Ideals p. 440-441)
Academic scholars who are shaping the thoughts of youth are declaring that one religious faith is just as good or just as useless, according to the professor’s particular viewpoint, as another, “Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, all spring from the same source, and in the ultimate analysis mean the same thing.” This is one of the things which I call unstable, and which threaten young people with an influence that will throw them into the fatal channel of wrong thinking. In customs and fashions, what was considered bad taste yesterday has become quite acceptable today.
(Gospel Ideals. p. 412)
God has implanted deep in the souls of parents the truth that they cannot with impunity shirk the responsibility to protect childhood and youth. There seems to be a growing tendency to shift this responsibility from the home to outside influences, such as the school and the church. Important as these outward influences are, they never can take the place of the influence of the mother and the father. Constant training, constant vigilance, companionship, being watchmen of our own children are necessary in order to keep our homes intact. The character of the child is formed largely during the first 12 years of his life. During that period he spends 16 times as many waking hours in the home as in school, and 126 times as many hours in the home as in the church. Children go out with the stamp of these homes upon them, and only as these homes are what they should be will children be what they should be. (Steppingstones to an Abundant Life, 322.)
If a leader or a teacher acts the hypocrite and attempts so to lead and teach, what he is will speak louder than what he says; and that is the danger of having doubting men as leaders and teachers of our children. The poison sinks in, and unconsciously they become sick in spirit because of the poison which the person in whom they had confidence has insidiously instilled into their souls. (Church News, October 11, 1969, pg. 10)
That which develops character should be the aim of every public school in the United States, every high school, every college, every university. Emerson, that great thinker, was right when he said: "Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be fit to live as well as to think." If that were the real aim, the real purpose, of all our institutions of learning throughout the United States, and we had the strongest men and the ablest women as teachers, instructors, and directors, we should have less difficulty with lawlessness, and the 16 billion dollars that we are now spending annually to take care of delinquents and criminals could be reduced and the amount thus saved could go to salaries and make teaching worthwhile, even financially.
(Pathways to Happiness, p. 60)
I believe that four fundamental elements in such an education are:
1. The basic essentials of oral and written composition—arithmetic, social studies and science.
2. Loyal leadership as found in men who "cannot be bought or sold, men who will scorn to violate truth, genuine gold."
3. Open and forcible teaching of facts regarding communism as an enemy to God and to individual freedom.
4. More emphasis upon moral and spiritual values.
May our educational system from grade school to university ever seek and merit His divine guidance!
(Pathways to Happiness, p. 71)
A second essential, fundamental element in the building and in the perpetuity of a great people is the home. "The strength of a nation, especially of a republican nation, is in the intelligent and well-ordered homes of the people." If and when the time ever comes that parents shift to the state the responsibility of rearing their children, the stability of the nation will be undermined, and its impairment and disintegration will have begun.
(Conference Report, April 1943, pp. 16-21)
Marion G. Romney
We are not only to teach purely gospel subjects by the power of the Spirit. We are also to
teach secular subjects by the power of the Spirit, and we are obligated to interpret the
content of secular subjects in the light of revealed truth. This purpose is the only sufficient
justification for spending Church money to maintain this institution [BYU].
("Temples of Learning," BYU annual university conference, September 1966)
Richard L. Evans
Seeing children go to school for the first day - or on any other - is ... sobering. They leave in
part the love of home, the influence of the family, for the intermingling of many, to enter a
new venture from which there is no complete returning at any time. They are taught in many ways
by many teachers, taught much that is true, much that proves to be tentative. They are exposed to
many impressions, many opinions, many personalities, and give up by degrees some elements of
child-like innocence and acquire by degrees some elements of sophistication - moving on to life,
never again to be precisely the same. (Improvement Era, Dec 1968, p. 22)
Alvin R. Dyer
I think that by the end of the millennium, for those who will occupy the celestial kingdom,
the home will be the only media of teaching children. Teaching will be through the family.
You may note that Jeremiah said that the time will come when no man will teach his neighbor.
To me this means the teachings will come fundamentally through the unit of the family. But I
think there will be central places where instruction will go forth, directed to the family level.
Thus there will no doubt be sources of information for the family. It will be the father and
the father's father who will be doing the teaching. In ancient times the fathers were the
Instructors, meaning the patriarchal fathers--it will be the same during the millennium.
(Education: Moving Toward and Under the Law of Consecration, BYU Studies, Autumn 1969)
Spencer W. Kimball
Oh, if our young people could learn this basic lesson to always keep good company; never to be found
with those who tend to lower their standards! Let every youth select associates who will keep him on
tiptoe, trying to reach the heights. Let him never choose associates who encourage him to relax in
carelessness. (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.262.)
Parents should not leave the training of children to others. There seems to be a growing tendency to
shift this responsibility from the home to outside influences such as the school and the church and of a
greater concern, to various child care agencies and institutions… Constant training, constant vigilance,
companionship, and being watchmen of our own children are necessary in order to keep our homes intact
and to bless our children in the Lord's own way. The Doctrine and Covenants makes it very clear. It is the
responsibility of the parents to teach their children. All other agencies are secondary. If parents do not
teach their children - THEIR children - they will be held responsible. (Ensign, May 1979, p.5)
Learning that includes familiarization with facts must not occur in isolation from concern over our fellowmen.
