Category Archives: Every Home A School

Every Home A School

What Manner of School Ought We to Have?

I was out driving one day and thought to turn my radio on just minutes before an hour break and just in time to hear the last question in an interview with Dr. Raymond Moody who speaks about near-death experiences. The questions was about the people who stayed on the other side for the longest amounts of time, and Dr. Moody said the thing they all talked about was seeing multitudes of people going into beautiful buildings of education.  They were excited about learning. Naturally I thought of the 24 temples in Joseph Smith’s plat plan for the New Jerusalem in Missouri.

What will a school in Zion be like?  Will it be like early American schools?  The Founders envisioned government encouraged education. The Northwest Ordinance, signed into law by George Washington, directed the circumstances under which new states to the west of the original thirteen would be admitted to the union.  The ordinance said, “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”  Land was set aside in the middle of each township for a school.  The schools were built and run locally.  Thomas Jefferson supported taxation.  He said, “Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils [tyranny, oppression, etc.] and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.”

The reason the Founders wanted schools in every community was to protect our liberties.  How much of what is done in school today prepares students to protect their liberties? How much actually destroys “religion, morality, and [true] knowledge”?  Should we, then, restore the early American pattern of schools?  Should schools again be established under state constitutions, without federal involvement?  Should they be overseen and supported by taxation at the local community level rather than at the federal level?  Or might there be an even better way?

The Brigham Young Academy was founded in 1876 in Provo, Utah, 20 years before statehood and the adoption of “free” schools in Utah.  President Brigham Young called Carl Maeser to head the academy and told him not to teach “so much as the alphabet or the multiplications tables without the Spirit of God.”  The story was told by Terry Warner in a BYU Devotional address on November 11, 2008.  Brother Warner also established a permanent exhibit on the BYU campus as a tribute to the Academy and the great men and women who taught there.  The Academy was technically a high school, but I suspect the courses were more challenging and the students more mature in that day before the invention of “teenage.”  (Thanks to the new changes in our church, our teenage culture is changing.)

I first discovered Brother Warner’s Devotional a couple of years after he gave it, and wondered how anyone could watch it and not want such a school for their children.  I watched and read the devotional many times and visited the exhibit at BYU.  Now, three years later, I watched the talk again and it seemed quite different.  I heard things I didn’t remember hearing before and was so stunned by some of it that I downloaded the text again and compared it to the one I had saved in 2011, which was actually entitled “The Education of the Whole Soul.”  (The title is still the same on the print out, but on the BYU website it is listed as “The Lighters of Our Lamps.”).  The words are still the same!  I am amazed.  The only explanation I can see is that our situation has changed in the last year or two with the rapidity we see in Book of Mormon accounts.  Last night I attended a small meeting at which people spoke of having feelings that they need to start a private school.

If you’ve read Brother Warner’s devotional speech before, please read it again. It is very moving and quite sobering.  Whatever we do in education, we want to be on the path to that City of Zion.  Are there clues here about what that path might be.

We will be coming back to this topic soon to look at more schools.

For further study:

The American Founding Fathers, more Jefferson quotes:  http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/quotations-education

Terry Warner, “Lighters of our Lamps,” text, audio, and video
http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=1813

Joyce

Advertisements

The Preschool Frenzy

October 31, 2013

We become enamored with men’s theories such as the idea of preschool training outside the home for young children. Not only does this put added pressure on the budget, but it places young children in an environment away from mother’s influence. – Ezra Taft Benson, October 1981

I have watched over the years as preschool has become more and more accepted and expected. I have heard the stress in the voices of young moms trying to find the right preschool, fearing that a wrong choice would harm their child forever. But the wrong choice may have already been made.

Little of what a young child really needs is offered in preschool, especially as preschool is about to become.  The things that matter most are the “inner” things, the things of the heart and the character.  When a mother believes that a professional can do a better job than she can  in the early years, she devalues herself and misunderstands the Plan of Happiness.  Earth life is simply a school for the family. The home is the greenhouse and the respite center and the classroom for our personal, spiritual, biological, social, emotional, and academic development. The right choice for a mother, when circumstances allow, is to engage herself fully in the beautiful, purposeful rearing of her precious children.

Better Late Than Early
Dr. Raymond Moore, a Seventh-day Adventist educator and researcher, and a strong opponent of preschool who soon became a proponent of homeschooling in the earlier days, taught that even an ordinary mother in an ordinary home is the a best teacher for her own children.  He and his wife authored many books about homeschooling, and he was often asked to testify to legislatures and in court cases. His advocacy began with an article in the Reader’s Digest against preschool.  There was so much response that the Digest asked him to write a book.  He wrote two: Better Late Than Early and School Can Wait.  He was mocked by his profession after the first one, so he wrote the second one with the same message, but in education jargon, and it was published by BYU.  Apparently the Church was also opposed to preschool.

Based on solid research, Dr. Moore taught that children were not neurologically ready for formal learning until age 8 or 10 or 12.  He had no concern over the age at which children learned to read because all children are different.  Here is a quote from his book, The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook,1988/1994:

  • We have done one of the world’s most extensive research analyses on school readiness in a fruitless search for some justifications, any justification for sendingnormal children away to kindergarten or school at four or five or six or seven.  We’ve found absolutely none!Yet, instead of studying how best to meet our children’s needs, we simply do what everyone else seems to be doing, and often put our little ones out of their homes,their homes, and away from environments that best produce outgoing, healthy, happy, creative children. . . . America is placing its little children in formal settings long before most of them, particularly boys, are ready.
This book is still available on Amazon and Kindle. I highly recommend it.

The Impact of the Earliest Years on Students’ Success
This is a chapter in a book by Clayton M. Christensen, Harvard Professor, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma and other books, and a highly respected church leader.  Search for him on YouTube; you will love him.  The book in which the chapter appears is Disrupting Class, and I highly recommend it although the business parts of it are way over my head.

