Trying to Keep Up!

Change: It’s Always A Possibility!  No, I’m not talking about President Nelson. I’m talking about a 1998 BYU Devotional address given by a BYU marriage and family therapy professor who said: “I love change! I love it. I’ll admit it. I’m passionate about it. Actually, I’m just plain wild about change!  I’m professionally committed to it—and personally enamored by it.”  Her name was Wendy Watson. It’s heart-warming to think that eight years later, in 2006, this change-loving woman would become the second wife to an apostle who, in January of 2018, would become the President and Prophet of the Church and would set us on a path of breath-taking changes.  Watch, listen, or read Change: It’s Always A Possibility!  

Keeping up with President Nelson became the most challenging for me when he said “lds” was not an appropriate name for the church and suggested changes to websites. I was horrified!  He was right, of course, but how could I change my website after so many years?  As I approached my 78th birthday in November, I though this might be a good time to retire. Our family has grown wonderfully large—63 of us so far—and I need to focus on us. I have come from the days of long-distance phone calls and typewritten newsletters to a day of social media and multitudes of options for families. The homeschool movement is growing well, and would continue well without me.

For the homeschooling movement, our greatest blessing may well be the Come, Follow Me program. I love the paragraph at the end of the February 18-24 lesson, Improving Our Teaching, on page 32:

  • Be observant. As you pay attention to what is happening in your children’s lives, you will find excellent teaching opportunities. Your children’s comments and questions throughout the day can also lead to possible teaching moments. (Teaching in the Savior’s Way, page 32.)

Does that statement presuppose that families are together in the daytime? Do we now have a higher reason for moms to be at home?

I’ve noticed that in Church, parents and children are testifying that their families are becoming closer. It seems only logical, then, that many families will reject the god-less schools in favor of gospel-based Home Education as part of their Home Church. Originally, education for Latter-Day Saints was under the umbrella of the church and the family. Maybe now it is being restored.  Maybe part of our ministering might include helping those families who are ready to homeschool.

My Computer Nightmare  
Earlier this month my hosting platform and website address were scheduled to expire. I had spent many hours trying to decide what to do with all my on-line outlets:  my website, newsletter,  subscription service, YouTube channel, Facebook page, and WordPress blogs. Finally my daughter and her husband, who are both computer-wise, came over to help me figure out what to do. The only logical choice was to continue with  Since the Church was still using (or so I thought), I decided to forge ahead with that address for now.  My son-in-law suggested I move to a smaller hosting package, which would save money.  He called my about-to-expire hosting service to negotiate the matter, but the needed department was closed until 8:00 in the morning. That meant I would have to make the call myself, which terrified me.

The representative was very nice. He said that to move to a smaller service I would have to make some changes. I did not understand; there wasn’t anything on my single-page website that I wanted changed. He explained that it was like moving my things from a large storage shed to a smaller one. I still didn’t get it. I didn’t want anything of mine changed. Finally he graciously said he would do it for me. I put my phone on speaker, as he asked, and fixed my breakfast, then went back to my desk. I could hear quiet noises as he continued working. Then suddenly a pop-up appeared in the lower corner of my screen. It said what? I looked again! “ will become”  I considered yelling “Stop!” into my phone, but there was no stopping now. The website would expire the next day and I had no backup. I am now in non-compliance!  Or maybe not. When you come to my website,, think: LastDayStudentsHomeEducatingAmerica!  I am serious about that—at least the last three words.

Home Educating America!
I actually really wish somebody would start a website for Home Educating America!  Somebody should.  Homeschooling teenagers could do it and reclaim our country’s foundational beliefs and documents and protect our heritage of freedom. When the idea first came to me, I searched youtube for a short clip from David Barton’s Capitol Tour. It’s very old, but if you watch it you will be inspired. The full program, “A Spiritual Heritage Tour of the United States Capitol,” is available, with some updates, on dvd or mp4 at Barton’s website, As President Benson said, “The longer we wait, the heavier the chains, the deeper the blood.”

Once a HomeSchooler…
A few weeks into the current school year I took in a friend’s son who was experiencing a horrid situation in jr. high, thanks to Common Core. I take care of the basics, and his family takes care of other things. My goal is to help him become a self-directed learner, as my own children were naturally. I have a lot to learn, and I will share as I go, as far as I can without infringing on his privacy.  Yes, it takes a few hours of my day, but I consider those hours well-spent, ministering times. Maybe there are other “semi-retired” people who could help a student or two escape from a God-less school situation.

As for retiring, I still have a few things to say before I do.  My current target date is my 80th birthday, in November of 2021.


Yes, education certainly is coming home!  We are beginning a new, higher level of learning and living.  Our study of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be primarily centered in our own homes, if it isn’t already, and our homes will be “remodeled” into “sanctuaries of faith.” Our family study will be enhanced, our Sunday meetings will be shortened, and our Sabbaths will become truly sacred, joyful days. We can do this, and we must!