It must occur in the context of a commitment to serve them and to reach out to them. . .
Secular knowledge has eternal significance. We believe in and encourage education,
but not for education's sake alone. We educate ourselves in the secular field and in the spiritual field
so we may one day create worlds, people and govern them. (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball p. 385-386)
If we spend our mortal days in accumulating secular knowledge to the exclusion of the spiritual then we
are in a dead-end street, for this is the time for man to prepare to meet God; this is the time for faith to be
built, for baptism to be effected, for the Holy Ghost to be received, for the ordinances to be performed.
Contemporary with this program can come the secular knowledge, for even in the spirit world after death
our spirits can go on learning the more secular things to help us create worlds and become their masters. . . .
A highly trained scientist who is also a perfected man may eventually create a world and people it, but a
dissolute, unrepentant, unbelieving one will never be such a creator even in eternities. Secular knowledge,
important as it may be, can never save a soul nor open the celestial kingdom nor create a world nor make
a man a god, but it can be most helpful to that man who, placing first things first, has found
the way to eternal life and who can now bring into play all knowledge to be his tool and servant.
Our training must not only teach us how to build dams and store water to dampen parched earth to make
the desert blossom as the rose and feed starving humanity, but it must prepare us to dam our carnal inclinations and desires with self-denial, creating reservoirs to be filled with spirituality. We must study not only to cultivate fertile acres, plant seeds therein, and nurture them on to harvests, but we must plant in the hearts of men seeds of cleanliness and righteous living and faith and hope and peace. We must not only know how to kill weeds and noxious plants which befoul our crops, but learn to eradicate from the souls of men the noxious theories and manmade sophistries which would cloud issues and bring heartache and distress to men. We must not only be trained to inoculate and vaccinate and immunize against disease, set broken limbs, and cure illnesses, but we must be trained to clarify minds, heal broken hearts and create homes where sunshine will make an environment in which mental and spiritual health may be nurtured. . . . Our schooling must not only teach us how to bridge the Niagara River gorge, or the Golden Gate, but must teach us how to bridge the deep gaps of misunderstanding and hate and discord in the world. (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball p. 390-391)
We urge families to protect their children in every way possible. We live in a permissive world, but we must make certain that we do not become part of that permissive world... The home is the teaching situation."
(Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 7)
Adam spent much effort being the school teacher for his children. He and Eve taught their sons and daughters. He taught them the gospel in their home evenings, and he taught them reading and
writing and arithmetic. And they kept their books of remembrance. (Ensign, Dec. 1980, p. 60)
In the Lord’s program for families, the parents, and especially the father, will teach the children. And it is available to the people of the world regardless of the church to which they might belong. It provides a formal meeting and a planned program and consistent teaching of the gospel of Christ with participation in the reading of the scriptures and in the program by the children and parents. Each child has his own scriptures. The organizational teachings may complement the home teaching...
Had Israel’s fathers and mothers done their full duty to their children, would Palestinian forests have vanished, their hills been denuded? Would they have been slain by their enemies? Would their power have been broken, their heaven made as iron, their earth as brass? Would hunger have stalked the land? Would mothers have devoured their children? Would the people have again been taken in bondage? Had every father in Babylon, assisted by the mother, taught and trained little ones in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, would that great city have been covered with sand and its corruption buried in the earth, its springs dried up, its temples toppled? Would drunken revelry have lulled them to an awareness of their danger? Would palms and willows have withered and would lands be dried and desolate? Would Babylon have become a hiss and a byword and would the wolf and the jackal, the owl and doleful creatures be its only inhabitants, and the shepherd and the Arabian avoid the haunted place? Had every Roman father been teaching his sons righteousness instead of war, and every mother making a home for her children; had all parents assembled their children in their homes instead of the circuses and public baths; had they taught them chastity and honor and integrity and cleanness; would Rome still be a world power? Certainly it was not the barbarians from the north but the insidious moral termites within that destroyed the Roman world empire. (Ensign, Jan. 1975, p. 3)
As parents read the newspapers and magazines and see what the world is trying to teach their children, they should become all the more determined that their children not be damaged by such sin and error. Parents should then provide the home life, the discipline, and the training that will offset and neutralize the evil that is being done in the world. As children learn of the ugly things in the world, they must also learn of the good things in the world and the proper responses and proper attitudes. If parents understand that many children are denied family prayers and spiritual attitudes and proper teaching in their lives, then those parents should redouble their energies and their efforts to see that their own children receive good, wholesome training.
(Ensign, Apr. 1978, 2)
Harold B. Lee
One of the greatest threats to the work of the Lord today comes from false educational ideas.
There is a growing tendency of teachers within and without the church to make academic
interpretations of gospel teachings - to read, as a prophet leader has said, 'by the lamp of
their own conceit.' Unfortunately, much in the sciences, the arts, politics and the entertainment
field, as has been well said by an eminent scholar, 'all dominated by this humanistic approach which
ignores God and his word as revealed through the prophets.' This kind of worldly system apparently
hopes to draw men away from God by making man the 'measure of all things' as some worldly philosophers
have said. (Conference Report 10/68 p. 59.)
Be sure, teachers, that not one of you will ever be guilty of teaching a child things he will have to unlearn tomorrow, when he learns the truth, either by your example or by your instruction.
