Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

Stan Ellsworth – American Ride – The Gettysburg Address – Common Core Update – Columbus

September 21-27, 2013
Stan Ellsworth, American Ride, and The Gettysburg Address

I love Stan Ellsworth’s American Ride program on KBYUtv, but I’d never had any indication that anyone else knew about the program, not even the homeschoolers. I was surprised when Stan was announced as the speaker for the September 17 Constitution Day Celebration in Layton, Utah.  Stan is a “biker” and the American Ride episodes I’ve seen were filmed in the East, so I never suspected that KBYU produced the program or that Stan actually lives in Draper, Utah. (He is originally from the South).  A former football player, a coach, a history teacher, and a film maker, Stan is a hero figure to kids, and he is certainly loved by the hundreds of people who let their enthusiasm for him be known last Tuesday night (Sept 17).

Stan had visited a school in Southern Utah that morning.  He taught the students about the Gettysburg Address and challenged them to memorize it for the 150th anniversary of its delivery on November 15. I waited at the end of a very long line after the program to ask the homeschoolers’ question: how did he teach the Gettysburg address?  He reached in his pocket and pulled out a 4×6 card with the Gettysburg Address on one side and the website address www.gettyready.org on the other.

This morning, after being out of town for three days, I was catching up on email, and I found that Utah Policy, which posts daily newspaper headlines, had posted an essay by Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, titled “Honoring the Gettysburg Address.”  What!  Is everybody reading it?  Yes.  Lt. Governor Bell challenged everybody – families, service organizations, teachers, students, and civic leaders – to dig in, and he pointed us to the GettyReady website for resources, saying “The GettyReady challenge is this: Learn it. Understand its deep meaning. Learn to love the essential American republican principles which it so elegantly restates. Teach it to those around you.”

Then I remembered –  Stan had mentioned that the Governor had flown him up from his school presentation in Southern Utah that morning.  Maybe Lt. Gov. Bell had hosted the event and the plane ride.

Next I found this long headline (without caps) from the Deseret News:  Do you know all 272 words of the Gettysburg Address?  Utah students kick off memorization challenge.  Again, the GettyReady website was referenced.  The site was put up by public school entities, lawyers, KBYUtv, and others.  Many resources are given, including American Ride. I don’t know how reliable they all are.  Then a friend reminded me that the schools will be teaching the Progressive version of Lincoln.  Of course!  The Gettysburg Address is part of Common Core curriculum!  I remember seeing David Coleman on a video saying something like, “I just wrote a curriculum for the Gettysburg Address.  It takes at least three days and should take six.”  Then he went on to talk about Martin Luther Kings letter from Birmingham Jail, which he thought should take 10 days.  I’ve never found the curriculum itself, but I did see a video of one of Coleman’s employees teaching teachers how to present the Gettysburg lesson.  She only went over the first lesson of the three, and all she did was talk about the vocabulary.  I kept thinking, “Is this all?  What a waste!”

Note:  This newsletter was originally finished by Saturday night, and all I had to do was reread it in the morning and push the button. — but my computer locked up.  On Monday I went into a “stop the presses” mode and thought I needed to studying more and I needed to find the Gettysburg lesson. So now new paragraphs are mixed in.

I found the Exemplar (lesson plan) for the Common Core Gettysburg Address, to download.  There are some good ideas in it but I did see some problems.  First, I wouldn’t want my children/students to rewrite the address; I would want them to understand it as it is written and come to love the beauty of the words.  Secondly, and most important, I disagree completely with the closing point that there could be debate over whether America’s founding was at the time of the Declaration or the Constitution, and that Gettysburg changed America from “the United States are” to “the United States is.” meaning that the “nation preceded the states, in time and importance…”  or that the federal government trumps the states.  That notion destroys the concept of Federalism, or States’ Rights.  It is completely, totally wrong.

If you read this Exemplar and see anything else that is troublesome, please share your comments.

Because the children in Utah public schools, and probably in other states as well, will be studying this Common Core lesson and being told a fundamental mistruth, I suggest that you go to David Barton’s website, Wallbuilder’s.com, and download the mp3 of “God in the Constitution.”  It will cost just $4.95, and you will see that the two documents are tied together and how the Constitution was grounded in Biblical teachings.  Knowing this will also make next year’s reading of the Old Testament more meaningful.

November 19th marks the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.  Learn it.  Understand it.  Teach it.  In Utah, students will be reciting the Gettysburg Address all over the state, and what will they be learning?  Be prepared to teach truth where you can.  And enjoy Stan Ellsworth’s American Ride episodes on the Civil War on KBYUtv.

Common Core Update:  Disagreement in the Districts  
The  R- 6 A School District in East Newton, Missouri has passed a resolution to stop Common Core, stating that it is “designed to manipulate states and facilitate unconstitutional federal overreach to standardize and control the education of our children for the purposes of workforce planning.”  Can a District opt out?  No. This was just a Resolution; the contractual documents were signed on the state level.  But hooray for the local district anyway!  They are caught in the middle.  Their teachers are unhappy.  The parents are unhappy.  If the students aren’t unhappy yet, they soon will be.  This is where the real turmoil is going to be, and this is not the first local district to speak out.

On the opposite extreme, there was the man near Baltimore who dared to ask a question during the school board Common Core presentation.  He was removed from the room by a security guard, then arrested and charged with 2nd degree assault.  Another citizen happened to video it, and the video went viral.  The Rutherford lawyer said on Glenn Beck’s show that he would love to represent the dad.  I don’t know if the city was listening, but the charges were dropped; however, the city made it known that they “had cause,” a move meant to scare anyone else from speaking out.