Decades ago, church leaders sometimes talked about the church being the “scaffolding” which was supporting the growing family unit until the “building” would become strong enough to stand on its own. In October 2005 Elder Ballard reminisced about President Lee’s 1967 description:

  • President Harold B. Lee spoke of the Church as a crucial “scaffolding” that helps build the individual and the family (see Conference Report, Oct. 1967, 107). The Church is the kingdom of God on earth, but in the kingdom of heaven, families will be both the source of our eternal progress and joy and the order of our Heavenly Father. As we are often reminded, we will be released one day from our Church callings; but if we are worthy, we will never be released from our family relationships.

The scaffolding is beginning to come down.

Education is one large part of the many changes.  This part formally begins in January with the family centered, church sponsored study of the New Testament. It ends, I believe, in the City of Zion, where all truths in every subject will be our study.

Seriously? Yes. This is only my own personal belief and that of a few others, but isn’t it the logical path?

The Beginning of Education
The Savior himself established education when he taught Adam and Eve to read, write, keep records, and teach their children. Our first parents were the first home schoolers!  Education was a parental responsibility from the very beginning, as recorded in The Pearl of Great Price, Moses, Chapter 6:

  • 6:1 And Adam hearkened unto the voice of God, and called upon his sons to repent. . . .   4.And then began these men to call upon the name of the Lord, and the Lord blessed them;  5.And a book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration;  6.And by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled.  7.Now this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also. 8.Now this prophecy Adam spake, as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and a genealogy was kept of the children of God. And this was the book of the generations of Adam, saying: In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him  9.In the image of his own body, male and female, created he them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created and became living souls in the land upon the footstool of God.

President Kimball lovingly called our first parents Mr. and Mrs. Adam and Brother and Sister Adam.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie gave us additional information in reference to verses 6:57-58:

  • In the beginning God gave Adam a language that was pure, perfect, and undefiled. This Adamic language, now unknown, was far superior to any tongue which is presently extant. For instance, the name of God the Father, in this original language, is Man of Holiness, signifying that he is a Holy Man and not a vague spiritual essence (Moses 6:57).
  • This first language spoken by mortals was either the celestial tongue of the Gods or such adaptation of it as was necessary to meet the limitations of mortality; and Adam and his posterity had power to speak, read, and write it” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 19).
  • “The thing which they first wrote, and which of all their writings was of the most worth unto them, was a Book of Remembrance, a book in which they recorded what the Lord had revealed about himself, about his coming, and about the plan of salvation, which plan would have force and validity because of his atonement. This was the beginning of the Holy Scriptures” (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ [1978], 86; see also Moses 6:46).  The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual. Moses 6:1-47

The Restoration of Education in the Church
When Christ restored His church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, education was at the forefront of concern. There were difficulties, such as poverty and harassment, to be dealt with; but the Saints were determined.  Education took on many forms.

Joseph and his early apostles were relatively young and somewhat uneducated in the ways of the world. The apostles were hungry for knowledge to prepare them for future missions, and the Lord graciously gave Joseph The School of the Prophets, which educated them all in history, current events, grammar, arithmetic, Hebrew, and some sacred personal behaviors and ordinances. (D&C 88).

In Kirtland, Missouri, and Nauvoo, education remained a top priority for youth and adults. Classes were sometimes held in the Kirtland school/temple, and youth were sometimes invited.

Education In Utah
In early Utah, wards struggled to compete with the more affluent schools of other religious denominations.  Meanwhile, Horace Mann had introduced his model of compulsory, tax supported education in Boston in 1837. His system caught up with the Saints in Utah, and the Saints embraced “free” schools, choosing them over the heartfelt pleadings of their Church leaders. The Saints  became accustomed to compulsory classroom education, and like the rest of the country, they accepted “legalized plunder” as a great idea. The Utah education story is told in Jack Monnett’s book, Revealed Educational Principles (I have a few copies; at $10.95).

And here I will stop my narrative. I was having a difficult time piecing together the bits and pieces of the education story, having spent many hours over many weeks searching online. Then, last Sunday, on a quiet Sabbath afternoon, somehow, I came across an article that answered most of my questions quite thoroughly.  I considered it a Heavenly gift.

The article is actually a chapter from a 2015 church manual which is available online: By Study and Also by Faith- ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SEMINARIES AND INSTITUTES OF RELIGION. What popped up on my search was the chapter entitled, Prologue: Foundations of Education in the Church, 1830-1911.  The chapter was so well written and so informative that my Sabbath day became a delight! I highly recommend that families read the chapter to gain a perspective on the commitment and the accomplishments of those early Saints .