(Teachings of Harold B. Lee p. 445)
If we find in school texts claims that contradict the word of the Lord as pertaining to the creation of the world, the origin of man, or the determination of what is right or wrong in the conduct of human souls, we may be certain that such teachings are but the theories of men; and as men improve their learning and experimentation, the nearer will their theories coincide with the truths that God has given to His church. And second, that there are, beyond the things we can discern by the physical senses of "the natural man," things of a spiritual nature: "The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:11, 14.)
(Teachings of Harold B. Lee, 341.)
Boyd K. Packer
I am restless over the possibility, ever present, that education may fail to achieve a righteous purpose
and be perversely used. We have many examples in the world where the misuse of this power has degraded men rather than exalted them... The voice of atheism, of corruption, of faithlessness, of dissention resounds from a thousand platforms. It is subsidized from public funds. It is invited to the forum in public institutions, tolerated by most, and encouraged by many. The voice of faith, on the other hand, is fading. Few places are left where it might speak. (BYU Speeches of the Year, 29 April 1969, p.3)
In a review of what a student has gained at school, or in a class, he should give attention to things
he may have lost. If he knew the value of some things he may have discarded, he would dig frantically
through the wastebasket and trash can to rescue them before they are hauled away permanently. He came
to school basically to learn an occupation, and likely he has. But as always, there was a price to pay, and
occasionally students pay an exorbitant price... Did they come with patriotism and replace it with cynicism? Did they come free from any binding habits and now leave with an addiction? Did they arrive aspiring for marriage, a home, and a family and now have abandoned those aspirations? And critically important, did they come with virtue and moral purity and now must admit to themselves that while they were here they have lost it?" (Teach Ye Diligently p. 184-185, 1979.)
Each year, many fall victim in the colleges and universities. There, as captive audiences, their faith, their patriotism, and their morality are lined up against a wall and riddled by words shot down from the mouths of irreverent professors. (That All May be Edified, p. 165)
In many places it is literally not safe physically for youngsters to go to school. And in many schools - and
it's becoming almost generally true - it is spiritually unsafe to attend public schools. Look back over the
history of education to the turn of the century and the beginning of the educational philosophies,
pragmatism and humanism were the early ones, and they branched out into a number of other philosophies which have led us now into a circumstance where our schools are producing the problems that we face.
(Charge to the David O. McKay School of Education at BYU, October 9, 1996)
The ultimate purpose of the adversary, who has “great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath
but a short time,” is to disrupt, disturb, and destroy the home and the family. Like a ship without
a rudder, without a compass, we drift from the family values which have anchored us in the past. Now we
are caught in a current so strong that unless we correct our course, civilization as we know it will surely
be wrecked to pieces. Moral values are being neglected and prayer expelled from public schools on the
pretext that moral teaching belongs to religion. At the same time, atheism, the secular religion, is admitted
to class, and our youngsters are proselyted to a conduct without morality. (Ensign, May 1994 P. 19)
Our garden has gone untended and the weeds have almost choked out any concern for values from our
system of public education. Beginning in the teachers' colleges in the universities, prospective teachers,
bombarded with humanism, and secularism, and pragmatism, and atheism, have been graduated with a
noticeable breach in their preparation. Concern for standards at colleges of education is reserved mostly for academic standards, and the students graduate to seek employment in schools that in some instances now have been described, and not without some truth, as jungles... Any system of schools in our society that protects the destruction of faith and in turn forbids the defense of it, must ultimately destroy the moral fiber of a people. (Let Not Your Heart be Troubled, p. 171-172)
We are very particular to forbid anyone from preaching Catholicism, or Protestantism, or Mormonism,
or Judaism in a public school classroom, but for some reason we are very patient with those who teach
the negative expression of religion. In the separation of church and state we ought to demand more
protection from the agnostic, from the atheist, from the communist, from the skeptic, from the humanist
and the pragmatist than we have been given... Any system in the schools or in society that protects the
destruction of faith and forbids in turn, the defense of it must ultimately destroy the moral fiber of the
people. (That All May be Edified, p. 169)
I would not contribute to publications, nor would I belong to organizations that by spirit or inclination are faith-destroying.
(Let Not Your Heart be Troubled, p. 114)
The world is spiraling downward at an ever-quickening pace. I am sorry to
tell you that it will not get better. It is my purpose to charge each of you as teachers with the
responsibility-to put you on alert. These are days of great spiritual danger for our youth.
I know of nothing in the history of the Church or in the history of the world to compare with our present circumstances. Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which exceeds in wickedness and depravity that which surrounds us now. Words of profanity, vulgarity, and blasphemy are heard everywhere. Unspeakable wickedness and perversion were once hidden in dark places; now
they are in the open, even accorded legal protection. At Sodom and Gomorrah these things were localized. Now they are spread across the world, and they are among us. I need not-I will not-identify each evil that threatens our youth. It is difficult for man to get away from it... Surely you can see what the adversary is about. The first line of defense, the home, is crumbling... This shield of faith is handmade in a cottage industry. What is most worth doing ideally is done at home. It can be polished in the classroom, but it is fabricated and fitted in the home, handcrafted to each individual.