I will say that when a frustrated person stands up and talks over people in a meeting, he has to expect something to happen next.  Maybe we need to be careful how we handle such meetings. Maybe there are smarter ways to do these things. Maybe we need to attend in groups, working together. My suggestion would be: 1) record everything on video.  “Think evidence” my lawyer friend says.  2)  Ask that the presenters state the rules of the meeting and the times (how long the presentation will be, how much time will be given to answering questions, what time the building will close, etc.)  Ask beforehand and get the answer in writing if possible.  In Baltimore the man was accused of not following the rules of the meeting.  I’m sure the board laid the rules out beforehand. I’ve been to such meetings and I’ve seen the strategy.  In this care the board made a presentation, took written questions, then played a video, and then answered selected questions. They do get to make the rules; you get to vote them out of office.  3) Sit patiently through their skewed, drawn out presentation.  Record it.  4) Then have someone scan the questions as people turn them in so you will have a record of what was asked.  5) Sit patiently through their video.  Record it if they don’t stop you.  Don’t fight it; it’s probably online anyway.  I assume that in Baltimore they were sorting out the questions while the video was playing.  6) Sit patiently through the answering of the questions. Record everything.  6) Then go home and put it all out on social media — the boring presentation, the questions that weren’t answered, etc.  7) Call another meeting and walk the streets giving people a good piece of literature and inviting them to watch the video of the last meeting and then to come to your group’s meeting. We need to be firm, professional, and kind.  These people are also being threatened by someone above them.

And now, as I was proof reading for a final time, comes one more school district superintendent this one from Idaho  God bless him.

Columbus Day
A man much maligned in public schools is Christopher Columbus.  If you search the Church website you will find quite a few good references to him, enough to assign out some to each family member.  And there is a good book, Christopher Columbus, a Latter-day Saint Perspective, by Church educator Arnold Garr, written from the viewpoint that Columbus “was not just a skilled, courageous sailor but was also a chosen instrument in the hands of God.”  The book is out of print, but it is available on Amazon Kindle and there are several used copies available.  Be sure to investigate the temple endowments that President WIlford Woodruff administered vicariously to many eminent men and women in the St. George temple.  Four men were made high priests:  Washington, Franklin, Wesley, and Columbus.

Happy homeschooling,
Joyce
and now I’m leaving again, for a week, again without internet!

PS  After listening to one of Larry Arnn’s addresses again (I think it was The Founders’ Key), I read Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address and noticed something very interesting.  Dr. Arnn had said that the only way to change government is through elections, which gives us time to think before we act.  He knows Lincoln well.  I read the First Inaugural, and Lincoln said:

By the frame of the Government under which we live this same people have wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief, and have with equal wisdom provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain their virtue and vigilance no Administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can very seriously injure the Government in the short space of four years.
My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject.

That is certainly the intended way, but I think Lincoln also mentioned another way to stop presidential mischief: defunding.  Here is what he said:

Doing this [preserving the Union] I deem to be only a simple duty on my part, and I shall perform it so far as practicable unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite means or in some authoritative manner direct the contrary. I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitutionally defend and maintain itself.

Our U.S. House of Representatives voted to defund Obamacare.  Senator Mike Lee and Representative Ted Cruz led the fight, and they are both really good men who have spent their whole lives, from childhood, studying and loving our Constitution (as did Rand Paul).  Their legislation defunded only Obamacare; all other government funding would have continued. Getting the bill through the Senate was not possible, but at least they didsomething and they got the attention of the American people.  Or at least some of them.  The hours of testimony Senator Cruz gave explaining why Obamacare is bad were not covered by the mainstream news outlets.  Here is a clip from TheBlaze.com that will give you an idea of Senator Cruz’s character.

And if you are confused about what is going on, here is Senator Lee’s explanation.

Will our Union “constitutionally defend and maintain itself”?  Isn’t it the same issue today — the balancing of power between the states and the feds.  Did Lincoln get it right?  Will we?