What is next?
It is my personal opinion that The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will not be completed until Education is fully restored under the umbrella of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  

I do believe that our new home-centered, Church-supported lifestyle, together with CES (the Church Education System), will eventually take us to that point where we will have the Lord’s education mainly in our homes and somewhat in other Church buildings; and from there we will continue our education journey as citizens in the City of Zion.  Why do I think it so?  I have no “inside” information; this is just my own anticipation, and it will be the subject of our next post.

For now, let’s give the last words to our beloved President Nelson:

  • The new home-centered, Church-supported integrated curriculum has the potential to unleash the power of families, as each family follows through conscientiously and carefully to transform their home into a sanctuary of faith. I promise that as you diligently work to remodel your home into a center of gospel learning, over time your Sabbath days will truly be a delight. Your  children will be excited to learn and to live the Savior’s teachings, and the influence of the adversary in your life and in your home will decrease. Changes in your family will be dramatic and sustaining. —President Russell M. Nelson


Christopher Columbus, Worthy Servant

October 12, 2015

Today is the second Monday in October, the day we celebrate Columbus Day.  Or we used to.  Somewhere in my files I have a copy of an elementary school assignment which taught that Columbus was a wicked man.  This was from a Utah public school, and it was at least two decades ago!  This year Columbus seems to be mostly ignored.

The Lord sees things differently.  Before the Restoration of the Gospel, He sent the Founding Fathers to establish liberty in the land and enshrine it in the Constitution.  And before the Founding Fathers, He sent Columbus.  “In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

As Later-day Saints, we have much to celebrate.  Brother Columbus is a High Priest in our Church.  He and Washington and Jefferson are all friends.  And John Wesley.

  • The temple work for the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence and other Founding Fathers has been done. All these appeared to Wilford Woodruff when he was President of the St. George Temple. President George Washington was ordained a high priest at that time. You will also be interested to know that according to Wilford Woodruff’s journal, John Wesley, Benjamin Franklin, and Christopher Columbus were also ordained high priests at that time. When one casts doubts about the character of these noble sons of God, I believe he or she will have to answer to the God of heaven for it. –The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.604 (see p.598-604).

That is a heavy indictment.  There must be more to Columbus than most people know.

Last year Deseret Book published, and I bought, a wonderful book, Christopher Columbus, A Man Among the Gentiles, which was written by President Hinckley’s son, Clark, who served as Mission President over the Spain Barcelona Mission.

  • Through research into original Spanish texts and accounts written in Columbus’s own hand, the author retraces the journeys of this dedicated explorer to uncover what may be the most remarkable aspect of Columbus’s life: the degree to which he understood his prophetic mission and his place in history.

A book written from original source material!  This year I actually read the book, or at least parts of it.  Now I understand why Columbus belongs with those other three great men.

  • Not only did Columbus unlock the gates of the Ocean Sea but his accomplishments were a decisive factor in unlocking the intellectual and spiritual darkness that had encompassed Europe for centuries and was just beginning to fade.  An awakening of the human spirit would be felt across Europe and manifest in many ways. – p.207

I love Clark Hinckley’s book!

In 1992, BYU published Arnold Garr’s book, “Christopher Columbus, a Latter-day Saint Perspective.” I bought that book some years ago, and it can still be found, but the entire text is now freely available online through BYU.  I spoke with Brother Garr once and I think he is happy to have it available.

In 1992 the Church celebrated the 500 year anniversary of the 1492 voyage of Columbus.  A BYU article said:

  • It has been a difficult year for Columbus in most respects but not within the LDS Church.  Special firesides, sacrament meeting talks, a fifty-foot, four-panel mural in the Los Angeles Temple Visitors Center, and even a laudatory statement in President Gordon B. Hinckley’s discourse in the October 1992 general priesthood meeting have been part of the commemoration of the discovery of the Americas.  Columbus would have appreciated the affirmation that he was inspired by religious motives and experiences to make the voyage.  The way Mormons, in general, view Columbus is probably similar to the way he would have wanted.

How interesting that President Hinckley’s son Richard would be sent to Barcelona.  Gives me “goose bumps.”

You can also find articles about Columbus on the church website.  Children could do that and share their findings at Family Night.

And then you might finish up with an amazing BYUI devotional speech by Elder Glen Rudd entitled “The Angel Moroni.” The date was March 11, 2003, and Brother Rudd said Moroni visited Columbus.  It’s a great talk; your children will enjoy it. Search for the audio on the BYU-I Devotional page and find the text here.

Happy Columbus Day!

LDS Holistic Living: Vaccines and Autism

Aug 30, 2014

Because parents everywhere find immunizations to be an agonizing decision, one that must now be made over and over from the birth of a child until it’s time to fill out mission papers, I am passing on this free offer from LDS Holistic Living because I believe the information is critical.  Whether you choose to immunize of not, the real issue is our freedom to make our own medical decisions.