(Address to CES Religious Educators on 6 February 2004)
These are days of great spiritual danger for this people. The world is spiraling downward at an ever-quickening pace. I am sorry to tell you that it will not get better. I know of nothing in the history of the Church or in the history of the world to compare with our present circumstances. Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which exceeds the wickedness and depravity which surrounds us now. Satan uses every intrigue to disrupt the family. The sacred relationship between man and woman, husband and wife, through which mortal bodies are conceived and life is passed from one generation to the next generation, is being showered with filth. Profanity, vulgarity, blasphemy, and pornography are broadcast into the homes and minds of the innocent. Unspeakable wickedness, perversion, and abuse—not even exempting little children—once hidden in dark places, now seeks protection from courts and judges... The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were localized. They are now spread across the world, wherever the Church is. The first line of defense—the home—is crumbling. Surely you can see what the adversary is about.
(Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law Society Devotional
Saturday, 28 February 2004)
A. Theodore Tuttle
Fathers and mothers are under divine instruction to take care of their parental responsibilities. The things we have done in past years are not now sufficient to protect our children in these critical times. It has long been taught in this Church that the day will come when no one will be able to stand without an individual testimony of the divinity of this work. That day is here. We are seeing some who lack testimonies turn away from the truth and become prey to error. While we mourn their loss, sorrow will come to those who, by failure to put true principles solidly into place, or by creating doubts in the faith of the weak, or openly teaching falsehoods, caused them to stray. Too many of our youth fail to receive their covenants and ordinances and give service. The onslaught of wickedness against our homes is at once more subtle and more brazen than it has ever been. It is taking its toll among our families. It will be difficult to escape these influences. However, if we act more wisely, we will be safe. “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” (D&C 38:30.) The solution is simple. The results are certain. No longer can we expect the Church to assume the major role in teaching our children—parents have this prime responsibility. Parents will be held fully accountable by the Lord to teach their children the principles and ordinances of the gospel and inspire them to serve. (Ensign, May 1984 p. 23.)
The Lord organized the family unit in the beginning. He intended that the home be the center of learning - that the father and mother be teachers... As prophetic events unfold, one thing is certain: we will all need to teach more within the walls of our own homes. In the Book of Mormon we find some models: "I Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father" (1 Nephi 1:1). No doubt Nephi was taught
the things of the Spirit - his writings reveal that. He probably was taught practical matters as well, for he was a very resourceful man. Today that son is fortunate whose father teaches him somewhat in all his learning. (Ensign, Nov. 1979, p.27)
Bruce R. McConkie
Education is gained primarily from the Spirit of the Lord by revelation and secondarily by study, research, and investigation. (Mormon Doctrine, p. 214)
H. Verlan Andersen
Not only do the scriptures instruct us on when teaching is best done (see D&C 68:25-32; Deut. 8:5-9) but
also on what should and should not be taught (see Moroni 7:14-19; 2 Nephi 9:28-29) and who should and
should not do the teaching (see 2 Nephi 28:14, 31; Mosiah 23:14). The early teaching of children by parents
offers the solution to many problems which otherwise would not afflict our lives. Is not this the ounce of
prevention which will eliminate the need for many pounds of cure with respect to our youth? ...The proper
teaching of children is truly one of the most essential parts of God's plan for our happiness."
(Ensign, 10/91 p. 81.)
Since public schools are supported by taxation, parents are compelled to finance them.
Even though the law may allow them to send their children to private schools, in order to do
so they must support two educational systems at once, and this the vast majority of them feel
themselves unable to do. Since the law compels them to go to some school, the net effect of
all this is to force nearly all children into the public system. Therefore, those who favor
socialized education take the position that the state and not the parents should have the
responsibility of training children during a certain period of their lives. Nor should it be
imagined that the parent can control the education of his child in the public system. When
the state hires the teachers, selects the courses and textbooks, and dictates where the child
shall attend, it is impossible for individual preferences to be respected regarding these vital
matters. (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, p. 134)
Any system, therefore, which forcibly takes from the parents the power to control what
their children are taught, and who teaches them, is contrary to the Lord's plan. It deprives
parents of their most sacred stewardship and takes the child away from those who are most
deeply concerned with his welfare. No state employee whose purpose in teaching is to get gain
can be expected to serve the interests of the child as well as the parents who render their service
without compensation. More especially this is true when the teacher is prohibited by law from instilling
faith in the child... Since state-financed education is one of the principle doctrines of communism,
those who accept it have adopted much of the socialist program... It is a widely
recognized fact that public schools and universities are the foremost advocates of socialism
because they teach it both in theory and in practice. (The Great and Abominable Church
of the Devil, p. 135-136.)
The institution of public education is so universally accepted today that many readers are apt to scoff at
the idea that the control of education by government and the use of public funds for its support is contrary
to moral law. Before rejecting the idea as absurd, one might ponder these facts...
1) Point number ten of the Communist Manifesto contains the following proposal: Free education
for all children in public schools.
2) When public education was first proposed in the state of Utah, the leadership of the Church
was unalterably opposed to it. (The Book of Mormon and the Constitution, p. 181)
The Lord holds parents personally accountable for the teaching of their children and if they fail to
discharge this duty properly, the sins of the children rest upon the parents (D&C 68:25, 2 Nephi 4:4-6).