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

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

Celebrating July’s Holy Holidays

July 24, 2013

 Celebrating July’s Holy Holidays
by Joyce Kinmont
Happy 24th of July
The Fourth of July is always marked by parades, but in Salt Lake City the biggest parade of the year is held on July 24, Pioneer Day.  My favorite parade, by far, was one none of us attended.  It was held on July 24, 1849, two years to the day after the Saints had arrived in Utah.  It was a grand celebration and a parade to commemorate that arrival.
President Packer described it in his October 2008 Conference address, The Test.  He said that in spite of the persecutions the Saints had suffered, and although they were living in exile beyond the borders of the United States, they remained faithful to the Constitution.
It may seem puzzling, incredible almost beyond belief, that for the theme of this first celebration they chose patriotism and loyalty to that same government which had rejected and failed to assist them. What could they have been thinking of?  If you can understand why, you will understand the power of the teachings of Christ.
“If you can understand . . . .”   President Packer used those words several times.   I do understand that our pioneers knew and treasured the Declaration and the Constitution far more deeply than we do.  I believe they better understood the religious significance of those documents.
I think the significance of the young men carrying the documents in the parade rises from their responsibility to protect their families and communities.  The documents should have been their protection in the states, and it was the mobs who violated the principles, not any failure of the documents, that caused their suffering.  The Saints knew the documents were of God and were for all people.
I think the significance of the young women carrying the scriptures arises from their nurturing role and their future motherhood.  President McKay said motherhood is the closest thing to Godhood.  Mothers sacrifice their own bodies to bring others to this second estate.  Mothers nurture the children and provide their first gospel lessons.
As for the “silver grays,” President Packer explained the symbolism:  “These men were a symbol of the priesthood…”  My own realization is that since the men are ordained to the priesthood as “kings and priests” they are responsible to both governing and administer the gospel in their family and community by Holy principles.  The Declaration and the Constitution are Holy documents that contain the principles God gave to ancient prophets.
It disappoints me that we pay so little attention to our founding documents on our Holy July holidays.  Yesterday Glenn Beck had a man named Carlo on his tv program.  Carlo is one of the leaders of a 30,000 member “tea party” in Italy.  He came to America for a month to attend Glenn’s Man in the Moon event and to study how they might implement the principles in our founding documents in his own country.  How he loves our documents.
The 4th of July, Independence Day
The Declaration of Independence was approved in Congress on July 2, but the printed document was dated July 4.  John Adams had already written to Abigail on the 3rd:
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch 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 shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.
For my family this year was truly “a great anniversary festival.”  The celebrations around the 4th were the same as always in our local communities, but there was a great festival in Salt Lake City because Glenn Beck was in town.  On the 5th my husband and I joined his celebration.  We spent Friday at the hotel handing out literature at the Common Core table, bagging books at David Barton’s table, listening to Senator Mike Lee’s speech, and talking to many wonderful people from all over the country.  That evening we attended the Freedomworks event and heard more fantastic speakers.  We were especially moved by Rafeal Cruz, the Cuban immigrant and father of US Senator Ted Cruz.
On Saturday evening thirteen members of our family, including five grandchildren, attended the Man in the Moon program.  We came hours early to stake out our place on the lawn. Yes, we got very wet.  No, we didn’t care.  Yes, we prayed with David Barton, saw the double rainbow, and knew that God was there.  Yes, the program was fantastic and inspiring.  And yes, all 20,000 of us will feel the lasting impact of the Man in the Moon’s message for a long, long time.
Oh, and after the Man in the Moon finished his story there were spectacular fireworks! 
Here’s what the rain and the rainbow looked like before the show.
Here’s a look at the Man in the Moon himself.
If you are fascinated by the flag ceremony you may want to watch this close up footage and this radio discussion about how the flag lowering was done.
If you are a subscriber to TheBlaze.com you probably watched the Behind the Scenes Documentary that aired July 12.  If you’re not a subscriber, you can sign up for a two week free trial.  There is so much good on that station; it is a living curriculum for any family.  Raj, who made the short before-the-show rainbow video, also hosts a wonderful children’s program called Liberty Tree.  For the teens and college students, Wilkow, is a great “civics” teacher who your teens and college students will enjoy.
From Church History
Today I reread The Test, but on the 4th of July I watched both President Packer and President Benson and wrote:
In 1997 the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence was celebrated by our Church with great seriousness.  Ezra Taft Benson, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve, was in charge.  This morning I watched his October 1976 Conference Address, Our Priceless Heritage, which he gave at the end of the bicentennial celebration.  (I think he really wanted to call his remarks “America on Her Knees.”) He paid tribute to the Declaration and to the brave, inspired men who risked their lives to write and sign it:
The Declaration of Independence was to set forth the moral justification of a rebellion against a long-recognized political tradition—the divine right of kings. At issue was the fundamental question of whether men’s rights were God-given or whether these rights were to be dispensed by governments to their subjects. This document proclaimed that all men have certain inalienable rights. In other words, these rights came from God. Therefore, the colonists were not rebels against political authority, but a free people only exercising their rights before an offending, usurping power. They were thus morally justified to do what they did.
President Benson also paid tribute to pioneers and quoted President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. from his remarks on July 24, 1947 when he dedicated the This Is the Place Monument, at the mouth of Emigration Canyon where that first company of Saints stopped to survey the valley below.  President Clark asked:
 “Can we keep and preserve what they [those valiant patriots and pioneers] wrought? Shall we pass on to our children the heritage they left us, or shall we lightly fritter it away? Have we their faith, their bravery, their courage; could we endure their hardships and suffering, make their sacrifices, bear up under their trials, their sorrows, their tragedies, believe the simple things they knew were true, have the simple faith that worked miracles for them, follow, and not falter or fall by the wayside, where our leaders advance, face the slander and the scorn of an unpopular belief? Can we do the thousands of little and big things that made them the heroic builders of a great Church, a great commonwealth?”
We can and we must do at least a few little and big things.
I’ll be sending that article out very soon.  Today I just wanted to note these sacred and Holy days.

Common Core: Our Destruction or Our Opportunity Part 2a: About Common Core by Joyce Kinmont

This article is long.  It has taken me weeks of study and rewriting and trying to simplify.  Every time I think I’m done, there is something new. I’ve discovered that others have had the same frustrations.  This has not been a pleasant experience.

Learning about Common Core may not be a pleasant experience for you either.  It may overwhelm you.  It may scare or depress you.  But it is real and it will affect us all during the next school year, if it hasn’t already.  Please hold on to your faith; all is not lost yet.  As big and as ugly as Common Core is, there is also a growing movement for innovation and freedom in education.  Life has always had its opposites, and at times like this the clash between the two can be intense.  At this point we are in a fight to the death — the death of liberty, of family, of our future as a country is at stake.  Interestingly, Education may be the issue that wakes us all up. Education may also be the weapon that stops Common Core, so let’s get educated and start educating.  As my lawyer friend always says, “know your enemy.”


Common Core is an educational system that completely nationalizes education in America.  It is an unconstitutional and illegal takeover orchestrated by the federal government, political activists, and private interests.  It moves all significant oversight and decision making from parents, teachers, and local districts to the national level and the private sector.  It’s goal is to connect education to the workforce in a “seamless web, cradle to grave.”  Common Core is about indoctrination and control.

Except for its name, Common Core is not new; it’s basically the same plan that was nearly introduced when President Clinton was elected to the White House in 1992.  Let’s look at that plan first so we can better understand the new version.

“DEAR HILLARY”

On November 11, 1992, a week after the election, progressive education reformer Marc Tucker sent an 18 page congratulatory letter to Hillary in which he detailed a strategy by which the new president could “move like lightening” in a national takeover of the schools and the workforce.  This plan would have made the Clintons dictators.

By some miracle, the “Dear Hillary” letter was leaked, and in 1998 it was entered into the Congressional Record by Congressman Bob Schaffer who considered the plan treasonous.  The letter gives us a candid view of the true intentions of Mr. Tucker and his conspiring friends.  It is not an editorial or an article; it is a “confidential” communication of an excited man who believes he can be part of a new America.

The Clintons did not accomplish all of the dreams outlined in the letter, but they did move the agenda forward incrementally.  You can read the full letter on Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum website, and I encourage you to do so and keep it handy as you learn about Common Core and watch its implementation over the next year.  (The Eagle Forum website is a good source of information about political and educational issues, including Common Core.)

Here are parts of the Tucker letter:

Dear Hillary,
I still cannot believe you won. But utter delight that you did pervades all the circles in which I move. I met last Wednesday in David Rockefeller’s office with him [and three others]. It was a great celebration. Both John and David R. were more expansive than I have ever seen them — literally radiating happiness….

