Tag Archives: Bednar

Elder Bednar Leads the Way to Restoring Education!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Learning in the Lord’s Way: At the Start of a New Year

February 9, 2013

LEARNING IN THE LORD’S WAY:  At the Start of a New Year . . .

A new year has begun. The number itself – 2013 – feels unlucky. No surprise in a superstitious culture that builds hotels without 13th floors (a feat magically accomplished by numbering the floor above the 12th as 14 and pretending it is so).

In the Kingdom of God, 2013 is already a good year. It is the Year of the Youth. For a decade or more we have been watching our youth falling away in droves – not just in our church but in all churches. We were warned years ago that what we were then doing in our homes would not be sufficient. We tried, and some tried very hard, but the enemy got above us. This is the year things change as our youth “become converted to the gospel through learning and teaching in the Savior’s way.” This is the year they learn to exercise faith and do the hard mental work of being hungry, active, self-directed learners. This is the year the gospel moves from their heads to their hearts. This is the year they become mission oriented and step forward as an army of righteousness.

Of course these changes will require good training in the wards and stakes as well as teachers who are willing to change old thinking and old methods for new, inspired approaches. And of course there will be wonderful successes in some places and less success in others. Homeschoolers have an opportunity and a responsibility here. We have already experimented with force and freedom methods of learning. We already know how to do hard things, be self-directed, think outside the box, take risks, fail and try again; and we already know the pure joy of being in the presence of a child when the light of new learning fills his mind.

If you have a calling to work in the youth program, bless you! If not, remember in your prayers the of adults who have only known “acted upon” methods and now have to change their thinking.  Those of us who are blessed to attend Sunday School and Relief Society or Priesthood meetings can support the teachers as they learn to become facilitators. We do this by studying the lesson ahead, pondering the questions, bringing our manuals to class, and being prepared to help the Holy Ghost be the teacher.

The new program will invite positive changes in our church and family cultures. Are we willing to make those changes, whatever they may turn out to be? Will the adults be able to keep up with the youth? As homeschoolers, we know what joy awaits as every home becomes a school.

The History

Here is a very brief, and probably inaccurate, peek at recent history from my perspective:

In 1997 Elder Bednar, whose educational and professional background was in organizational communication and behavior, became the President of Rick’s College. In 2000 the college became BYUI. New buildings and a temple have been built, the student population has greatly increased, and a new Learning Model has been introduced.

In 2004 President Bednar said, “It should be obvious to all of us that something spiritually significant is taking place in Rexburg, Idaho.”  He also spoke of BYUI as a “Disciple Preparation Center.” Then he said, “Ultimately, the best Disciple Preparation Center is located within the walls of our own homes.” That concept made me feel that homeschoolers should connect our homeschooling efforts with BYUI in some way, that we should steer our own course toward their light. We couldn’t yet see that light; we just knew it was there.

Then last Christmas and again this Christmas, Elder Bednar published his wonderful books, Increase in Learning and Act In Doctrine. and the light became more visible to the whole church.

BYUI has also developed a program called Pathway in which students not on campus can attend two years of college at home, through their local Institute. A missionary couple is called to direct the program and the students meet together once a week. Pathway is now available in over 75 locations around the world. My daughter is in the only “Over Thirty” group in Utah, and she loves it.

In 2003 the Church held the first worldwide Leardership Training. In 2007 President Packer and Elder Holland presented the Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting: Teaching andLearning. The video doesn’t seem to be on the church website anymore, but the text was published in the June 2007 Ensign as “Teaching and Learning in the Church.”

In 2004 changes were made in the General Sunday School. The Teacher Development position, which was disconnected and ineffective (I know; I once held that calling) was eliminated and the Sunday School Presidencies were given the responsibility of teacher training — and they’ve done a wonderful job.  In my stake the Sunday School Presidency is strong and effective and things are happening.

In 2004 the Missionary Department presented Preach My Gospel, a book and a program that revolutionized the mission field and probably made the lowering of the missionary age requirement possible.

A few years ago changes were made in how Seminary is taught.

Watching all these changes has been exciting, even though we see just the small pictures and have no real idea of the back-stories or what our Apostles do with the other 99% of their time.  And now we are making a giant move forward with the new youth program, “Come, Follow Me.” How blessed we are to be members of this church. Or, as an Institute teacher put it, what a Majestic God we have!

One Final Thought

I woke up in the middle of the night a couple of days ago and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to work on this article. As I typed “Come, Follow Me” something happened — my attention was drawn to the comma. The comma matters! A comma is a separator, a signal to pause. “Come Follow Me” without the comma is a simple command that can easily be said harshly or without feeling. If we respect the comma we must pause after “Come.” That forces us to say the title slowly and gently. “Come, . . . . Follow Me.” We hear the Savior’s voice!  It is an invitation.  We are commanded, but He will not force.  Lord, How is it that thou canst weep?  I gave unto them agency. All I want is that they love one another and choose me.  (see Moses 7:29,32-3)

His invitation is to our youth. They are His. Our job is to love and teach each other in His way in our callings and in our families. A little comma, the size of a mustard seed, perfectly explains how His Way feels.