If parents are to be held accountable, then they must be given the right to control what is taught to
their children and who teaches them. Both of these rights are denied under the typical laws providing
for public schools. (The Book of Mormon and the Constitution, p. 185)
Ezra Taft Benson
I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying
the family unit is our educational institutions. There is more than one reason why the
Church is advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes
of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close to their
children, and if they become alerted and informed, these parents can help expose the
deceptions of men like Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, John Keynes and
others. There are much worse things today that can happen to a child than not getting
a full education. In fact, some of the worst things have happened to our children while
attending colleges led by administrators who wink at subversion and amorality. Said
Karl G. Maeser, "I would rather have my child exposed to smallpox, typhus fever, cholera
or other malignant and deadly diseases than to the degrading influence of a corrupt teacher."
(The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 307.)
There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution which authorizes the federal government to enter into the field of education. Furthermore, the Tenth Amendment says: "The powers not delegated to the United States Government are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Nothing could be more clear. It is unconstitutional for the federal government to exercise any powers over education. (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 298.)
From the 5th grade through the 4th year of college, our young people are being indoctrinated with a Marxist philosophy and I am fearful of the harvest. The younger generation is further to the left than most adults realize. The old concepts of our Founding Fathers are scoffed and jeered at by young moderns whose goals appear to be the destruction of integrity and virtue, and the glorification of pleasure, thrills, and self-indulgence. (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p 321)
The world worships the learning of man. They trust in the arm of flesh
(see D&C 1:19). To them, man's reasoning is greater than God's revelations.
The precepts of man have gone so far in the educational system that in many
cases, a higher degree today, in the so-called social sciences can be
tantamount to a major investment in error. Very few men can build firmly
enough on the rock of revelation to go through this kind of indoctrination
and come out untainted. Unfortunately, of those who succumb, some use their
higher degree to get teaching positions even in our Church Educational
System, where they spread the falsehoods the have been taught. President
Joseph Fielding Smith was right when he said that false educational ideas
would be one of the threats to the Church within. (God, Family & Country p.
The tenth plank in Karl Marx's Manifesto for destroying our kind of civilization advocated the establishment of "free education for all children in public schools." There were several reasons why Marx wanted government to run the schools. Dr. A. A. Hodge pointed out one of them when he said, "It is capable of exact demonstration that if every party in the State has the right of excluding from public schools whatever he does not believe to be true, then he that believes most must give way to him that believes least, and then he that believes least must give way to him that believes absolutely nothing, no matter in how small a minority the atheists or agnostics may be. It is self-evident that on this scheme, if it is consistently and persistently carried out in all parts of the country, the United States system of national popular education will be the most efficient and widespread instrument for the propagation of atheism which the world has ever seen." (in Conference Report, October 1970, p. 25)
[We should] reassert the primary right and responsibility of parents for the total education of their children, including social values, religious convictions, and political concepts... Parents should stand firm on this and not be intimidated by professional educators. After all, it's their children and their money. (An Enemy Hath Done This, p. 231)
The phrase federal aid to education is deceptive and dishonest. What is really meant is "federal taxes
for education." The federal government cannot "aid" education. All it can do is tax the people,
shuffle the money from one state to another and skim off its administrative costs from the top. Only
the people can aid education. They can do it safer, faster, and cheaper within their local communities
than by going through the middleman in Washington. Federal taxes for education means federal control
over education. No matter how piously the national planners tell us that they will not dictate policies to
local school systems, it is inevitable that they will in the long run. In fact, they already are doing it.
Whenever the federal government spends tax money for any purpose, it has an obligation to determine
how and under what conditions that money is used. Any other course would be irresponsible.
(An Enemy Hath Done This, p. 231.)
Have good associates or don't associate at all. Be careful in the selection of friends. If in the
presence of certain persons you are lifted to nobler heights, you are in good company. But if your
friends or associates encourage base thoughts, then you had best leave them.
(Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 562)
During the past several years many of our institutions of learning have been turning out an increasing
number of students schooled in amorality, relativity, and atheism -- students divested of a belief in God,
without fixed moral principles or an understanding of our constitutional republic and our capitalistic,
free enterprise economic system. This follows a pattern which was established years ago at some of our
key colleges that produced many of the teachers and leaders in the educational field across the country today. The fruits of this kind of teaching have been tragic, not only to the souls of the individuals involved, but also to the parents, and even to our country. . . . The whole process can be quite insidious. Young people know that the best jobs are available to college graduates. They want to do well at school. When exam time comes, they must give back to the teacher what the teacher wants. Now under the guise of academic freedom -- which some apparently feel is freedom to destroy freedom -- some teachers reserve to themselves the privilege of teaching error, destroying faith in God, debunking morality, and depreciating our free economic system. If questions reflecting the teacher's false teachings appear on the exam, how will the student answer who believes in God and morality and our Constitution? ...The problem arises when under the pressure of a heavy course of study and the necessity of parroting back what certain professors have said, the student does not have the time or take the time to learn the truth. If he does not learn the truth, someday he will suffer the consequences. Many an honest student, after graduation, has had to do some unlearning and then fresh learning of basic principles which never change and which he should have been taught initially... Parents, stay close to your children; you cannot delegate your responsibility to the educators no matter how competent they may be. Parents have a duty to train their children, to talk over their problems with them, to discuss what they are learning at school. And it is neither wise nor safe, as President Stephen L. Richards stated, to leave the determination of our educational system and policies exclusively to the professional educators. (Conference Report, Oct 1964 p. 56-59)
Only a Zion people can bring in a Zion society. And as the Zion people increase, so we will be able to
incorporate more of the principles of Zion until we have a people prepared to receive the Lord.