LDS Holistic Health is offering two free audios and a free viewing of a documentary through Monday night.  These are about the dangers of vaccinations.  Go here to read their post and offer (you need to enter your credit card information, but the code they give you will override the card):  LDS Holistic Living.   

If you would like more information on health and diet, visit our other blog, LDS Diet and Health.

The Next Steps Toward Religious Education | Three Reasons for Home/Private Schooling

July 30, 2014

Common Core: Report on Glenn Beck’s We Will Not Conform

LDS Homeschool Conference, Aug 8-9, UT

One more LDS Homeschooling conference is being held this summer, on Aug 8-9 at Utah Valley University in Orem UT.  This conference is offered by long time homeschoolers Thom and Tresta Neil. The Neil’s are extremely well organized and their speaker lineup looks fantastic. I was delighted to see that at least two of the speakers invited class attendees to read a selection beforehand. There is also a youth conference.  If your financial and family situation allows, I encourage you to attend. I will have a table in the vendor area, which is open to the public, so please come by and visit whether you are attending the conference or not.

Some people have thought this was my convention, but it is not. We held our last LDS-HEA Conference in 2007.  By then my “staff” had all grown up and moved on, and I was worn out.  My place in the homeschool movement now, as I see it, is to be a voice for the Lord’s educational program.  I believe the time has come to speak boldly, though I realize I am preaching to the choir.

The Next Steps Toward Religious Education

A few days ago my husband presented me, with fanfare, the newly arrived AugustEnsign, opened in a two page spread to the article, “Home, the Heart of Learning” (p.28).  It said, “The primary place of teaching and learning is the home.” I also watched the 2014 Learning and Teaching in the Home and the Church videos, and loved them.

The article spoke of learning being “centered” in the home. I picture a beam of light illuminating the home where education is part of the family culture.  Whenever a family member leaves for education, a portion of the light moves with him, and he goes to a tutor who also lives in a beam of light. The Church is also a place he goes, and the light is certainly there.  I like to say the office is at home and every home a school.

The Ensign article went on to emphasize developing the habit of continual teaching in the family.  Once homeschoolers obtain the mindset and habits of inspired teaching and learning (if they don’t already have it) they are only inches away from every home a celestial school, and inches away from obtaining for themselves and their children a truly religious education.

What came as a shock to me was that I had already been planning to propose a few “Pondering” activities, which I intended to put in a handout on my table at the Neil’s conference (and I still will). One would say something like this:

  • Our Heavenly Father sent His own Son to parents who would provide a fully religious education.  If you look under Education in the LDS Bible Dictionary, you will find that, “The ‘religious question’ could not exist in Jewish education…”  What would it feel like to have all of education be religiously based?  What did it mean for Mary and Joseph?  How and what would Mary teach her son?  How and what would Joseph teach?  How would the boy Jesus and other 12-year-old youth in his village be different from our youth their age?Can you picture, or feel, what education in your home might be if all of it were taught from a religious perspective?  Can you picture the Holy Ghost shining down on your home as a shaft of light and everything being taught by that light?

Please feel free to refine my “Pondering” activity and share your thoughts, experiences, and questions. This is just the first of many Ponderings we need to do.  Maybe your words will help others.

Now for the bold part, which has been on my mind for some time. These are my strongest opinions, so hold on:

Three Reasons for Home and Private Religious Education

1.  Government schools are not spiritually, morally, or physically safe
It is time for all parents to really examine the wisdom of sending our children to the schools of Babylon which are working models of everything anti-Christ.  Not only are our children indoctrinated in falsehoods, but they practice the behaviors and thinking patterns of the anti-Christ as they are controlled by bells and tests and computer screens and evil philosophies.  Once Common Core is fully implemented, our children will be nothing more than objects to be acted upon.  Even if Common Core is stopped, the same people with the same philosophies will simply pull back and wait for everyone to go back to sleep and then move forward again.

We can no longer put a bubble over our local school and allow things to happen there that we would not allow anyplace else.  We can not justify evil in the name of “learning to live in the real word” or of “being missionaries.” Our youth are gasping for air.  Many develop coping strategies, such as spending lunch hour in the Seminary building, “Where I feel safe,” or “finding a quiet place to read a few scriptures on an iphone.” Those who don’t find a way to cope fail, and thus we have an epidemic of “failure to launch.”

We tell our youth to hold to the rod, don’t get off The Path; then we plant them firmly on the other path. It’s one thing to live in Babylon and not be of Babylon; it is another thing to be enrolled, controlled, converted, perverted, and force-fed poisonous philosphies by Babylon.

