05) CHOICE: Is compulsory education compatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ? Should parents be forced to send their children to government schools, and should students be forced to attend such schools?

Prophetic Statements

John Taylor

[Get] good teachers who are good Latter-day Saints. Shall we have them, or shall we employ teachers that will turn the infant minds of our children away from the principles of the Gospel, and perhaps lead them to darkness and death? Some say, You ought to be very generous, quite as liberal and generous as others. I think so. But if some of these liberal people, who talk so much about liberality, would show a little more of it, we would appreciate it a little better. I would like to know if a Methodist would send his children to a Roman Catholic School, or vice versa? I think not. Do either send their children to Mormon schools, or employ Mormon teachers? I think not. Do we object to it? No, we do not; we accord to all classes their rights, and we claim rights equal with them. Well, shall we, after going to the ends of the earth to gather people to Zion, in order that they may learn more perfectly of His ways and walk in His paths, shall we then allow our children to be at the mercy of those who would lead them down to death again? God forbid! Let our teachers be men of God, men of honor and integrity, and let us afford our children such learning as will place our community in the front ranks in educational as well as religious matters. But would we interfere with other religious denominations? No. Prevent them from sending their children where and to whom they please? No. Or from shipping where they please? No. I would not put a hair in their way, nor interfere with them in any possible way; they can take their course, and we want the same privilege. [1]

Supporting Statements

H. Verlan Andersen

Any system, therefore, which forcibly takes from the parents the power to control what their children are taught, and who teaches them, is contrary to the Lord’s plan. It deprives parents of their most sacred stewardship and takes the child away from those who are most deeply concerned with his welfare. No state employee whose purpose in teaching is to get gain can be expected to serve the interests of the child as well as the parents who render their service without compensation. More especially this is true when the teacher is prohibited by law from instilling faith in the child… Since state-financed education is one of the principle doctrines of communism, those who accept it have adopted much of the socialist program… It is a widely recognized fact that public schools and universities are the foremost advocates of socialism because they teach it both in theory and in practice. [2]

Thomas Jefferson

It is better to tolerate the rare instance of a parent refusing to let his child be educated than to shock the common feelings and ideas by the forcible asportation and education of the infant against the will of the father. [3]

    1. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, .19:.249 – 50, October 21, 1877
    1. H. Verlan Andersen, The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, p. 135-136
  1. Thomas Jefferson, as quoted in The Real Thomas Jefferson, Allison,et al, p.412
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