Brother Christensen writes that “98 percent of education spending occurs after the basic intellectual capacities of children have been mostly determined.”  He quotes the work of Hart and Risley who found that the amazingly simple key is in parents talking to their babies.  They call it “language dancing,” and it is powerfully effective.  He are some quotes from the chapter:

  • [P]arents are engaged face to face with the infant and speak in a fully adult, sophisticated, chatty language–as if the infant were listening, comprehending, and fully responding to the comments.Other scholars have shown that the most powerful factor influencing reading skills is auditory processing skill–the very skill that is honed as infants listen to parents speak to them in sophisticated, adult language.One of the most important findings of the Risley-Hart study was that the level of income, ethnicity, and level of parents’ education had no explanatory power in determining the level of cognitive capacity that the children achieved.  It is all explained by the amount of language dancing, or extra talk, over and above business talk, that the parents engaged in.  It accounted literally for all the variance in outcomes.In other words . . . . some working, poor people talked a lot to their kids and their kids did really well.  Some affluent business people talked very little to their kids and their kids did very poorly. . . . And there is no variance left for race either.  All the variation in outcomes was taken up by the amount of talking, in the family to the babies before age 3.

After studying prekindergarten programs, Brother Christensen wrote, “we have concluded that such programs are an ineffective mechanism for addressing the challenge of better preparing children for school.”

“Of course they are ineffective,” say I.  Children were born to be with their mothers.  Bonding to teacher after teacher causes attachment disorders, but it is considered good socialization if a child is ok with being separated from Mommy.)  Brother Christensen’s suggestion:  “Rather than funding programs that hire people to substitute for parents who aren’t succeeding at preschool talk, quite possibly we might have greater impact if we taught children how to be parents before they become parents.”

I don’t know if Brother Christensen was thinking of a government program here, but someone will be.  Before we do that, let’s look to the home.  Let’s appreciate what God hath done; His hand is in our creation.  He gave babies an assignment to to use their mouths, both for subsistence and for language, beginning in the womb.  He made babies obligate mimickers — what mom does with her mouth baby will try to do.  After that comes the drive and ability to investigate and explore. Then to socialize.  All these Divinely designed “pre-academic” learning activities are facilitated just by daily life within the family and the home and on family outings. The family exists by Divine design.

In preschool, the only life style, profession, or activity being modeled is teaching, and the “world” is only the size of a classroom.  A mom has a much more interesting life, especially when she is aware that her children are learning machines and she is their primary mentor and nurturer.  If there is love and refinement and a learning atmosphere in the family, no one even has to be aware of what they are doing as they prepare the baby’s brain for learning in a way that will be noticed years later.  Love is a powerful force.  No preschool can compete with family.

If government must do something, a “family-is-best” awareness campaign would be helpful; but it’s not likely to happen — there’s no money to be made.  If the government can’t or won’t fix the problem in Babylon, we can at least improve our parental leadership in would-be-Zion and teach truth wherever we can.

Be sure to check out the Hart-Risley website and enjoy their short videos, but remember, this is a program the Lord has already set up in our hearts and brains, so we don’t have to be too clinical about it.  Just be purposeful and pay attention. You are raising your baby and he can walk beside you for a long time to learn from real life.  The Heavens are pleased.

(Someone should do a study about the benefits to babies when their siblings are homeschooled, and the benefits to homeschooling siblings when a baby is in the home.)

Do It Yourself Preschool
If you know someone who just has to have an organized preschool, refer her to the Ensign article  A Do-It-Yourself Nursery School, by Jill Wonnacott Dunford, August 1978.  I wonder how folks in the church office building felt when this plan didn’t take off and become popular with the Mormon moms. Maybe if there had been Pinterest.

This divine service of motherhood can be rendered only by mothers. It may not be passed to others. Nurses cannot do it; public nurseries cannot do it. Hired help cannot do it; kind relatives cannot do it. Only by mother, aided as much as may be by a loving father, brothers and sisters, and other relatives, can the full needed measure of watchful care be given. – President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, March 1976

If the purpose of your daily employment is simply to get money for a boat or a fancy automobile or some other desirable but unnecessary thing, and in the process you lose the companionship of your children and the opportunity to rear them, you may find that you have lost the substance while grasping at the shadow. – President Gordon B. Hinckley, Oct 1983

Constitution Day | Common Core Update

Celebrating Constitution Day in 1987

FIRST PRESIDENCY MESSAGE
Our Dear Brothers and Sisters:
On September 17, 1987, we commemorate the two-hundredth birthday of the signing of the United States Constitution. The group of inspired men assembled for that convention produced the document that the Prophet Joseph Smith referred to as “a glorious standard” and “a heavenly banner.” In commemoration of this important event, we are providing this booklet, which contains three family home evening lessons, activity ideas, and a copy of the Constitution. We encourage you to prepare and teach each lesson prayerfully so that family members may feel the divine significance of the Constitution in their minds and hearts.
Faithfully, your brethren,
The First Presidency
President Ezra Taft Benson.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor
President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor

I still have my copy of that booklet, as do other patriot people.  It has been posted on a website and I believe President Monson would be pleased if we were to use it.

Celebrating Constitution Day in 2013

My friend, Kathy Smith, has been putting on a community celebration of Constitution Day for several years.  This year she has Stan Ellsworth coming to speak in Layton UT (Tues, Sept 15) and I’m excited to go.  Few of our readers live near Layton UT,  but everyone can watch Stan’s program, American Ride, on KBYUtv. Stan is a biker who takes you on field trips to historic places and tells the stories.  He is a great story-teller.  There are 52 episodes of American Ride on KBYUtv.  From the Constitution Day Celebration website:  “Stan takes viewers to where American history happened and brings history to life.  Stan is a gifted speaker and believes deeply in America’s past and future.  ‘I’m concerned that a lot of kids don’t remember who we are.  I just want to be a voice reminding us of our greatness.'”

