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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
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.
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.
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,
“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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.