The subject we were discussing was what you and Bill should do now about education, training and labor market policy. Following that meeting, I chaired another in Washington on the same topic [15 invited].

Our purpose in these meetings was to propose concrete actions that the Clinton administration could take — between now and the inauguration, in the first 100 days and beyond. The result, from where I sit, was really exciting. We took a very large leap forward in terms of how to advance the agenda on which you and we have all been working — a practical plan for putting all the major components of the system in place within four years, by the time Bill has to run again. . . .

We think the great opportunity you have is to remold the entire American system for human resources development, almost all of the current components of which were put in place before World War II. . . .

First, a vision of the kind of national — not federal — human resources development system the nation could have. This is interwoven with a new approach to governing that should inform that vision. What is essential is that we create a seamless web of opportunities, to develop one’s skills that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone — young and old, poor and rich, worker and full-time student….

Second, a proposed legislative agenda you can use to implement this vision. We propose four high priority packages that will enable you to move quickly on the campaign promises:

…. an apprenticeship system as the keystone of a strategy for putting a whole new postsecondary training in place….

…. a rebuilt employment service and a new system of labor market boards to offer the Clinton administration’s employment security program, built on the best practices anywhere in the world. . . . assuring adult workers . . . that they need never again watch with dismay as their jobs disappear….

… a special program to greatly raise the work-related skills of the people trapped in the core of our great cities.

…. advance the elementary and secondary reform agenda.

The other major proposal we offer has to do with government organization for the human resources agenda.  While we share your reservations about the hazards involved in bringing reorganization proposals to the Congress, we believe that the one we have come up with minimizes those drawbacks while creating an opportunity for the new administration to move like lightning to implement its human resources development proposals.  We hope you can consider the merits of this idea quickly, because . . . it will greatly affect the nature of the offers you make to prospective cabinet members….

We take the proposals Bill put before the country in the campaign to be utterly consistent …. for a new human resources development system for the United States….

…. A seamless system of unending skill development that begins in the home with the very young and continues through school, postsecondary education and the workplace.

…. Clear national standards of performance in general education….

…. curriculum, pedagogy, examinations, and teacher education and licensure systems are all linked to the national standards …

…. a system that rewards students who meet the national standards with further education and good jobs, providing them a strong incentive to work hard in school….

The proposal reframes the Clinton apprenticeship proposal as a college program and establishes a mechanism for setting the standards for the program. The unions are adamantly opposed to broad based apprenticeship programs by that name. Focus groups conducted by JFF and others show that parents everywhere want their kids to go to college, not to be shunted aside into a non-college apprenticeship “vocational” program. By requiring these programs to be a combination of classroom instruction and structured OJT, and creating a standard-setting board that includes employers and labor, all the objectives of the apprenticeship idea are achieved, while at the same time assuring much broader support for the idea, as well as a guarantee that the program will not become too narrowly focused on particular occupations. It also ties the Clinton apprenticeship idea to the Clinton college funding proposal in a seamless web….

…. The question is how to get from where we are to where we want to be. Trying to ram it down everyone’s throat would engender overwhelming opposition. Our idea is to draft legislation that would offer an opportunity for those states — and selected large cities — that are excited about this set of ideas to come forward and join with each other and with the federal government in an alliance to do the necessary design work and actually deliver the needed services on a fast track. The legislation would require the executive branch to establish a competitive grant program for these states and cities and to engage a group of organizations to offer technical assistance to the expanding set of states and cities engaged in designing and implementing the new system. . . . As soon as the first set of states is engaged, another set would be invited to participate, until most or all the states are involved….

In spite of his Marxist, redistribute-the-wealth, despotic plan, I could feel Mr. Tucker’s smiles.  He really believes he is doing something good for people.  He thinks Lucifer’s plan really works!

Reading this letter now had a much greater impact on me than reading it in the 90’s.  It was far removed from my reality then; but now, after watching hours of video on Common Core, reading many articles and websites, and attending several of the public meetings, I find the Tucker letter helps me understand the reality of what’s happening today.

COMMON CORE
Two decades after “Dear Hillary” we have Common Core, a new name for the same program.  Where the Tucker agenda had “advance the elementary and secondary reform agenda” as the fourth step, Common Core has the educational components as the first focus while the workforce part rests quietly within — for now.  That part will come later, “like lightening.”   And this time the program is lavishly financed by $4 billion of stimulus money controlled by Arne Duncan, head of the federal Department of Education, and by grants from billionaire businessman, Bill Gates.

State/National Standards
Common Core has four parts.  The first is the much touted writing of new standards to define what skills and concepts students should learn in each grade.  “Clear national standards of performance in general education,” Tucker had called them.  In Common Core proponents insist on calling them State Standards.  In Utah the state proponents insist on calling them the Utah Standards.  When 46 states join together and write a single set of standards which all 46 states voluntarily agree to follow, how can they be anything but National?

Since it is illegal for the federal government to develop curriculum, a bait-and-switch game was devised in which a consortium was set up for teachers and educational experts to write standards “for their own states.”  Mr. Gates wined and dined them and, magically, they ended up with one set of standards upon which they all agreed – except for a couple of the experts who refused to sign off on the them because they were so poorly done.  So, to repeat myself, 46 states produced one unchangeable, copywrited set of standards which all 46 states voluntarily agree to use — thereby agreeing to be managed, controlled, measured, graded, and fined or rewarded by the federal government on the basis of the state, school, and teacher performances.  How can that not be the nationalization of education?

Governors “developed” the Common Core Standards in their own NGA (National Governor’s Assn.).  Why?

The State Superintendents “developed” for Common Core Standards in their CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers).  Why?

Bill Gates donated millions of dollars to make it all happen.  Why?

No state legislatures debated the new standards or the total concept of Common Core.  Why?

The citizens knew nothing about Common Core or the new standards.  Why?

The media seldom covers any of the anti-Common Core concerns.  Why?

Who actually developed the new standards? Did Marc Tucker and friends have it prepared already?