Celebrating Constitution Day with Hillsdale College

After watching a video mentioned in our next article, I discovered the Hillsdale College is a national treasure  Their YouTube page has enough videos to keep us learning for a long time.  For Constitution Day I recommend President Larry Arnn’s address, The Founders’ Key.


Common Core Update:  State/National Common Core

School administrators insist on calling the new National standards “State” or “state led.”  Not true.  As implementation progresses, the intent is to substitute choice and individuality with control and sameness.  Decisions are made on the federal level, not be parents, teachers, or local administrators.  The scope is “P-20” (preschool through college). States and local districts conform or they are punished with the loss of federal funding.

It is interesting that Satan’s victory over agency in education seems almost certain now, just when various means of school choice (vouchers, charters, on-lines, private, homeschooling) have also been winning great victories. We are certainly involved in a last-days war, and at risk are our children’s futures and our religious liberty. Parents and students must take a stand. We are in God’s army, or not. We are for Constitutional principles, or not. We are willing to pay the price, or not. No victory will be won without sacrifice.

The following video is the testimony of Hillsdale College Professor Terrence Moore given before the Indiana State Legislature in August 2013. Dr. Moore explains, among other important things, that Common Core will change over the years.

The next video is an interview with Robert Scott, the former Texas Commissioner of Education, who turned down Common Core because of the loss of local control and the high costs involved.

Should you want to share these videos with your legislators, both can also be found on the What Is Common Core blog, here and here.


The Foundation of American Public Education

Why did our Founders encourage public schools?  What is the purpose of public schools? Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn tells us about Thomas Jefferson, the Northwest Ordinance, and what the Founders had in mind in an address titled 
The American Founders on Civic Education
.


I am finally getting the website updated!LDSHEA.org  It feels so good to have conquered a few of my technical challenges there, but I still have a long way to go, which includes moving Common Core to it’s own page, getting information on the left sidebar, and making some videos on math, English, and homeschooling.  I’d appreciate any suggestions you have for improving the site.
Happy Constitution Day!
Joyce

Technology and the Culture of Learning

September 2, 2013
Technology and the Culture of Learning

Recently in a Relief Society lesson we got onto the subject of technology.  Several sisters commented about people playing games on their phones in the midst of family gatherings.  One sister said she and her husband were on a dinner date and realized they were each immersed in their own technology while waiting to be served.  Another said her children were very unhappy when she required them to put away their devices while on a family vacation.  She put an audio book into the cd player and they complained again, but eventually they began to enjoy the book and would ask to hear it.

I thought about that a bit, realizing that the cd player is also technology.  In that rare situation the technology was under parental control, and by their action the parents changed the family culture, at least for a time, and blessed the children’s lives.

Then I remembered something from Elder Richard G. Scott’s April 2013 Conference message, which I had listened to that morning. He said:

  • You live in a world where technological advances occur at an astounding pace. It is difficult for many of my generation to keep up with the possibilities. Depending on how technology is used, these advances can be a blessing or a deterrent. Technology, when understood and used for righteous purposes, need not be a threat but rather an enhancement to spiritual communication.

Then the light went on: It’s not the technology, it’s the use of the technology!

Technology is similar to guns. Both are tools. Both operate at the touch of a finger, one more easily so than the other. Guns don’t jump up and shoot; they lie motionless until a human puts them to use either to kill or to protect.  Or to obtain food.  Or for recreation.  Taking guns from responsible people leaves the community without the benefits that the Lord and our Founding Fathers intended us to have, and that government’s job is to protect.

Likewise, technology lies motionless until it is put in a human hand. People often use technology to “kill” themselves and others, but responsible people use it bless lives.  Taking technology away leaves us without its benefits.

And just what are those benefits?  I submit that the Lord’s purpose in giving us these technological devices are to enhance our ability to learn and to communicate. I think He’s fine with a little bit of recreational use.  Here is more from Elder Scott:

  • For example, many of us have a personal electronic device that fits into our pocket. We are seldom without its company; we may refer to it many times a day. Unfortunately, these devices can be a source of filth and wasted time. But, used with discipline, this technology can be a tool of protection from the worst of society. Who could have imagined not very many years ago that the full standard works and years of general conference messages would fit into your pocket? Just having them in your pocket will not protect you, but studying, pondering, and listening to them during quiet moments of each day will enhance communication through the Spirit.

    Be wise in how you embrace technology. Mark important scriptures on your device and refer back to them frequently. If you young people would review a verse of scripture as often as some of you send text messages, you could soon have hundreds of passages of scripture memorized. Those passages would prove to be a powerful source of inspiration and guidance by the Holy Ghost in times of need.
Why is it that we don’t use our technology as Elder Scott suggests?  Many do, but I really think that most people simply haven’t thought of their devices as learning tools.  They play games because they have no conception of or connection to being lifetime learners. Can we do better?  Can we teach our children the correct use of technology?  Only if we as parents first develop a love of learning and the habit of using our devices as learning tools.

I did it right once, not too long ago.  I had been offered a good deal on a tablet, so I bought it and set up some expectations about how I would use it.  Soon a granddaughter came over for a short time while she was waiting for her parents.  She saw my tablet and asked to play a game.  Knowing that she was a horse lover, I asked if she had ever seen the Lipizzan horses.  She hadn’t heard of them, so we spent a delightful half hour on YouTube watching those beautiful animals working together in the arena. That time spent helped us each develop a tiny bit of our personal culture of lifetime learning.

Newborns and toddlers are curious, questioning learning machines, but somewhere along the line, usually in upper elementary school, that desire to learn is often lost and the questions stop.  Sometimes it seems the more schooling a person has the less likely he is to ever pick up a book just because he is hungry for knowledge.  I wonder if too much acted-upon, high pressure studying loaded on students over too many years leaves them with little experience in the joyful, unhurried, self-directed experience of learning with the Holy Ghost.

