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Educating for Zion

There is a great contrast between two educational systems taught in the Book of Mormon. It is interesting to note the qualifications of the teachers and the things they are asked to teach.

In Mosiah 23, Alma finds men of God to be the teachers of the people. He says the people were nourished with the things of righteousness. Alma taught them to "trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments." (Mosiah 23:14) The people were industrious and built buildings, grew crops, and were hard workers.

In Chapter 24, the king of the Lamanites gives the duty of appointing teachers to Amulon, one of the former priests of wicked King Noah, because he likes him. They appoint teachers all over the land who are "brethren of Amulon." Verses 5-7 say

"And they were a people friendly one with another; nevertheless they knew not God; neither did the brethren of Amulon teach them anything concerning the Lord their God, neither the law of Moses; nor did they teach them the words of Abinadi; But they taught them that they should keep their record, and that they might write one to another. And thus the Lamanites began to increase in riches, and began to trade one with another and wax great, and began to be a cunning and a wise people, as to the wisdom of the world, yea, a very cunning people, delighting in all manner of wickedness and plunder, except it were among their own brethren."

They had an educational system that served them well as far as business goes. Because of the emphasis on developing skills that would bring worldly wealth, they excelled in commerce and became rich. But their system lacked spiritual values, so as a people, they became cunning and delighted in wickedness. Merriam-Webster defines cunning as characterized by wiliness and trickery. This is the result of a Godless education! Speaking of the Nephites, President Spencer W. Kimball warned us that if we are to avoid their fate, we must guard against the things that caused their downfall. children praying

Some parents think they can make up for the Godless education in public schools today by sending their children to seminary and holding Family Home Evening. Those are wonderful resources, but for many of our children, it will not be enough. We need children that are prepared to build Zion and usher in the Second Coming.

Speaking to thousands of seminary and institute teachers, Elder Henry B. Eyring said,

"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.

"In your classes students know the scriptures beyond what their older brothers and sisters, or their parents, did. You have made the scriptures live for them.

"But they need more. Too many graduates of seminary fail to qualify for the mission field. Too many of our faithful students never receive the blessings of the temple ordinances. The proportion of those tragedies among them will increase if we do not change." ("We Must Raise Our Sights" Aug. 14, 2001, Church Educational System conference)

A latter-day Zion will be built upon the earth and it is our place to help bring it about. We cannot simply wait around for the Lord to do it himself or think that church programs will do it alone. We, and our children, have to be part of the effort. Let us be sure that the educational system we choose for our families prepares them not only for business pursuits, but also prepares them for the much higher pursuit of building Zion. ~Michele Everett

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More Information


Education As the Early Prophets saw it By Darla Isackson
The Rise and Demise of Church Academies By Darla Isackson
The Role of Religion By Cleon Skousen
Public Schools Vs. the Fundamental Purposes of Education By Darla Isackson
Can Parents Counterbalance the Negative Influences in Public Schools? By Darla Isackson
Back to School By Darla Isackson
A Prayer for the Children By Jeffrey R. Holland
"Building Zion," Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young
Bring up your Children in Light and Truth By H. Verlan Andersen
To Make a People Prepared for the Lord By Delbert L. Stapley
Cleansing the Inner Vessel By Ezra Taft Benson
Satan's Thrust—Youth By Ezra Taft Benson
A Vision and a Hope for the Youth of Zion By Ezra Taft Benson
Fortify Your Homes against Evil By Spencer W. Kimball
Becoming the Pure in Heart (1985) By Spencer W. Kimball
Becoming the Pure in Heart (1978) By Spencer W. Kimball
I Miss the City By Rolf Devries
BYU Foundation Documents


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