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.