Once we reclaim our love of lifetime learning and we develop the habit of using technology as a learning tool as part of our personal culture, then we can work at building a family culture of lifetime learning.  Maybe we can make changes in the “architecture” of our home, arranging tables and books and wall hangings to invite learning.  Maybe we can upgrade our family dinner conversations, our tv viewing, and our Facebook postings.

For our children, the technology may require a “limited use permit” and an understanding of the word covenant as we teach them correct principles and help them practice governing themselves.  Our loving Father expects us to use His great gift of technology wisely to help us become more fit for the Zion society we are to be building.

So if bad things are happening, don’t blame the technology.  Blame the cultures — personal, family, community, school, political, etc.  Fix the ones we can and withdraw from the ones we can live without.

Surprise!  After failing to get this newsletter sent out on Saturday, I discovered today that the Church has made a request regarding the 2014 curriculum materials:

  • Before ordering, consider the following questions to help you avoid ordering more printed copies than needed:
    How many printed copies of each item does your unit already have available?
    How many teachers and members use digital versions of materials rather than printed copies?

A Core of Our Own: With Our Feet Firmly Planted by Joyce Kinmont

August 13, 1013

A Core of Our Own:  With Our Feet Firmly Planted
by Joyce Kinmont

As Latter-day Saints we are engaged in becoming worthy citizens in a Zion society, a society we have to build.  As a part of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, shouldn’t we return to the religious education that was originally understood by Joseph Smith and our early church leaders?

When I wrote a three part article for our website several years ago, I relied on Jack Monnett’s book, Revealed Educational Principles and the Public Schools for understanding and for quotes. I wondered if I dared to use a couple of quotes that included the word “infidelity.” Was the word too strong?  Would people be offended? How was it meant? I decided to use them.  Today I have no question; the word fits.

So let’s visit those quotes again, and some more.

When the legislature passed the Free Education Act of 1890 (and really, “Free” should be written in quotes because it isn’t free; it’s expensive!) President George Q. Cannon wrote in the Juvenile Instructor:

“It will be a great temptation to many people to send their children to the free schools that will now be supported by our taxes, but of what value is learning if it is acquired at the expense of faith.”  – Monnett, p.154

The gospel was not taught in the “free” schools.  The Saints didn’t seem to care.  So President Cannon tried again, in stronger language, in a later issue of the Juvenile Instructor:

There are parents who are very favorable to their children receiving education, but appear to be indifferent as to the character of the teaching which they receive. They do not seem to place any value on their children being taught the principles of their religion. Apparently, therefore, they would as soon their children be taught in schools or colleges where religion is entirely ignored as in an academy taught by Latter-day Saints . . . the Latter-day Saints have forsaken everything for their religion. They have been willing to die for it . . . how persons who have had these feelings concerning religion in their own case can be so careless as to expose their children to infidelity seems a great mystery. -p.161

If Christ is the bridegroom, then unfaithfulness to Him is infidelity.  But the Saints still did not respond.

One frustrated church school principal wrote to Brother Maeser, “We believe the Saints should say today as Israel of old, ‘God hath spoken, let Israel obey and patronize these schools and fill them to overflowing.” –p.155

The Saints heard plenty of counsel, even pleadings, from their leaders.  And the Church did everything possible to reduce tuitions and make obedience easier. But the Saints weren’t willing to make the sacrifices.

Jack points out that their choice was clear.  The Lord’s schools, or man’s.  Follow inspired leaders, or not.  For us the choice is clouded by years of compromise and by our having lived so long in Babylon.

Another friend of mine points out that the very purpose of the state schools was to destroy the Mormon religion.  So why would the Saints fall into that trap?  And why are we still there?

Had those early Saints, some of them the posterity of the pioneers, chosen what seemed at the time to be the hard road, would they have built Zion by now?

Instead they put their church leaders into the same quandary the Utah State School Board found themselves in:  Is it better to have a place at the table than to not have any influence at all?  It seems the School Board used that question as a justification for doing what they wanted to do – receive a “chunk of cash.”  From the taxpayers. (see previous article)  The Church, of course, looked to the Master for answers.  I’m sure there was much sadness.

Jack wrote that enrollment in church schools “peaked at about 10%. . . . Not only was this a sad commentary against the Saints, it was an embarrassment to their leaders. Their enemies, however, were elated.”

Commissioner Jacob Boreman, who had feared that the Mormons would blindly follow their leaders, reported:

These efforts of the Mormon Church are necessarily causing divisions among the membership of the church upon educational matters. This, however, is a healthful sign, as is every act which causes the people to think for themselves. It creates and develops individual independence. The outlook is indeed encouraging. – p.187

Jack wrote:

President Cannon had been one of the chief leaders of the church school movement.  As President Woodruff’s first counselor, he had worked hand and hand with the prophet to bring about a celestial education program that they and all the General Board agreed was a necessary step in creating Zion among the Saints.  When it became clear that church members were more comfortable with an education program “like all the nations,” (1 Sam 8:5) and were not willing to sacrifice or separate themselves from those around them, plans were made to once again work with Latter-day Saint youth in public schools.  It was awkward because the Brethren had been vocal about the differences of public and church education and had pointed out public school weaknesses. Previously, President Cannon had asked the Saints, “of what value is learning if it is acquired at the expense of faith?” He spoke to church educators and observed that “Although infidelity is not directly taught in the public schools, its spirit is fostered by the exclusion of religious education.