On this campus [BYU], in due time, there will be an increasing number of textbooks written by inspired
men of the Church. There will be less and less a tendency to subscribe to the false teachings of men.
There will be more and more a tendency first to lay the groundwork of the gospel truth in every subject
and then, if necessary, to show where the world may fall short of that standard. In due time there will be
increased teaching by the Spirit of God, but that can take place only if there is a decreased promotion
of the precepts of men. (1974 BYU Speeches of the Year p. 305)
After the tragic prayer decision was made by the Court, President David O. McKay stated, "The Supreme Court of the United States severs the connecting cord between the public schools of the United States and the source of divine intelligence, the Creator, himself." (Relief Society Magazine, December 1962, p. 878.)
Does that make any difference to you? Can't you see why the demand of conscientious parents is increasing the number of private Christian and Americanist oriented schools?
(Improvement Era, December 1970, p.46)
Let us never lose sight of the fact that education is a preparation for life -- and that
preparing for life is far more than knowing how to make a living or how to land on the moon.
Preparing for life means building personal integrity, developing a sound sense of values,
increasing the capacity and willingness to serve. Education must have its roots in moral
principles. If we lose sight of that fact in our attempt to match our educational system
against that of the materialists, we shall have lost far more than we could possibly gain.
(Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 297)
It is a fundamental truth that the responsibilities of motherhood cannot be successfully
delegated. No, not to day-care centers, not to schools, not to nurseries, not to babysitters.
We become enamored with men’s theories such as the idea of preschool training outside the
home for young children. Not only does this put added pressure on the budget, but it places
young children in an environment away from mother’s influence. Too often the pressure for
popularity, on children and teens, places an economic burden on the income of the father,
so mother feels she must go to work to satisfy her children’s needs. That decision can be most
shortsighted. It is mother’s influence during the crucial formative years that forms a child’s
basic character. Home is the place where a child learns faith, feels love, and thereby
learns from mother’s loving example to choose righteousness. How vital are mother’s influence
and teaching in the home—and how apparent when neglected! (Ensign, Nov. 1981, p. 104)
Let us be sure our educational system turns out young men and women of character, who know the basic facts of economics, free enterprise, history, finance, and government and who have a respect for law and an appreciation of the spiritual - otherwise that educational system will truly have been a failure."
(The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.301)
Joseph B. Wirthlin
Parents can plant seeds in the hearts and minds of their children only if they know where the
children are and what they are doing. Parents should not leave the teaching of their children to chance.
(Ensign, May 1989, p. 9)
Every home is a house of learning either for good or otherwise. Family members may learn to be obedient,
honest, industrious, self-reliant, and faithful in living gospel principles, or they may learn something else.
Learning the gospel in the homes of Church members should be centered on the scriptures and on the words of the latter-day prophets. The Lord has commanded parents to teach their children.
(Ensign, May 1993, p. 70)
Howard W. Hunter
The question is asked: Is education failing to form desirable traits of character?
If it is failing, it is failing in what is one of its chief purposes.
(The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, p. 176)
Gordon B. Hinckley
Are we not really boxing with shadows in any of our disciplines if we leave out of what we teach a recognition of God in the affairs of men and in the workings of the universe? The real substance which must be expected... lies in bringing into the fabric of our teaching the recognition of God as Creator and Ruler and the recognition of the Light of Christ as that influence which has touched the minds and hearts of great men in all ages as they have sought for truth in the varied fields of their interests. (BYU 1988-89 Devotional and Fireside Speeches, pp. 47-52.)
Some time ago I read a letter to a newspaper editor which was highly critical of the
Church. I have forgotten the exact language, but it included a question something like this:
“When are the Mormons going to stop being different and become a part of the mainstream
of America?” About this same time there came to my desk a copy of an address given by
Senator Dan Coats of Indiana. He spoke of a study made by “a commission of educational,
political, medical and business leaders” dealing with the problems of American youth. The
committee issued a report called Code Blue. That report, according to the Senator, concluded:
“Never before has one generation of American teenagers been less healthy, less cared for,
or less prepared for life than their parents were at the same age.” ...When I read those
statements, I said to myself, If that is the mainstream of American youth, then I want to do
all in my power to persuade and encourage our young people to stay away from it.
( Ensign, May 1992, p. 69)
You are all too familiar with this litany of urban troubles... You might put more policemen on
the beat. You might build more jails. But the problems will largely continue until you get at the
root. That root, I believe, lies in two places--in our schools and in our homes. Unless there can
be some reformation here, it is not likely to occur anywhere. It will not happen in a day or
a year, but it could happen in a generation... What has happened to our schools? There are
still many that are excellent, but there are very many that are failing. What has become of
the teaching of values? We are told that educators must be neutral in these matters.
Neutrality in the teaching of values can only lead to an absence of values. Is it less important
to learn something of honesty than to learn something of computer science? What has happened
to the discipline we knew? Not the sometimes absurd punishment arbitrarily meted out to a
child for a frivolous offense, but the self-discipline which is born of respect for others and
an accountability for one's actions. Discipline is not just a matter of punishment for
wrongdoing, but of teaching our youth not to do wrong in the first place.