Why did this happen?  Because parents and schools stopped teaching the rising generations religion and morality, and society began to crumble.  In December 1962, President McKay said: “By making [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” (Religion in Public Life, Elder Dallin H. Oaks).  The cord is cut; American schools as they once were, and as we wish they still were, are no longer.  Anything that is still good, including great teachers, is not part of the current plan and will not endure.  Someday all may be restored, but in the meantime, our children need to be rescued, not abandoned to “social justice” and Marxism.

2.  There is an opportunity cost
The “opportunity cost” to our children is enormous. Because the great bulk of their time is taken up by the Babylonian education, there is no room in their day in which to obtain a good Christian education.  Nor do they have the spiritual hunger to invest in that education, or even the hunger for the less rigorous pursuits of great music and literature.  Their love of learning has been extinguished.

In the seventh grade at American Heritage school in American Fork UT, the students meet in a beautiful, peaceful classroom.  On the wall is a large picture of General George Washington kneeling in prayer.  The students study true American history from original sources, and at the end of the year they write a final essay listing 50 proofs that America was founded as a Christian country.  I find that inspiring.  And simple.  If enough families would do this, we might save America.

3.  The Lord wants us to have a religious education
Do anti-Christ educations prepare us for Zion?  Will anti-Christ schools be welcomed there? Or does the Lord want a Christian education for His children?  It certainly seems the Church is slowly moving us in that direction.  Will homeschoolers ignite the fire?  What will a religious education look like in our homes?  What will it be like in a ward?  A stake?  Should this be another Pondering activity?

I wonder if we could find 50 proofs that the Lord wants a religious education.  Maybe some families or some groups of families should try this and report.  If anyone who lives near me wants to meet together to talk about these ideas, I’d love to participate.  My head is swimming with thoughts ready to be joined by yours.


Please, please go see Dinesh D’Sousa’s America, Imagine the World Without Her if you can.  It is wonderful. Here’s a debate with D’Sousa and Bill Ayers.

Utah Governor Reconsidering Common Core

July 21, 2014

Utah Governor Reconsidering Common Core!

Miraculously, on Thursday Governor Herbert called a press conference to announce a reexamination of Common Core. He has asked the Attorney General’s office for a legal investigation of federal involvement, and he has set up parent and professional committees to work on other aspects.  That afternoon the Governor appeared on the weekly radio program of Utah Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka.  To hear exactly what he is proposing, go to the archive list here, then scroll down to on Gayle Ruzicka, then to 2014 0717 Gayle, Gov. Herbert & Scott.mp3. If you stay for the second hour you will hear Constitutional Scholar Scott Bradley explain that the founders purposely left education in the hands of the states. The Federal government was given no Constitutional role in education.  This will be time well spent.

If you have extra time and really want to read articles about the governor’s announcement, see the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune.  To see Gayle maligned in the online publications, see Utah Policy.  For a short, sane national overview, see Breitbart.  Gayle is the heroine on many Utah issues — and she is the most hated woman in the state.  Go to the Utah Eagle Forum website and read the principles for which the organization stands; they are right on the front page!  What is there to complain about? In other states, check the national Eagle Forum website to find your state organization.

Attend the July 22 Live Broadcast –TOMORROW!
Many small miracles have led to this opportunity for Utah to remove its children from Common Core. One of those little miracles is the timing of the governor’s announcement right before the We Will Not Conform strategy event, a live broadcast from Glenn Beck’s Dallas studio to 650 theaters throughout the nation tomorrow evening, July 22.  Michelle Malcom and David Barton will also be speaking.  Ten Utahns, including Gayle Ruzicka, Utah State Representative Brian Greene, Davis School District Board member Peter Cannon, and several grassroots activists, including Alisa Ellis & Whitne Strain will be in the Dallas audience.  The rest of Utah will be in our local theaters where new technology is being used to make this event interactive. Take your phone or tablet in case you decide to tweet or text.

Wherever you live, please, please attend. We need a mass turnout at all 650 movie theaters and especially at the ten Utah theaters where the news will be reporting the size of the audience, so we need a show of strength.  I’m sure activists in other states are saying the same. Go here to find the movie theater nearest you .  If the Lord is providing an escape for us, it will not be handed to us on a silver platter; we will have to do the work!

Self-Education Distruptively Innovates College

Disruptive Innovation is a theory developed by Clayton Christensen, about which he has written many books.  We have talked about him before, and I have been studying the subject again in relation to Common Core and college.  I will report on this in a few weeks.  In the meantime, Oliver DeMille has sent out a TEDex talk given by a father in Hong Kong who speaks of homeschooling his children and gives some advice on college.  This is a delightful presentation. See it on Oliver’s post here.