“In the summer of 1891, recognizing that a partnership had to be forged in order to continue teaching LDS youth, he said:

“The district schools must be patronized by the Latter-day Saints for many reasons; they are supported, to a large extent, by the taxes of the Latter-day Saints, and it would be well for the children to be trained in those schools at least up to their twelfth year; as it is supposed that this can be done without endangering their faith. Again, we have been accused of being opposed to education and the district school system, and we must not give our traducers the shadow of a foundation on which to rest their charges.” – Monnett, p 192-3

Jack continued:

Necessarily, the foe became the ally.  Competition that had at times been bitter now became friendly.  A new educational direction was given to the Saints. . . . Karl Maeser, who had once labeled public schools “godless,” said in 1898:  “By wise legislation it is provided, that the public schools shall be kept free from partisan politics, sectarian influences, and the inculcation of infidel theories.  These sound restrictions guarantee in some measure at least to the children of our people, a so-called common English education without the bias of sectarianism or the negative tendencies of atheism.” – p.193

In the 1890’s the Church did have a place at the table.  John Taylor was the first Superintendent of Schools.  Many teachers were LDS.  And society was basically moral.  By the 1990’s the Church had little influence.  And today?  Is there any reason to remain in the schools of our enemies?

Now It’s Our Turn
One of the most beautiful talks ever given about becoming Zion is Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s August 2012 CES address, “Israel, Israel, God Is Calling.”  He spoke of the many times when the Lord’s people had to flee:

For more than 4,000 years of covenantal history, this has been the pattern: Flee and seek. Run and settle. Escape Babylon. Build Zion’s protective walls.

Until now. Until tonight. Until this our day.

Our call is to build Zion where we are.

One of the many unique characteristics of our dispensation, this the dispensation of the fullness of times—the last and greatest of all dispensations—is the changing nature of how we establish the kingdom of God on earth. You see, one of the truly exciting things about this dispensation is that it is a time of mighty, accelerated change. And one thing that has changed is that the Church of God will never again flee.

In these last days, in this our dispensation, we would become mature enough to stop running. We would become mature enough to plant our feet and our families and our foundations in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people permanently. Zion would be everywhere—wherever the Church is. And with that change—one of the mighty changes of the last days—we no longer think of Zion as where we are going to live; we think of it as how we are going to live.

How are we going to live?  How are our children going to learn their gospel, their life mission and occupation, their family heritage, and their national heritage, all of which includes reading and writing and every truth about everything on this planet?  Is it time to pick up where the children of the pioneers stepped off the path?  Is it time to walk away from schools that were originally set up in Utah for the purpose of destroying the power of the Mormon church (and on the East Coast for similar reasons, including to make all immigrants “common.”

Do we want to be like Germany, as is the stated goal of the president and was the goal of Horace Mann in early Massachusetts?  Why do we put a bubble around government schools and release them from accountability to Biblical moral standards?  Why do we force our children to go where they aren’t safe and pretend what happens there is good for them — although we wouldn’t allow such things at home?

Elder Holland said:

In the 21st century we cannot flee any longer. We are going to have to fight for laws and circumstances and environments that allow the free exercise of religion and our franchise in it. That is one way we can tolerate being in Babylon but not of it.

Our children were born into our family, but not into a school classroom.  We do not need to “flee” the school system; we just need to stop choosing to send our children there.  If there are attempts to force us to do otherwise, they would be unrighteous dominion and unconstitutional.  

What “laws and circumstances and environments” will allow our children to have a religious education?  Elder Holland didn’t say anything about education, so we have to figure it out for our own families.  Are we willing to fight for our choice of “circumstances”?  I hope we are!

With our feet and our families and our foundation firmly planted!
Joyce

For Further Study:
Israel, Israel, God is Calling, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, CES Broadcast, 2012 Elder Holland didn’t talk about education, but he did talk about Zion behaviors we must learn, so please watch the talk!  
Not Commanded in All Things, Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, Conference Report, April 1965

An Education for Our Day: What It Might Be

July 30, 2013

An Education for Our Day: What It Might Be
by Joyce Kinmont

As we’ve been studying Common Core, we can see that its full implementation will bring nothing but heartache.  It is a final step in the destruction of educational liberty.  If it were not for our church and the educational direction in which we are being taken, I would have no hope of escape.  But I do feel much hope for those of us who love freedom.  If we are able to avoid Common Core and maintain our right to choose our own methods of education, we have an opportunity for great growth.

In Utah an event was recently held in our state capitol.  Our legislators agreed to hear testimony from the citizens, and two and a half hours were set aside.  Five hundred of us attended.  Those who wanted to speak were allowed two minutes each to voice our concerns to approximately 30 legislators who came at the end of a full day of interim meetings.  State Senator Margaret Dayton, a freedom warrior, said the one good thing that has come out of Common Core is that we have hundreds of citizens who are educated and engaged.

So now we have to act.  Our first job here in Utah, and yours wherever you are, is to engage in your own state’s battle to stop Common Core.  For that you will have to search the web to see what’s happening in your state. Next we have to turn our attention to the upcoming school year.

It seems to be generally agreed by patriots that what has brought us to the sorry state in which we find ourselves is the failure of past generations to pass on to the rising generations the truth about America’s religion, history, and destiny.  That situation must be remedied in the home, with help from the Church and a few good mentors, teachers, and schools.

I have some thoughts about what might be happening and what we might do, and I hope you will share your own thoughts about these things.

Here are my musings about were we are now:

  1. Thousands of our youth have proven their faith and courage by their response to President Monson’s early mission call.  The emphasis President Benson and President Hinckley put on our reading the Book of Mormon and on each youth having his own set of scriptures is paying dividends today.  Our youth are awesome!

  2. This first wave of youth stepped forward after the October Conference last year.  In January the Church implemented new programs that will even better prepare those coming up in the ranks.

  3. Adults are stepping up to implement these new programs in Sunday School and Priesthood, and now I have heard that changes are coming to Seminary as well.  Our youth are and will be studying and learning by “acting” rather than being acted upon.  That is a huge fundamental shift that mean adults need to talk less and shift more responsibility to the youth.