(Speech given at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Salt Lake City, Utah,
September 25, 1998)
All about us we see evidence of the corrosive elements targeted to injure our youth. We compliment most warmly those of our young people who choose to follow the way of the Lord and the program of the Church. We are pleased to note that faith is increasing among our youth, for which we are deeply grateful. Unfortunately, there are some who fall into the adversary's net and drift into inactivity and trouble. We are deeply concerned with these. We call upon parents to devote their best efforts to the teaching and rearing of their children in gospel principles which will keep them close to the Church. The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place or fulfill its essential functions in carrying forward this God-given responsibility.
We counsel parents and children to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities. However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely-appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform. We urge bishops and other Church officers to do all they can to assist parents in seeing that they have time and help, where needed, as they nurture their families and bring them up in the way of the Lord. Wherever possible, Sunday meetings, other than those under the three-hour schedule and perhaps council meetings on early Sunday mornings or firesides later in the evening, should be avoided so that parents may be with their children. As we strengthen families, we will strengthen the entire Church. (First Presidency Letter, February 27, 1999)
My great hope is that we can strengthen our young people as they walk the dangerous tempting road of this age in which they are growing up, this age of sleaze and filth and pornography and temptation, which is all about them. How wonderful they are! I look to them with great admiration. We have never had a better generation of young people in this Church than we have today. I want to see every safeguard placed around them to encourage them, to help them, to strengthen them, to fortify them against the temptations which they face. (Church News, February 7, 2004)
Horacio A. Tenorio
Parents have the responsibility to educate their children. No inappropriate outsider should be
allowed to dictate our family's values nor what our children are being taught... In medieval times,
great fortresses were built around castles or cities to protect them from enemy attacks. In the
Book of Mormon, the Nephites built fortresses to defend their families against the enemies. We must make of our homes fortresses to protect our families against the constant attacks of the adversary.
(Ensign, Nov. 1994 p. 23.)
James E. Faust
As societies as a whole have decayed and lost their moral identity and so many homes are broken, the best hope is to turn greater attention and effort to the teaching of the next generation—our children. In order to do this, we must first reinforce the primary teachers of children. Chief among these are the parents and other family members, and the best environment should be in the home. Somehow, some way, we must try harder to make our homes stronger so that they will stand as sanctuaries against the unwholesome, pervasive moral dry rot around us. Harmony, happiness, peace, and love in the home can help give children the required inner strength to cope with life’s challenges. Barbara Bush, wife of President George Bush, a few months ago said to the graduates of Wellesley College: “But whatever the era, whatever the times, one thing will never change: Fathers and mothers, if you have children, they must come first. You must read to your children and you must hug your children and you must love your children. Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House but on what happens inside your house.” (Washington Post, 2 June 1990, p. 2.) (Ensign, Nov. 1990, 32)
Dallin H. Oaks
In short, many understand the law today as being hostile rather than neutral toward religion—as forbidding all public prayers rather than simply prohibiting state-authored and state-required prayers in public schools. Instead of just preventing instances of state-sponsored religion in the public schools, the school prayer cases have unleashed forces that have sometimes been used to prevent the free exercise of religion. At the time the first school prayer cases were decided, President David O. McKay saw the direction of those decisions with prophetic vision. In December 1962, he said: “By making that [New York Regents’ prayer] unconstitutional, the Supreme Court of the United States severs the connecting cord between the public schools of the United States and the source of divine intelligence, the Creator himself.” Then, he offered this farsighted caution: “By law, the public schools of the United States must be non-denominational. They can have no part in securing acceptance of any one of the numerous systems of belief regarding God and the relation of mankind thereto. Now let us remember and emphasize that restriction applies to the atheist as well as to the believer in God.” Six months later, just after the Supreme Court’s decision forbidding Bible-reading in the schools, President McKay said: “Recent rulings of the Supreme Court would have all reference to a Creator eliminated from our public schools and public offices. It is a sad day when the Supreme Court of the United States would discourage all reference in our schools to the influence of the phrase ’divine providence’ as used by our founders of the Declaration of Independence. Evidently the Supreme Court misinterprets the true meaning of the First Amendment, and are now leading a Christian nation down the road to atheism.” It is clear from President McKay’s references that he was concerned about the direction and long-range effect of these decisions. History shows that his concern was well founded. (Ensign, July 1990, 7)
[Of] concern is what is being taught or not being taught in the schools that shape the thinking and values of those who will be our future leaders. I refer to public schools, private schools, and ministerial schools. I fear that some of the values being taught or not being taught to the young people who will be speaking for us from the public and religious pulpits of our nation in just a few years are significantly different from the values that have shaped this nation and its people. I have the same fear about what is being taught by TV programs which command so much of the time of our youth. After the recent election, I read that one in five voters in nationwide exit polls said that moral issues were the most important consideration in casting their votes. Many of us vote on the basis of our concerns with the positions of our public officials on moral issues. But what are we doing to register similar concerns with the values of some of those who are teaching our future leaders? Failure to give attention to this concern will lead us away from civic virtue, civic responsibility, and overall prosperity. (BYU Devotional, 8 Nov 2004)
Many factors contribute to the predominant shallowness on the subject of religion, but one of them is surely higher education’s general hostility or indifference to religion. With but few exceptions, colleges and universities have become value-free places where attitudes toward religion are neutral at best. Students and other religious people who believe in the living reality of God and moral absolutes are being marginalized.