Stay connected; great things are coming,


John Adams on Education and Independence Day

July 16, 2014
I’ve talked long and loud about studying our American Heritage.  There is a reason for that, and I’ll get to it below, but first a few items I left out of Saturday’s post.In that most recent post I mentioned the book, The Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, which is available for $9.20 or fee here, here, or here, but I forgot to mention that the book also contains a section explaining the grievances against the king that are listed in the Declaration, something I haven’t seen elsewhere. Although the circumstances are different, those grievances are not unlike the things we deal with today. Tyrants are tyrants. Two quotes I had intended to include will further explain my thoughts about fireworks.  After Independency was passed on July 2, John Adams wrote to Abigail:
“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”  – John Adams July 3, 1776
The Declaration was quickly printed and copies delivered to newspapers throughout the land, and it was read on many public squares.  It was also sent, probably on the fastest horse, to George Washington in New York where British ships had blockaded the harbor. Washington had been waiting for this announcement and ordered the Declaration to be read to his troops.  Here are his orders:

Head Quarters, New York, July 9, 1776.
The Hon. The Continental Congress, impelled by the dictates of duty, policy and necessity, having been pleased to dissolve the Connection which subsisted between this Country, and Great Britain, and to declare the United Colonies of North America, free and independent States: The several brigades are to be drawn up this evening on their respective Parades, at Six OClock, when the declaration of Congress, shewing the grounds and reasons of this measure, is to be read with an audible voice.
The General hopes this important Event will serve as a fresh incentive to every officer, and soldier, to act with Fidelity and Courage, as knowing that now the peace and safety of his Country depends (under God) solely on the success of our arms: And that he is now in the service of a State, possessed of sufficient power to reward his merit, and advance him to the highest Honors of a free Country.

You can see why the occasion of “our deliverance from tyranny,” which came only after much toil and bloodshed, would be followed with celebrations. For Americans today to engage in the celebrations with little thought, knowledge, or participation in the cause of liberty, is somehow sad. What enemy hath done this to our country?

In Utah we have fireworks again on the 24th of July, the day the pioneers entered the Salt Lake valley.  On that day I like to revisit President Boyd K. Packer’s talk, “The Test,” October 2008.  It amazes me that no ward or stake, to my knowledge, has sought to recognize or recreate that pioneer celebration of our American heritage.  Also sad.

What John Adams Said
Now, for the other John Adams quote which will lead us to where I believe homeschool will be going next, finally!  While I was still in the Independence Day Mode on Monday, I watched a few YouTube video scenes from the HBO production of John Adams.  I have never knowingly watched anything on HBO (remembering them from the early cable tv battles), but the clips I saw were fine.  Then I found a wonderful Library of Congress interview with David McCullough.  I had listened to his book on CD, then I bought a copy of the book but never could find a particular quote in it. This was such an amazing interview, but I wanted Mr. McCullogh to open up my computer screen and tell me where in his book he put the quote I need.  I was surprised when he actually picked up a copy of his book that was on the table and read from it!  (That gave me a clue to where in the book I should look.)  Meanwhile, here it is, in the biographer’s own voice, right from the transcript that is linked to the page.  (You can watch or listen to the interview as you follow the transcript, my favorite way to enjoy a talk).  Historian David McCullogh:

. . . I wanted to just read this because I think it’s one of the most potent things ever said by an American.  It’s — it was written for his family.  It wasn’t written for a public address or anything.  It’s very short.  He said, “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.  My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children” — and you notice he shifts from his sons to children.  So, he’s bringing women in, “to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”  Now, that’s the upward climb for him.  Not so that they’ll get rich, or they’ll get powerful, or they’ll be celebrities.  It’s the rise of a cultivated, civilized, civilization that he foresees.  And it all comes out of what you do at the beginning, building this foundation, creating this country.

In our case, I believe it is critical that we and our children study our American Heritage so we, and they, can restore liberty, so their children can study Vikings and Pyramids if they choose. In other words, I don’t believe we have the luxury of spending years of homeschooling in ancient history, as most curriculum programs are set up to do. We have to continue the upward climb in the midst of our own war.  Our window of opportunity may be brief.

Our church programs are leading the way, but what wonderful friends we have.  Mr. McCullough shares some excellent advice about studying history, far away from government schooling philosophies.  Thank you, sir.  This is our first “teacher training” lesson for the summer.

I was excited to hear that McCullough is writing a book on aviation, spanning the Wright Brothers through Charles Lindbergh.  What a great “text” for our young men!  It won’t be out until the Spring of 2015, so they have a school year to get their basic American Heritage learned and then a summer to spend in the sky!


Coming next:
1. A lot more information about that upward educational climb is coming. We have two books to suggest, so save a few pennies.
2. You’ve heard that the AP History test has been aligned to Common Core.  Don’t panic yet.  A disruptive innovation is coming.

Independence Day: Have you celebrated it yet?