The Standards don’t really reveal the full program.  The website says “Building on the excellent foundation of standards states have laid, the Common Core State Standards are the first step in providing our young people with a high-quality education.”  If we can’t trust the first sentence, how can we trust anything?

Did the $4 billion in stimulus money being offered to the states have anything to do with getting governors and state superintendents to sign up for this program?

The complete restructuring of our school system and our workforce into a federally controlled, Marxist leaning, cradle-to-grave system should have been transparently presented and nationally debated.  Actually, it should never have been considered.

Curriculum
After the Standards come the curriculum and the testing.  Bill Gates made it clear at a National Conference of State Legislatures in 2009 that the national standards drive both the curriculum and the testing.  How many legislators heard this?

To begin with in Common Core, the curriculum includes only Math and ELA (English Language Arts).  Only portions of the curriculum have been available so far, and none of the testing. The school board, at least in Utah, tells us over and over that teachers are free to determine their own curriculum. Truth is, they may use their own for up to 15% of the content, but most likely that 15% will be more trouble than it is worth for teachers under pressure to teach to the test.

Did you notice that Gates also said (in the video above) that “for the first time” there would be a “powerful market . . . a large uniform base of customers”?  In other words, some private businessmen will make a lot of money on curriculum.  Who might that be?  Recently Gates partnered with Pearson, the largest curriculum provider in the country. Surprise!

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NOTE:  If any Utah legislators missed the early warning signs in 2009, they did have questions later, probably going into their January-February 2011 session.  The State answered those questions with more of the same lies.  A few knew something was wrong from the beginning; more are waking up now, and a few will remain faithful to Common Core to the end.  After I watched the Bill Gates video above again I noticed there were six other parts of it,. I linked from one of those pages to the Gates Foundation video page where I found clips of the first teacher consortium meeting.  It is obvious that Wisconsin did not call Kentucky and say Let’s get together and design some better standards.  Someone conceived this plan, invited the participants, set the agenda, and chose the presenters.  I had begun to wonder if Gates and Duncan were also pulling a bait-and-switch on curriculum — a sham within a sham.  Their talk about curriculum has many good points, but self-motivated, created, thinking students is not what progressives really want.  Are the teachers being massively deceived?

Didn’t anyone who was promoting Common Core see the truth and feel some remorse?  Superintendent Larry Shumway resigned after only three years.  Is he still a supporter?  Does he feel remorse now?  I came across an isolated Facebook page of pictures from his retirement party in December 2012.  A teacher posted a comment there, the only comment made.  First she wrote: “Good Bye to the man who sold our children’s educational freedom to the federal government! I hope he enjoys his 30 pieces of silver!”  That seemed harsh, but I had already written something similar.  And it is true.  Then a few minutes later she added. “This is what a teacher who use to support Common Core now says about it! parents you should be very worried! First, I want to offer you my apologies. It wasn’t long after my presentation that I had a crushing realization that the entire thing (minus the hands-on stuff) was completely misguided. I felt like a flip-flopper, but I’ve always valued the truth more than feeling good. So, I’m here to clear the air. The truth hurts and it should start scaring the hell out of you, because your children are your most precious gift and you will do anything to protect them. The whole reason I was part of the team that put those presentations together was to ease your worry about the changes that were coming. I’m here to retract everything I said. You should be worried. Very worried! I was wrong. The Common Core State Standards is a sham, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is an instrument of devastation… …Now, the Common Core State Standards has one goal: to create common people. The accompanying standardized tests have one purpose: to create standardized people. Why? Because the movers and the shakers have a vested interest in it. It’s about money and it’s about making sure all that money stays in one place. Lots of good people have faced scorn and ridicule for taking a stand against Common Core, and I admire them all, but this was the first time I had seen someone with the courage to change her mind after being a promoter.  I was amazed.

I had also noticed her mention of the hands-on stuff.  I had just watched a classroom teacher doing math with about a dozen second graders, teaching the children to add from left to right which is standard to Common Core.  The problem is that when a column adds up to more than 9 there will be an amount carried over to the next left column.  If you have already added that column, you will have to add it again.  That is why we add from right to left.  This teacher was trying to get the children to think of different ways to solve the problem, also standard Common Core.  After her demonstration the children were to go back to their desks and do a problem on their own.  She reminded them that they must draw pictures and also use words to describe how they worked the problem.  I remember a mother somewhere saying her child worked the problem, got the correct answer, then wrote how she did it — but she didn’t write the correct words in her explanation, so she failed.  So much for independent thinking.  Now picture yourself sitting with a first grader in your home with blocks or chips or cookies, and a paper and pencil.  The problems would have all been done in ten minutes and you would have known exactly what your child was thinking and when he understood. I assume this video was a good example or it wouldn’t have been posted, and I conclude that moms should never be intimidated by classroom schools. The teacher was doing her best, but nothing is as effective as a mother and a child working together.

Now back to where we were in Common Core curriculum.
__________________________

Common Core ELA texts for elementary schools were recently sent to Utah for approval. Here is a sample of some of the political indoctrination.  Near the end of this video is a link to an excellent interview with a Clinical Mental Health Therapist who tells us why these books are harmful to children.  You will see the link on the screen or you can link here. (The therapist, Joan Landes, gives some very good, probably unintended, reasons for homeschooling.)

The new math curriculum has been used in some jr high and high school classrooms this year, and it has been a colossal failure, revealing incompetence and a hidden political agenda.  Parents who have helped older children with their math assignments for years are angry that they cannot help anymore because the assignments no longer make sense.  Mothers get tearful about their previously A students who are now failing in math.  Some students are frustrated because they had earned the right to be in an advanced math class but were instead given the new, lesser curriculum.  Many students are upset because they wasted this whole year getting nothing useful from their math class.  There were no year-end test because the tests aren’t written yet! So no none knows if this social justice math program succeeded.  Oh, yes, Mr. Gates, who is also very personable and had done much good with his billions, did tell us we wouldn’t know until the curriculum and the tests were written.

Teachers are complaining too, in private.  Many have posted on a blog, www.UtahnsAgainstCommonCore.com hosted by a Utah dad, Oak Norton.