  4. The newer emphasis being placed on studying current Conference talks, and the strong teachings of our Prophets and Apostles in CES Broadcasts, local conferences, and public discourses are adding to the momentum.  Years ago LDS bookstores carried the audiotape of a talk by President Benson’s son Reed entitled “TNT,” referring to the explosive from an earlier time but meaning “Today’s News Today.”  I remember TNT from old cowboy movies; my parents probably knew it from WW!!.  Today’s youth may not know what TNT is, but this seemingly small step propels us closer to our living prophets in a rapidly changing world.

  5. As an extra bonus, the early mission is surely eliminating some of the extended childhood culture we call “teenage.”  The high school years now need to be more focused and more serious.  As the culture of self-indulgence and play is replaced by responsibility and service, our youth will grow directly from children to adults, Joseph Smith style. Thank goodness!

  6. Seeing and feeling these changes in their older siblings, our younger children should be growing up with more maturity and sense of purpose.

  7. The Priesthood Session of April Conference seems to be almost a Mission Manual for our youth, somewhat reminiscent of Elder Perry holding up a Military Manual from his days in the Service.  Elder Callister gave us a pattern to follow.

Let’s look at “The Power of the Priesthood in the Boy,” Elder Callister’s message:

  1. The opening story declares “the Lord had reserved this blessing for a boy, to teach him a lesson that the priesthood in the boy is just as powerful as the priesthood in the man when exercised in righteousness.”

  2. Elder Callister gives “three key factors that contribute to such dramatic growth in the mission years”
    a.      trust
    b.     high expectations of the Mission President
    c.      training and retaining

  3. Then he suggests that we could apply these same principles to deacons quorum presidents.

  4. He includes a graphic to illustrate how the growth line might increase (p.52, Ensign, May 2013).

  5. He gives the example of a 12-year–old boy who taught a 25-minute lesson on the Atonement (p.54).

Look at that graphic in your Ensign. Do you think we could put a new line above the green dashes?

Here are my musings about how that might happen:

  1. The first thing I expect to see from the youth who are becoming active learners through the new Church methods is that they will rebel against the “acted upon” horror of Common Core.  The public schools, with or without Common Core, will not be capable of fulfilling the academic needs of the Lord’s army.  To save our youth from socialism and worse, and to obey our parental responsibilities, we will need to provide a religiously based education for them.

  2. Melchezedic Priesthood members are ordained to be kings and priests.  I assume the king part is the responsibility to govern.  Prophets have continually talked about our civic responsibilities, but the Saints have not listened well.  We seem to have the notion that reading scriptures and praying are sufficient, and engagement isn’t necessary.  Maybe the youth will engage.

  3. The first wave of missionaries has shipped out.  The waves behind them can prepare in both their spiritual training (priests) and their Constitutional responsibilities (kings).  That alone would make Elder Callister’s line move up.

  4. These youth could study American history, the Constitution, and economics outside of school hours or in a home school setting.  This should be done first in the family.

  5. The “curriculum” could begin with church sources.  Other good materials abound.  I am gathering a few possibilities to share soon.  From there the youth could search other trusted sources to their heart’s content, as active learners moved by the Holy Ghost.

  6. At some point another family could be invited into the home and the youth could teach their favorite lessons.  This could continue until the neighborhood or ward is covered.

  7. Groups of families might get together and the youth could teach, just as they are encouraged to do in their priesthood classes.  If a 12-year-old can give a 25 minute lesson on the atonement, why can’t a 12-year-old give good lessons on Joseph Smith’s Presidential candidacy, the Founding Fathers, the Founding Documents, orthe proper role of government in our current day?

  8. Bishops might even encourage members to get involved, in the spirit of President McKay’s letter (see below), which was given, I assume, before we were a major worldwide church and prophets had to be careful to protect members in communist countries.

  9. The outreach could expand to teaching other students, such as young children learning math and reading, or minority groups in struggling school districts learning English.

  10. There might be outside speakers arranged; there might be educational family outings or vacations.

  11. The youth will take it from there, getting involved in civic issues, using social media, websites and blogs, and things we haven’t thought of, to proclaim the gospel, history, and the proper role of government.  They can also develop ways to help those students who are trapped in the Common Core by countering the falsehoods being taught.

The objectives would be

  1. To help the youth get a good education outside of government dependency.

  2. To help the youth, especially the Aaronic priesthood, fulfill their requirement to “give meaningful service.”

  3. To help the youth spend their non-Sunday time more advantageously and move smoothly into missions and adulthood.

  4. To teach the nation what has been lost from our history.

This is not a program I am instituting or that I can develop or control; it will simply happen.  It is the Lord’s program as it is given to us in our church, carried into the rest of the week with expanded education and ministering.  It may become a “movement,” but it does not need it’s own leader or organization outside of the church.  It does need engaged parents and worthy mentors, and it needs the contributions of information from many sources.

Our youth will rise to the expectation of their “mission presidents.”  That would be you, mom and dad.  And let’s all rise to the expectation of those beyond the veil – former prophets, founding fathers, pilgrims, pioneers and all those who fought for liberty and are watching our day, ready to help when the time is right.

Please, please share your comments.


This Statement was given to me by a good and trusted friend.  I have retyped it from the brochure in which it was printed; there is no date on it.

A statement by President David O. McKay
concerning the position of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
on Communism.

In order that there may be no misunderstandings by bishops, stake presidents, and others regarding members of the Church participating in nonchurch meetings to study and become informed on the Constitution of the United States, Communism, etc., I wish to make the following statements that I have been sending out from my office for some time and that have come under question by some stake authorities, bishoprics, and others.

Church members are at perfect liberty to act according to their own consciences in the matter of safeguarding our way of life. They are, of course, encouraged to honor the highest standards of the gospel and to work to preserve their own freedoms. They are free to participate in nonchurch meetings that are held to warn people of the threat of Communism or any other theory or principle that will deprive us of our free agency or individual liberties vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.