July 12, 2014
In recent years I have celebrated America’s Birthday by watching the movie 1776.  I watch it alone, in the early morning or when everyone else is at the fireworks.  Much of the language is objectionable.  My dvd (the 1972 G-rated version) has been edited to remove the inappropriate use of the Lord’s name, although there are still some other inappropriate things that have prevented me from inviting my family to watch it.  (The later version in which footage originally cut has been restored is rated PG and is longer.  It may be the only one available.)The characters are often incorrectly portrayed, of course, but the inaccuracies move me to study a little bit every year to get to know our Founders. This year I found a particularly good book (hiding in plain sight on my bookshelf) that tells the story of the Declaration and gives the biographies of the signers.  It is a reprint of an 1848 publication entitled The Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, by Benson Lossing, republished by David Barton at Wallbuilders.  I strongly recommend the book.The portrayals of John and Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin are what I love most about the movie; however, although far less literary license taken with them, what is taken may be much more egregious.  For instance, at one point shortly before the final vote we have this conversation, which appears on the 3-minute trailer:Dickinson: …why do you refer to King George as a tyrant?
Jefferson:  Because he is a tyrant.
Dickinson:  I remind you, Mr. Jefferson, that this “tyrant” is still your King.
Jefferson:  When a king becomes a tyrant he thereby breaks the contract binding his subjects to him.
Dickinson:  How so?
Jefferson:  By taking away their rights.
Dickinson: Rights that came from him in the first place.
Jefferson:  All except one – the right to be free comes from nature.

This conversation appears on the 3 minute trailer.

What does “comes from nature” mean?  The actual line in the Declaration is, “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” Apparently the writers wanted to leave God out of the story except when using His name as a pejorative.

What did the words “nature and nature’s God” mean to the Founders?  William Blackstone (1723-1780) explained:

  • As man depends absolutely upon his Maker for everything, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his Maker’s will. This will of his Maker is called the law of nature. . . . This law of nature, being coeval [coexistent] with mankind and dictated by God Himself is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times; no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this. . . . The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures [i.e., the “laws of nature’s God”]. . . . Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered [permitted] to contradict these.
When I went on Amazon today I discovered over 600 reviews of 1776.  I only read a few pages, but I found that many people watch this movie on the Forth of July.  I had thought I was the only one!  I also learned that nearly everyone in my small sample who commented was moved by the movie, most accepted it as a true representation, and only one mentioned that it was not necessarily accurate.  No wonder our country is so confused.  Storytelling is powerful, and this story is especially so.  Because I know that the Founders were inspired, religious men, I hadn’t realized that other people might not.This year I did attend the fireworks because we had family visiting from out of state.  A few days later Glenn Beck commented that he and others of his staff and audience had felt differently this year watching fireworks; something was missing.  His comments made me think about what I have felt in rcent years, and I can now put my own feelings into words:  After so many generations of false teaching of American history in our homes and schools, I don’t think most people know what we should be celebrating.  Maybe some are celebrating fireworks and possibly a vague idea of “free,” but not the Declaration of 1776 and all that goes with it.  How can we celebrate what we don’t know?  If we were to light candles on a decorated cake to celebrate the birthday of someone we’ve never met and isn’t present, would it be soul-satisfying?  Candles are fun, cake tastes good, but having nothing to connect us to a reason for the celebration makes the event shallow.Have you celebrated Independence Day yet?  If you watched the fireworks and came away feeling empty, or if you want to celebrate again, may I suggest that you watch President Hinckley’s 1997 Freedom Festival presentation, made available by Zion Tube, my favorite video resource.And then may I suggest that we all commit to learning our nation’s founding documents, history, and principles.  This is not just something nice to do; it is imperative if we want to save our country.  And it’s not just for homeschoolers; it’s for all Americans. We should teach our neighbors.  The time is short.

Someday we may have the privilege of meeting our nation’s founding patriots, and it might please them if we knew them accurately and appreciated their contributions.  We surely need their help now.

Celebrating the 4th of July should be a rich spiritual experience.  I don’t know whether 1776 should be part of your celebration, but try this closing scene, with my apologies for any bad words.

Elder Bednar Leads the Way to Restoring Education!!!

I’ve heard a lot of talk lately about strategies our youth are using to deal with the temptations and evils of their public schools, things like finding a hidden moment to listen to scriptures on their phones or hanging out in the Seminary building at lunch to feel safe. Our youth are gasping for air!  When will we get them to safety? For a people in the process of building Zion, a Godless education can not be tolerated.

In Christ’s day, education among His people was religious (see Education in the Bible Dictionary). So it was in early America.  So it was for the Saints under the leadership of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.  In John Taylor’s day the Utah Saints chose “free” government schools, and they did so over the objections and the pleadings of Church leaders.  If we want to build Zion, we must restore religious education,

Joseph Smith’s Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ reconnected the Church to what Christ had established on His earthly mission.  The Restoration also restored forward, taking us to unfamiliar places that were not seen in Christ’s day, such as temple work for our ancestors. If we continue moving forward we may learn things that have been hidden in plain sight and some that only the City of Enoch knew. That path is becoming more clearly marked.

