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.
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. , 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 , 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