It seems unrealistic to expect higher education as a whole to resume a major role in teaching moral values. That will remain the domain of homes, churches, and church-related colleges and universities. All should hope for success in this vital task. The academy can pretend to neutrality on questions of right and wrong, but society cannot survive on such neutrality.
("Fundamental to Our Faith", Ensign, Jan. 2011, 22–29)
Russell M. Nelson
Because of our sacred regard for each human intellect, we consider the obtaining of an education to be a religious responsibility. Yet opportunities and abilities differ. I believe that in the pursuit of education, individual desire is more influential than institution, and personal faith more forceful than faculty.
Our Creator expects His children everywhere to educate themselves. He issued a commandment: “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.” (D&C 88:118.) And He assures us that knowledge acquired here will be ours forever. (See D&C 130:18–19.)
(Ensign, Nov 1992, 6)
Jeffrey R. Holland
I would quickly note that some disciplines probably lend themselves a little more directly to gospel insights and influence than others, so please spare me the sardonic questions whether there is a Mormon mathematics or a consecrated chemistry. There probably isn't, but I would say there are Mormon mathematicians and consecrated chemists and endowed engineers and historians who are high priests or Church auxiliary leaders. That should be an advantage in our integration of truth.
I am making an unabashed appeal for a distinctly LDS approach to education--an approach best featured on this campus by our present university-wide efforts in religious, honors, and general education. (Educating Zion, p. 156)
Henry B. Eyring
It is clear that our first priority should go to spiritual learning. Reading the scriptures would come
for us before reading history books. Prayer would come before memorizing those Spanish verbs. A temple recommend would be worth more to us than standing first in our graduating class. But it is also clear that spiritual learning would not replace our drive for secular learning. The Lord clearly values what you will find in that history book and in a text on political theory. Remember His words. He wants you to know "things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations" (D&C 88:79). And He favors not only Spanish verbs but the study of geography and demography. You remember that His educational charter requires that we have "a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms" (v. 79). There is also an endorsement for questions we study in the sciences. It is clear that putting spiritual learning first does not relieve us from learning secular things. On the contrary, it gives our secular learning purpose and motivates us to work harder at it. If we will keep spiritual learning in its proper place, we will have to make some hard choices of how we use our time. (CES Satellite Broadcast Fireside address delivered in Moscow, Idaho, May 6, 2001)
The world in which our students choose spiritual life or death is changing rapidly.
When their older brothers and sisters return to visit the same schools and
campuses they attended, they find a radically different moral climate. The
language in the hallways and the locker rooms has coarsened. Clothing is less
modest. Pornography has moved into the open. Tolerance for wickedness has
not only increased, but much of what was called wrong is no longer condemned
at all and may, even by our students, be admired. Parents and administrators
have in many cases bent to the pressures coming from a shifting world to retreat
from moral standards once widely accepted. The spiritual strength sufficient
for our youth to stand firm just a few years ago will soon not be enough. Many of
them are remarkable in their spiritual maturity and in their faith. But even the best
of them are sorely tested. And the testing will become more severe.
("We Must Raise Our Sights," CES Address, August 14, 2001)
The thirst for education that comes with the change the gospel brings can be a blessing or a curse, depending on our motives. If we continue to seek learning to serve God and His children better, it is a blessing of great worth. If we begin to seek learning to exalt ourselves alone, it leads to selfishness and pride, which will take us away from eternal life. That is one of the reasons we should always put spiritual learning first. And that is why the Church has placed institutes of religion across the earth wherever young members are gathered in sufficient numbers. Their spiritual education in the institute will shape the purpose and speed the process of their secular learning.
("Education for Real Life", Ensign, Oct. 2002, 14)
Thomas S. Monson
Perhaps most significant of all classrooms is the classroom of the home. It is in the home that we form our attitudes, our deeply held beliefs. It is in the home that hope is fostered or destroyed. Our homes are the laboratories of our lives. What we do there determines the course of our lives when we leave home. Dr. Stuart E. Rosenberg wrote in his book The Road to Confidence, “Despite all new inventions and modern designs, fads and fetishes, no one has yet invented, or will ever invent, a satisfying substitute for one’s own family.”
(“Precious Children—A Gift from God,” Ensign, Nov 1991, 67)
L. Tom Perry
My mother understood the value of teaching her children about standards, values, and doctrine while they were young. While she was grateful to others who taught her children outside the home at either school or church, she recognized that parents are entrusted with the education of their children and, ultimately, parents must ensure that their children are being taught what their Heavenly Father would have them learn. My siblings and I were quizzed very carefully by our mother after we had been taught away from the home to be certain the correct lessons were reaching our ears and shaping our minds.
I used to think some days as I ran home from school that I was through learning for the day, but this illusion was quickly destroyed when I saw my mother standing at the door waiting for me. When we were young, we each had a desk in the kitchen where we could continue to be taught by her as she performed household duties and prepared supper. She was a natural teacher and far more demanding of us than our teachers at school and church.
The scope of Mother’s teaching included both secular and spiritual lessons. She made sure none of us were falling behind in our schoolwork, which she would often supplement.
(“Mothers Teaching Children in the Home,” Ensign, May 2010, 29–31)