June 23, 2016 (revised)

Education Restored and Revealed in the Church

Earlier this month I was privileged to be able to make a presentation at the Utah Home Education Assn Convention in Salt Lake City. The purpose of my presentation was to marshal evidence, offered by the most credible witnesses, to show that:
• LDS youth are not safe physically, religiously, morally, or academically in public schools,
• the Lord wants them to have a religious education,
• we originally had that education through our Church,
• we lost that education by inattention to the pleadings of prophets,
• and it must be restored as a necessary part of the building of Zion.

I had a lot of information to cover in that one session, but I had a kind, receptive audience. My plan was, and still is, to divide my huge stack of information into chapters and put it on our website in some sort of book form -- unless something happens to change the need for me to make this argument at all.

What might change the need? I will tell you in a minute. First, I will present some of the evidence that testifies to education as a church responsibility -- just as missionary work and humanitarian aid are church responsibilities -- and that our Church leaders have been working toward that end for some time. (I am not suggesting that the church will do the job for us; primary responsibility still resides with parents and individuals.)

Educating Zion

In 1996 BYU published the book Educating Zion. It was a foundational book, intended to guide the University to a higher spiritual level. It contained "Twenty-three landmark speeches by Church and University leaders about the religious and academic nature of education in Zion and BYU. These speeches have charted and refined the singular course of LDS higher education." The book was well-known to homeschoolers at that time. My heavily marked copy feels like scripture to me.

In preparation for my UHEA presentation I focused on the chapters by President Dallin Oaks and President Jeffrey Holland because they were the two BYU Presidents who went on to become apostles. Both are current CES board members. After the convention I reread President Packer's three addresses. I love his wisdom and his candor!

The full text of Educating Zion is available on the BYU website without cost. The book can be purchased from Amazon or BYU Studies.

Educating Zion: BYU President Dallin Oaks, "A House of Faith"
Elder Oaks was President of BYU from 1971-1980; then he served as a Utah Supreme Court judge until his call to be an Apostle in 1984. He follows President Nelson in seniority.

The commandments and knowledge communicated in the eighty-eighth section concern the temple, the school, and the work of the ministry as an inseparable and unified whole. That is their eternal relationship. The laws and conventions and shortsightedness of man currently compel us to separate these activities for some purposes, but to a Father in Heaven who has given no temporal law and to whom all things are spiritual (D&C 29:34), the work of temple, school, and ministry must all be seen as the unified work of the kingdom.

Educating Zion: BYU President Jeffrey Holland, "A School in Zion"
Elder Holland served from 1980 to April of 1989 when he was directly called to be an Apostle.

• There has to be a 'school in Zion,'" I thought, "because perhaps there can be no Zion without it."
• Surely the most powerful and compelling of all the glorious principles to reenter the world by way of Palmyra was the doctrine of inherent deity. Dare we think it?
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: President Boyd K. Packer, "Spiritual Orientation: Three Addresses". Be sure to read his story about the "Snow-White Birds."
From the beginning, the Church has fostered both spiritual and secular learning, for that is in the revelations.
•As the early Saints moved to Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, they established elementary and secondary schools in each settlement. Schools of the Prophets were organized for adult leaders in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1833, and other such schools were organized even after the settlement here in the West. I know they had a school of the prophets in Brigham City, for instance. In 1840, a university had been established in Nauvoo. During the trek to the Rocky Mountains, elementary classes were conducted in the camps. In the fall of 1847, within three months of arriving in the valley, the first schools were organized. Three years later, the University of Deseret was founded.

There is much more in these talks that is worth your reading. After you read them - or maybe before you do -- I suggest you watch three videos from BYUI, especially Elder Kim Clark's. The first two are about the philosophy and history of BYUI, and are amazing and challenging, but Elder Clark's is the game changer, the one that will leave you with many thoughts and questions. (I found this video -- or it found me -- on a sleepless night soon after the convention, after I had spent weeks gathering piles of now-less-necessary evidence!)

5 Feb 2016 - BYUI All Employee Conference, President Clark G. Gilbert, "Dare Mighty Things" (for text, audio, and video search here.)

5 Feb 2016 - BYUI All Employee Conference, President Clark G. Gilbert's Jan 26, 2016 interview with Elder Bednar.

5 Feb 2016 - BYUI All Employee Conference, Commissioner Kim B. Clark "CES: The Lord's Educational System for His Church"

After some further post-convention searching (Kim Clark et al, Seminary & Institute Annual Training Broadcast for 2016), I realized that whatever will be offered to grades 7-12 is still in the pilot stage and will go first to the most needy countries, as it should. We in the U.S. have plenty of other options. (Our materials might even be better; remember, Elder Clark used the word "eventually.")

I do not anticipate classroom schooling in our chapels. If the Pathway model is followed, the course work will be online and cohort groups will meet weekly, under the direction of the Stake President and those he calls to assist. That means parents will have to be involved at home; the church is not going to raise our children for us.

While we wait, I will continue to speak for religiously-based education in all subjects, for the individual and the family to take primary responsibility for learning, and with gratitude for whatever help the church offers.

What we need to work on now is our own commitment to spiritual growth (Sheri Dew, "Will You Engage in the Wrestle?"), to our own education, and to mastering the new methods and behaviors of Zion. Elder Clark says the Lord is moving fast, giving "Revelation upon Revelation."

Are you ready to put away your spoon and give each family member a shovel? (Sister Marriott)


Please share this GOOD NEWS message with your friends!

In November we took a proposal to the Church Board of Education, and they approved the following concept: The Church Educational System (CES) will seek to provide opportunities for education to the members of the Church wherever the Church is organized. - Elder Kim Clark, Commissioner, Church Educational System 
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© Joyce Kinmont 2008-2016
This page last updated 7/12/16