In Texas, a state whose governor did not sign on to Common Core, the CSOPE curriculum was snuck into a large number of the schools.  The curriculum was all on-line and the teachers were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements — they were not allowed to tell parents anything!  The unAmerican curriculum was leaked, however, and David Barton, bless him, got right on it.  He found that the state standards had actually been changed.  He brought samples to Glenn Beck and a Blaze TV show was devoted to it.  Most of the CSOPE heroes were progressives or communists.  Marxism was promoted over capitalism, and globalism was promoted.  Two Texas teachers who were also on the program said the curriculum was scripted and monitors came into the classrooms holding clipboards to see that the scripts were being followed.  A legislative hearing was held and corrections were made.  CSOPE was sanctioned for dishonesty and has now been banned from the state.  You can watch the whole program here. http://youtu.be/DkMNnVk2DtA

Actually, as I’ve read around online, it seems CSCOPE has been heavily involved in subversive teachings in Texas for a long time.  Governor Perry, who saved his state from unfunded federal obligations and horrible, expensive curriculum and testing, needs to watch more closely what’s going on in the schools in his state.  So do we all.

CSCOPE, I understand, is the brainchild of Linda Darling-Hammond.  Here is a long video of her.  When you first watch her she seems like a nice lady.  What’s the problem?  But soon she complains about how the schools have been teaching “a mile wide and an inch deep.” I’ve heard teachers and administrators say that quite a bit lately, and I believe it is coming down from her.  I have two problems with the comment.  First, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with going “a mile wide and an inch dep.”  The instruction period lasts for a set amount of time.  The curriculum must either go “a mile wide and an inch deep” or “a mile deep and an inch wide” or someplace in between, depending on the circumstances.  Second, if “a mile wide and an inch deep” was such a horrid thing, then all teachers, experts, and administrators who promoted it should resign immediately.

Deep into this presentation Ms. Hammond begins to discuss the math. I’m sure she was promoting this before they called the teachers together to come up with the idea on their own, as their state’s personal new standard.  I didn’t finish the video but I want to watch it again with a student who has been through the class.

Then I watched this very enlightening YouTube video from three very smart Utah moms. Christel, Alisa, and Renee who host the What Is Common Core blog. On a YouTube video Renee talked about math with a teacher who started out trying to repeat Linda Darling-Hammond. It was nice to pause for a moment of laugher.  At the end of the conversation Renee and Alisa talked about careers.  If you have read the Tucker letter, you’ll understand.

Then I found this video. Linda Darling-Hammond again, sounding great.  Watch and see if what’s she’s selling us is what will be delivered.  Actually, what she’s selling is closer to what homeschoolers do.

If you watched the documentary Monumental you know the pattern God gave America.  The people bringing us Common Core have a different pattern of government in mind, and that’s what Common Core is really all about. The kind of teaching we are, or should be doing, is what the Church is presenting — active learning, led by the Holy Ghost.  What Common Core is presenting is the opposite of everything Christ wants for our families.  If nothing else, Common Core is proving that homeschoolers should never feel intimidated by the professionals.  We reject Common Core in favor of Common Sense.
________________

I’m going to stop here for now and call this Part 2a, and will finish the parts about testing and data collection as soon as possible. I’ve been questioning how good people, like superintendents and school board members and administrators on state and local levels, have gotten themselves tied into this and the personal battles that must be going on, and I’ve found some answers.  I’m also anxious to get to the part about what might happen as more people get informed and as the next school year begins, and I also think there are things LDS families can do. We will have to strengthen integrity, faith, and courage. 

And please share your comments!

Common Core: Our Destruction or Our Opportunity, Part 1: America

May 4, 2013

COMMON CORE: OUR DESTRUCTION OR OUR OPPORTUNITY
From a Latter-day Saint Perspective
Part 1: America
by Joyce Kinmont

America was formed as a Christian country. All religions were welcome and free to practice their religion, but America was Christian. She was not to be an Anglican country or a Catholic country or a Buddhist country, but a Bible-based Christian country. Our Founders were clear about this — the most quoted source in their writings is the Bible. Their message is permanently preserved in our founding documents and in the architecture of our early American buildings and monuments: The national Capitol building itself is replete with messages; the Ten Commandments are chiseled on the Supreme Court building; scriptures are engraved on our monuments to Washington and Lincoln and others. And the entire pattern for a Christian life is revealed in a little known but very large monument in Plymouth. I wonder if it was hidden there for our day.

American education was always about Christianity. Harvard, our first university (1636), expected nothing less than Christian scholarship: “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus which is eternal life, John. 17:3, and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. . . . Everyone shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day that he shall be ready to give such and account of his proficiency therein.”

Yale (1701/1718) proclaimed itself a college “for the liberal and religious education of suitable youth” and required: “Seeing God is the giver of all wisdom, every scholar, besides private or secret prayer . . . shall be present morning and evening at public prayer.”

And Princeton (1746) said succinctly: “Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.”

Of the first 106 American universities, 103 were founded by ministers. (see David Barton, Education and the Founding Fathers, Wallbuilders)

For children in early America education and religion were synonymous. So, also, was it in Christ’s childhood. Our Bible Dictionary tells us, under Education: “The ‘religious question’ could not exist in Jewish education any more than in Church schools today, for the whole purpose of education was religious. Nothing was regarded as worth learning except as it illustrated scripture.” So also, was it in early Utah where all churches had their own schools. Even after tax-supported schools came as a condition of statehood in Utah, Bible reading and a Christian feeling continued for some time.

Early Americans recognized that everything oppressive that had happened in the Old World happened because people did not have access to the Bible, and that everything changed once the could read the scriptures for themselves. The first school law in America, passed in 1642, was called “Ye Old Deluder Satan Act.” “It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the scriptures, as in former time . . .”  We could say that education to enable citizens to read scripture was the primary national security plan.

In the 1770’s America was forced by the mother country’s abuse of power to stand and declare her right to liberty through the Declaration of Independence (which was also a declaration of their dependence on God). Then American citizens fought for the rights of free men, rights established and ordained by God. Shortly after the War for Independence was won, Americans recognized the need for a charter or constitution to establish and declare the role of government.