We often hear messages from church leaders that if we teach our children the gospel at home they will survive public schools. Those messages used to bother me because so many don’t survive and those who do survive have been cheated out of a Godly education in American History, Literature, Government, and even Math and Science.  I’m comfortable with that message now because I can see the wisdom in it.  The first and the foundational step toward homeschooling must be a the building of a gospel culture in the home. That culture must go far beyond check-box scripture reading, family prayer, and family night.  The home itself would look and feel like a place where people love to learn.  Family members would become self-directed gospel learners, and the Holy Ghost would become their teacher.

Family-directed religious education might do two things:  First, it will prepare the family for, and lead them into learning together every day, all subjects, at home and/or in places that feel like home.  Youth being taught under the influence of the Holy Ghost will see the difference between being a child of God with the gift of agency and being an object who is acted upon. They will not want to waste their time in anti-God schools and will demand a religious education.  Second, the strength of the families and the power of the Priesthood will be a protection from challenges to religious freedom, religious education, and homeschooling.

Families who are new to homeschooling or who are not feeling successful should consider that the first thing is to strengthen relationships, then faith, and then skills and knowledge.What Elder Bednar teaches about Teaching and Learning points the way for all we do at home, not necessarily by his intention but simply because the same principles he is teaching the church apply to home and family.  A friend pointed me to some outstanding videos, and my grandson taught me how to put them on a YouTube Playlist,  Go to YouTube, then search for Every Home a School, then “Prophets Teach Us How to Learn/Teach/Parent.”  The first video is “The Importance of Teaching in the Gospel, Part 1.”  Following it are 11 short clips, the first five lifted from Part 1 and the other six apparently from a Part 2 which I cannot find. I’ve also added another short clip from Elder Bednar, a story he told in England about a remarkable experience at BYUI.  And then there are three full talks, one from Elder Perry on how his mother made their home a school (my words, not his), and two from members of the Seventy: Elder Lynn Robbins, “What Manner of Men Ought We To Be,” about “becoming” and parenting, and Elder David Stone, “Zion in the Midst of Babylon,” which calls us to examine the influence of culture.If you have read the many pages of text I linked to the Escape Common Core video on the home page of our website, you may remember that I said, with great delight, that the Church is teaching us how to homeschool our children. Elder Bednar is magnificent.  Enjoy!

Common Core Is Out in Oklahoma and Louisiana! Hurray!


Folks in Oklahoma began their celebration cautiously when the state legislature passed a comprehensive bill to opt out of Common Core because they still had to wait for Governor Mary Fallin to sign it. As current Chair of the National Governors’ Assn. that might take some courage. Encouraging emails were sent to her from all  over the country. When she did sign the new Oklahoma law, parents in many state were cheering!  Then South Carolina followed!  Hurray again!  Then yesterday Louisiana. Hurray! Hurray! What will the federal government do now?  Of course Oklahoma must be punished. Remember, Arne Duncan, the federal Secretary of Education, wants schools open “12 hours a day 12 months a year, 6 or 7 days a week,” complete with three meals a day and medical clinics; and he holds the federal purse strings. Please check your Constitution to see what the proper role of the federal government is for education.  

In Louisiana apparently everyone is happy except the State Superintendent of Schools who is outraged.  “We are not willing to subject our children to last minute changes to throw our system into educational chaos,” he said.  Haven’t we all been in chaos all year, especially the children?  Courage everyone.  Hold steady and pray.  This will be a long, ugly battle.  A small part of a few deadly tumors have been removed, but the body is still riddled with cancer.  As long as the federal government is involved and as long age the schools practice compulsion and Godlessness, government education will not improve enough to satisfy the commandment to “trust no one to be your teacher…except he be a man of God, walking in his ways…” (Mosiah 23:14). The bad guys may pull back a little — but then parents will relax and go back to sleep and the evil will increase again.  So has it been from the beginning  

The Gates Foundation, pulling back a little in response to Oklahoma?   Sexualization I said I’d send you the link to the Sexualization Standards that are reported to be implemented in many schools next year, not as stand alone classes but as part of the curriculum.  I’d rather not burden you with this, but here they are: The Standards are blatantly national and are copyrighted by the Future of Sex Education, whoever they are.  Obviously this is a document open to change.  The philosophies of the people who created the document and will be supplying the “skills” and curriculum are not up to LDS standards. The Utah State School Board says they will not adopt the program, but we have no reason to trust them.  Keep a watchful eye on your state, and encourage your friends and neighbors to Escape Common Core through home and private school.