The Church, out of respect for the rights of all its members to have their political views and loyalties, must maintain the strictest possible neutrality. We have no intention of trying to interfere with the fullest and freest exercise of the political franchise of our members under and within our Constitution, which the Lord declared he established “by the hands of wise men whom raised up unto this very purpose” (D&C 101:80) and which, as to the principles thereof, the Prophet Joseph Smith, dedicating the Kirtland Temple, prayed should be “established forever.” (D&C 109:54.) The Church does not yield any of its devotion to or convictions about safeguarding the American principles and the establishments of government under federal and state constitutions and the civil rights of men safeguarded by these.

The position of this Church on the subject of Communism has never changed.  We consider it the greatest satanical threat to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work among men that exists on the face of the earth.

In this connection, we are continually being asked to give our opinion concerning various patriotic groups or individuals who are fighting communism and speaking up for freedom.  Our immediate concern, however, is not with parties, groups, or persons, but with principles.  We therefore commend and encourage every person and every group who is sincerely seeking to study Constitutional principles and awaken a sleeping and apathetic people to the alarming conditions that are rapidly advancing about us.  We wish all of our citizens throughout the land were participating in some type of organized self-education in order that they could better appreciate what is happening and know what they can do about it.

Supporting the FBI, the police, the congressional committees investigating Communism, and various organizations that are attempting to awaken the people through educational means is a policy we warmly endorse for all our people.

The entire concept and philosophy of Communism is diametrically opposed to everything for which the Church stands – belief in Deity, belief in the dignity and eternal nature of man, and the application of the gospel to efforts for peace in the world.  Communism is militantly atheistic and is committed to the destruction of faith wherever it may be found.

The Russian Commissar of Education wrote: “We must hate Christians and Christianity.  Even the best of them must be considered our worst enemies.  Christian love is an obstacle to the development of the revolution.  Down with love for one’s neighbor.  What we want is hate.  Only then shall we conquer the universe.”

On the other hand, the gospel teaches the existence of God as our Eternal and Heavenly Fther and declares: “. . . him only shalt thou serve.” (Matt. 4:10.)

Communism debases the individual and makes him the enslaved tool of the state, to which he must look for sustenance and religion.  Communism destroys man’s God-given free agency.

No member of this Church can be true to his faith, nor can any American be loyal to his trust, while lending aid, encouragement, or sympathy to any of these false philosophies; for if he does, they will prove snares to his feet.

The Election is The Lesson: What Do We Learn from The Storm?

November 3, 2012

It could have been worse, but Sandy was horrible. We are left with sadness for the losses, but with hope and faith — the missionaries are there helping and the Lord’s healing has begun. It will be a long recovery.

We are also left with questions: Why did this natural disaster occur at this time? Why in this place? Is Divine Providence involved? If so, what is the purpose?

OMINOUS PATTERNS

In his April 2004 Conference address, “Preparation for the Second Coming,” Elder Dallin Oaks said, “the accelerating pattern of natural disasters in the last few decades is ominous.” Indeed.

The September 2012 issue of National Geographic has an article about Extreme Weather in the United States. The article included a chart of the disasters caused by drought/heat waves, wildfires, floods, hurricanes, tornados, or blizzards and that caused over $1 billion in damages over two 16 year periods in the United States:

  • 1980-1995 46 disasters – total losses $339 billion
  • 1996-2011 87 disasters – total losses $641 billion
  • 2011 had the most $1 billion disasters: 14
  • Hurricane Katrina alone cost $146 billion.

Imagine what the costs will be after Sandy, and imagine the costs if we considered earthquakes and terrorist attacks and drug wars and all the pestilences increasing throughout the world.

DISASTERS AS WARNINGS

Quoting D&C 43:23, 25, Elder Oaks said, “. . . some of these signs are His voice calling His people to repentance.”

Some people blame climate change for weather disasters. New York Mayor Bloomberg, udoubtedly distraught by the horror, took time to formally endorsed Obama for president in hope that he will lead out on climate change, as if a man could decide how to stop what has been prophesied.

The National Geographic considers global warming as a contributing factor. “As the oceans warm, they’re giving off more water vapor. ‘Everybody knows that if you turn up the fire on your stove, you evaporate the water in a pot more rapidly.’”

Everybody needs to know that the true cause of commotion on earth, and the cause of any “global warming,” is sin. “Let the people be holy, and the earth under their feet will be holy.” (Brigham Young. Teachings of Presidents of the Church, p. 333.)

The solution is repentance.

OF WHAT ARE WE TO REPENT?

I’m a New York native, born in 1941 in the Queens borough of New York City. I don’t actually remember the area, but all the names I was hearing reported during the storm were familiar to me. The places where we lived when I was very young are inland enough that the sea did not heave itself beyond its bounds that far, but there was plenty of wind and water and the area was without power.

Atlantic City in New Jersey was a lovely beach resort when I was a child. The ice cream on their cones came wrapped in paper in a cylindrical shape. You pulled the paper off and dropped the ice cream into the cone. Since I only remember the ice cream, I can only imagine the boardwalk, and I see it with young lovers strolling there in turn-of-the century costume. Unfortunately, today Atlantic City is the Gambling Capital of the East Coast.

Only two states have not legalized gambling: Hawaii and Utah.

Wikipedia reports that to deal with hard economic times, in 2010 Governor Chris Christie made the city into a state-run tourism district, over the objections of 43% of the citizens. “The district would include heavier police presence, as well as beautification and infrastructure improvements. The CRDA would oversee all functions of the district and will make changes to attract new businesses and attractions. New construction would be ambitious and may resort to eminent domain.”

I am no expert on eminent domain, but the Constitution is pretty clear that it was never intended for the taking of private property for tax revenue. This is unconstitutional and immoral, and it is being done in Utah too.

So there are two things going on in New Jersey: gambling and the forced redistribution of property. That’s for starters.

What about New York? What evils go on in the United Nations headquartered there? In the stock market? In the major banks? On the Broadway stage? And everywhere else?