In 1787 a Constitutional Convention was called in Philadelphia. (Heaven help us if we try to do that now!) Deliberations began on May 25 and ended with the signing of the new Constitution on September 17 (a day few pause to remember). The First Congress of the United States of America was seated on March 4, 1789, and on April 30 (another sacred day) George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States. As he held his hand on the Bible and kissed it, some people believe that he, like Moses him and Lincoln after him, made a covenant with God that so long as the people would served God, God would protect and bless the land. (see Timothy Ballard, America’s Sacred Covenant)

What a celebration these formative years on earth must have cause beyond the veil! Where were we? Were we watching President Washington from somewhere, gathered around Moroni, waiting for what we knew was soon to come? Thirty one years later all was ready, and Moroni stepped into a humble home in America to begin teaching young Joseph Smith. Did we shout for joy, and our children with us?

In the December 2012 Ensign Elder Perry wrote:

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is truly a worldwide Church. Nevertheless, it is important to realize that the Church could never have become what it is today without the birth of a great nation, the United States of America. The Lord prepared a new land to attract the peoples of the world who sought liberty and religious freedom. This new land was blessed with strong leaders who felt duty bound to establish a government that allowed individuals to worship according to their own conscience.

“The Founding Fathers of the United States believed that religious faith was fundamental to the establishment of strong government. Many people in the world, however, have forgotten the central importance of religious beliefs in the formation of the policies, laws, and rules of government. Many Americans, for example, do not understand that the founders believed the role of religion would be as important in our day as it was in their day. The founders did not consider religion and morality an intellectual exercise—they forcefully declared it an essential ingredient of good government and the happiness of humankind. . . .

“The United States is the promised land foretold in the Book of Mormon—a place where divine guidance directed inspired men to create the conditions necessary for the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was the birth of the United States of America that ushered out the Great Apostasy, when the earth was darkened by the absence of prophets and revealed light. It was no coincidence that the lovely morning of the First Vision occurred just a few decades after the establishment of the United States.”

Everything . . . absolutely everything of value to us and to our Savior was riding on the United States and the guarantee of religious liberty. We whose scriptures recognize the Constitution as a sacred doctrine are particular stewards of religious liberty. How important would it be, then, that the true story of liberty be passed down from parent to child through all generations? How significant, how costly would be the loss of that knowledge to our posterity? And how would that loss multiply over the years?

Sadly, we all know that America is in trouble. We feel it in our hearts. Does it not seem obvious that what brought us to the edge of the precipice on which we now stand — and over which we may soon tumble — is the cessation of the teaching of true Americanism in America’s families and schools — and the opportunity that gave Satan to fill the void?

Enough generations have gone untaught that there are few people today who know the founders’ story or the critical importance of religion or the proper role of government well enough to effectively teach the upcoming generations or repair our government.

Elder Perry said, “As I read and watch the news each day, I am shocked at the difficulties we are creating for ourselves. As times and conditions change and become more complex, there seem to be fewer and fewer individuals capable of shouldering the responsibilities of leading positive change.” His sentiments were originally given in a Jan 2012 Devotional at BYUI, so I assume he wrote them in late 2011. Is he watching better news stories today?

Yet, it may just be that the flame of liberty is being kindled again. Maybe we need adversity to fan the fire. Would the Revolutionary War ever have happened if the King of England had not violated the principle of citizen representation? From that attempt at unrighteous control came “the times that try men’s souls,” the travail which birthed a free nation with a sacred Constitution meant for the blessing of all men (see D&C 101:76-80).

President Benson sometimes spoke of America as “the Lord’s base of operations.” He used that expression in the early 70’s when he dedicated a chapel in Pleasant Grove UT and said, “The first rule of warfare is to protect your base of operations.” American Latter-day Saints have a particular responsibility to know and protect the Constitution and the Lord’s gospel base.

The enemy of God and Liberty and Agency is Lucifer, himself, and he is a clever devil. Surely he didn’t simply show up for that one grand council in pre-mortality with a brilliant new plan; surely our struggle with him had been going on for some time. That last battle in pre-mortality over whether there would be agency on this earth is a battle we won! President Benson would tell us to continue to fight – and we will win again!

But what does winning mean? Does it means we are to reclaim a religious education for our children? Does it mean we have to become different kinds of learners and teachers? Does it mean recognizing the damage done to our children and our country by God-less education? Does it mean finding ways of healing that damage and reclaiming the wounded? Does it mean taking responsibility for our children’s upbringing, becoming less dependent on government and more dependent upon God? Does it mean we must be willing to pay whatever price is extracted of us?

Our precious gifts from God — religious liberty, traditional marriage, parental authority, private property, the right to bear arms, and so much more — are all vital to our survival as a free and religious people. In this paper we are particularly concerned with just one issue, the unconstitutional nationalization of education and the absolute control over curriculum, testing, teachers, students, and family by the elements of Common Core. That is what we will discuss in Part 2, coming soon.

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For family study and discussion:

1. Please learn about the Matrix of Liberty monument which sets out the pattern for a Christian life. It is amazing. Search on line to rent, download, or purchase the documentary Monumental: The Search for America’s Greatest Treasure. The documentary begins with the story of the Pilgrims as I’ve never heard it taught before, which will cause us to search the depth of our faith and courage. Then the movie explains the story the monument tells. From it we see God’s plan for us.
Here’s a blog my daughter found about the monument although it doesn’t talk about the meaning of it. For that, you need to watch Monumental. Please!

2. Then you might want to watch two episodes of The Joseph Smith Papers on BYUTV: Joseph Smith The Statesman and Joseph Smith for President. And if you want to keep going, watch Land, Joseph, & “Justice” in Missouri, The Pure Religion of Joseph Smith, and others — Legal issues are hidden here and there.

3. Search the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants for the principles and lessons on education and government.

4. Introduce your family to history teacher Stan Ellsworth of American Ride, on byutv.org. Stan rides his motorcycle to historic sites; he is a great storyteller.

5. Visit the LatterDayConservative.org website, under Articles, where you will find much good information from prophets. This is not a church website so I can’t necessarily endorse everything on it. The three below are probably also on lds.org; I just happened to find them on this site and thought they would be a good start for family study:
The Constitution, A Heavenly Banner by President Ezra Taft Benson
The Divinely Inspired Constitution by Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Joseph Smith: Campaign for President of the United States an Ensign article by Arnold K. Garr, Feb 2009, 48–52.

6. If you want to know more about Joseph Smith’s candidacy, here are some articles from the BYU website.

Which Presidents’ Day?

February 16, 2013

Abraham Lincoln and George Washington’s of course!

We used to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday on February 12 and Washington’s on February 22. In my childhood, way long ago, decorations were in every home and elementary schoolroom. The “5-and-10 cent” stores, affectionately called the “5 and 10”, had a nice variety of knickknacks and flags and pictures. Silhouettes were popular. The holiday was important to Americans. 

There was no question then that Washington and Lincoln were our greatest presidents. I knew their faces well from my childhood, but until recently I never knew about the covenants they made with God.

I learned this from Timothy Ballard, who teaches that both of these men understood that America was a Promised Land.  Both understood the covenants made between God and ancient Israel.  Both made covenants with God.

Abraham Lincoln:  You can read Tim Ballard’s fascinating article, “Joseph Smith, Abraham Lincoln, and the Call for Repentance” in Meridian Magazine.  You will learn of the religious struggle Lincoln had and the covenant he made that led to the call for emancipation.  It’s an inspiring and amazing article!

George Washington: You can purchase the video of Tim Ballard’s presentation “The Covenant” about Washington’s miraculous experiences and his walk with God.  The presentation was given at Glenn Beck’s Restoring Love event.  I wasn’t there, but I love, love, love this video. 

Order the video this week:  Tim’s publisher has agreed to give us a special price of $10 for the video (regular price $17.76) just for the coming week. I am not making any money on this and neither is the publisher; we just want to make this year a special celebration for two former Presidents whose stories need to be told. 

We will do this special “group buy” offer through PayPal.  Just send me an email at joyce@ldshea.org by Saturday, Feb 23, at noon.   Tell me how many copies you want and I will send you a bill which you can pay on your credit card.  A PayPal account is not necessary.  Postage will be $3.95 (unless you want more than two copies), and there is tax if you live in Utah.  I will do the work — I’ll go into Salt Lake on Monday the 24th to pick the videos up, and I’ll have them in the mail in padded envelopes that day or the next.  Obviously you’ll have to celebrate Washington’s birthday a bit late, but I promise it will be worth it.  (I have two copies of the video, one for myself and one that I am passing around the neighborhood.  I’m also having a family party on Feb 22, projecting the video on the wall, and serving cherry cake.)

Tim Ballard has researched and written two wonderful books, one about Washington and the newest one about Lincoln.  If this group buy is successful, I will ask if we can do one for the books in March or April.

Remember, the Lincoln article is free, and the Washington video is only $10 until noon on Saturday.  Send your order and address by Saturday at noon to joyce@ldshea.org.  (I’ll buy envelopes Saturday afternoon and get them addressed.)

Was the founding of the United States of America a fulfillment of biblical prophecy?  Did George Washington defeat the greatest military power of his day by making a covenant with God? Was the Civil War a holy war?

Timothy Ballard has brought together a narrative of America that has never been told before. He has searched the depth and breadth of American history, revealing for sure about America what some Americans already knew, and many hoped to be true…. that God is the author of this nation.

Have a wonderful, extended Presidents’ Day,

Joyce

Videos that Make Me Smile

February 9, 2013

VIDEOS THAT MAKE ME SMILE

If you have read our previous article you know that BYUI is the Church university in which innovative learning methods have been developed and implemented. This began when Elder Bednar was the President there and continues today.  It would seem that the new church-wide program of active learning that has been given to 12-18 year old youth this year is part of the same movement in the Church.  Don’t we want to incorporate these principles into the teaching in our homes?

BYUI’s teaching method is called the “Learning Model.”  The off-campus, Institute-managed college program is called “Pathway.” There are also interactive on-line courses. Following is one of many short videos on the Learning Model. It doesn’t give any details, but it shows the spirit of the program and how it affects the students. There are many more like it on the BYUI website.

VIdeo #1: BYU-Idaho: The Learning Model 1:55

I recently came across some video snippets from a roundtable discussion entitled “A Look Into the Future.” I was ecstatic! The moderator of the panel is University President Kim Clark. The lady sitting next to him is Betty and I love her! The man to his left looks a lot like President Eyring, for a good reason. His name is Henry, and he co-authored the book The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out with Clayton Christensen, about whom I have written before.

Here are two video clipss from the roundtable:

Video #2: BYU-Idaho: Online Learning 11:45

When I heard Brother Eyring’s comment “they come up through the high schools,” I thought, “Not all of them!  We can send them students who haven’t sat in rows of desks.”  It seemed we were one step closer to connecting with the Lord’s program.  I couldn’t stop smiling!  Maybe we can even encourage our teens to upgrade their use of social media toward, as President Clark put it, “talking about important things in inspired ways.” Certainly we can incorporate “teach each other” methods into our homeschool programs. 

In the next video from the roundtable you’ll see why I love Betty.

Video #3: BYU-Idaho: Pathway Program 5:46

Retention?  Can you see a stronger church emerging?  Do you feel, as I do, that if our youth really catch the vision of active learning through the Holy Ghost, they not be willing to tolerate acted-upon classrooms. Will BYUI be ready with alternatives?  Please hurry, Betty!  She left me ginning from ear to ear, and I’m still smiling.

And finally, lest anyone fear there is too much Harvard in this work, here is a clip from a press conference a few years ago.

Video #4: Henry B. Eyring: “Forget Harvard and Stanford. We’re in another kind of thing here.” 5:25

How inspired are our leaders! How exciting is the Lord’s work in our day! I may never stop smiling!

more videos on BYUI YouTube page

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.