There is actually a town named Babylon on Long Island where over 200,000 people live. Those close to the beach were evacuated, and the town was without power as of Friday.

Worse of all, how did most of our 13 original colonies, the cradles of liberty, become “blue,” socialist, big government states? How did those people lose the gift their ancestors fought for? How do the Founding Fathers and the Armies of Heaven feel about this?

While we don’t want to judge the people individually, there is much about these areas that is out of order with the heavens. There is much room for repentance in all states. We might start by cleaning up the earth and planting trees. Trees cool the earth.

PREPARATION FOR DISASTERS

Certainly there is not much anyone can do to prepare for the sudden destruction of their home, but citizens should be prepared as well as they are able and have extra to help their neighbors. Governments should also be prepared.

On video I saw a desperate, hungry woman in a neighborhood of rubble ask the officials on tour, “When is the government coming? Will they bring gas for our generator? Are they bringing food? We’re cold. We are going to die.” She could have been you or me. She had prepared; she had a generator. Her food may have been washed away. She is not going to die; she was walking. But with ineffective disaster preparation and ineffective leadership, help may be slow in coming.

We should be as self reliant as possible. Beyond what we can do, the next step should be the city government. After that, the county. Then the state. And along with this comes the private citizen who wants to help out and the private businesses (Wal-Mart and Home Depot sent trucks to Katrina, as did individual businessmen.) Churches and other non-profits are often the first responders. Our missionaries were already there and went to work immediately, and other Saints will be coming. Our trucks are probably on their way from Salt Lake. Glenn Beck’s charity organization, MercuryOne, has also been there and is sending trucks.

Is there a time for the Federal government to step in? When the disaster covers more than one state? Only in a coordinating role? When there is Federal property involved? I don’t know. Which brings us to FEMA, the federal disaster agency. Until now, I hadn’t given much thought to FEMA.

In a blog article connected to, but necessarily representative of, the Akron Ohio Beacon Journal on Friday, Romney was quoted from a previous CNN interview about the “devastating tornadoes at the time in Joplin, Missouri and elsewhere.” Romney said:

Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.John King countered….”Including disaster relief?” Romney was unmoved….

“We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids,” Romney replied. “It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.”

In a nutshell, that exchange….combined with Mitt’s reprehensible, faux-food collection photo op stunt on Tuesday….tells you all you need to know about how Mr. Romney would lead our nation.

Romney spoke well, but the text does read a bit like a cut-and-past job, possibly because the Beacon article was written by “The Reverend.” He ended with this:

Is there anyone out there who actually believes that disaster relief following Katrina, Irene, tornadoes in Missouri, or Superstorm Sandy would have been “better” if individual states, alone, were responsible for providing relief?

Further, does anyone think that sub-contracting state-led, disaster relief to private, for-profit businesses (assuming they exist) could get the job done more effectively and efficiently than FEMA?”

A friend who makes annual visits to DC tells me that FEMA does contract to private industry and does so on a no-bid basis. He speaks of the “lines of pinstripe suits” with outstretched hands, standing ready — cronyism at its worse. He says none of the rebuilding jobs will go to those in the disaster area. all will go to the president’s union friends. Let’s watch that and see.

SPIRITUAL PREPARATION

President Oaks said, “There are many temporal causes of commotion, including wars and natural disasters, but an even greater cause of current “commotion” is spiritual.”

Spiritual preparation we can all do, and it doesn’t cost anything!

I have known much of fear over the past couple of years in seeing where our government was going, but I am stronger for having been through the process. I’m not alone in believing that we stand in real danger if the election does not bring us a change of leadership, and I’d love to throw the covers over my head; but we were sent for these days. If we want to be spiritually prepared, we have to put in the time. Pray for courage and faith.

SATAN’S DOMINION

In my study of the election over the past months, I have learned that this is truly Satan’s kingdom and he is always busy. The Lord said, “For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.” (D&C 1:35)

Historically, our “perfect” government did not last long; freedom has been eroded away in waves, over two and a half centuries. Every era has its challenges, and prophets have continually warned. It seems that every person must be given the opportunity to make choices about freedom and force in government and about the closeness of his own walk with God.

Every organization of our government, the best government in the world, is crumbling to pieces. Those who have it in their hands are the ones who are destroying it. How long will it be before the words of the prophet Joseph will be fulfilled? He said if the Constitution of the United States were saved at all it must be done by this people. – President Brigham Young, delivered in the New Tabernacle, afternoon, April 8, 1868

I do believe that Tuesday represents our final vote, or at least our most serious one. Freedom, including our freedom to homeschool, may be washed away in one last storm as the costal beaches just were. President Benson once said the Constitution would be saved, but “what remains to be seen is how heavy the chains and how deep the blood.” That is the question on the ballot on Tuesday.

STAYING STRONG

There will be many more disasters in the future; that we know. There may be terrorism and war. In our fears and tribulations, will we fall back to our position of dependence on the big government we are used to? Can we become more self-reliant? Do we want to go through more national disasters with ineffective leadership? Do we want the priesthood in the oval office? Do we want Godly men and women in the Houses of Congress? In our State Legislatures?

How will this storm effect the election? Some say it works in Obama’s favor. Obama has been in the spotlight and Romney is out. Most media, busy protecting the president’s image, will follow him around and ignore the suffering on the coast that might make him look bad.

There is one day of prayer left, and one day of action. Beyond what we can do, the event is in the hands of God. If the Lord wants Mitt Romney in office, He seems to be going about it in a strange way; but then His ways are not our ways. If not, we will keep repenting and keep praying and keep working for liberty in spite of the heaviness of the chains and the deepness of the blood, and we will do so with courage and faith — and we will be expecting miracles. There are many, many good people in the Lord’s army. We know how the story ends.

“And also the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst . . .” (D&C 1:36)

Expect miracles, no matter what.