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Commentary

Light is withdrawn if counsel is rejected, but renewed obedience can return blessings.

Gradual Secularization (early 1900s through the 1950s)—Having rejected the advice of the Prophets, the saints participated in public schools as they gradually became more secularized through the influence of men like John Dewey. Through the influence of the school environment many of the saints struggled with becoming compartmentalized and worldly in their thinking both educationally and generally. Prophetic counsel continually warned to avoid false teachings in science, history, government and psychology as well as other academic areas.

Punctuated Secularization (1960s until today)—Prayer, the Bible and religious thought was removed from public education by the Supreme Court and these acts were instantly condemned by President David O. McKay. America and the Western Nations were morphed from Christian to post-Christian foundations and socially deteriorated as crime, divorce and moral values eroded. Gradually some of the saints began to realize the seriousness of the situation and the consequences of previous generations rejecting Prophetic counsel. Private and home schools with varying degrees of reliance upon Latter-day Revelation began to form. How well will we learn from the failings and successes of our heritage and establish schools with the vision of Zion?

Prophetic Statements

Spencer W. Kimball

It is interesting to note that most of us have a tendency to want to ape the ways of our neighbor, in styles or curricula or universities. If New York or Paris speaks, the dresses are lengthened or shortened; if San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury speaks, men’s hair grows longer, bears appear and baths are less frequent. If the Joneses have Cadillac, all want Cadillacs. If a nation has a king, all want a king. We seem reluctant to establish our own standards, make our own styles, follow our own patterns which are based on dignity, comfort and propriety.

Israel did want a king. “Now make us a king,” they cried to Samuel, “to judge us like all the nations.” And when Samuel prayed, the Lord said, “They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” And then with the inspiration of the Lord; Samuel pointed out to them the hazards of having a king. The king would recruit their sons in battle. Their daughters would serve in confectioneries and kitchens and bakeries. Their sons would have to work his ground and reap his harvests, and make his spears and swords and rebuild his chariots and train his horses. He would appropriate their vineyards and olive yards to feed his servants, and he would tax them heavily.

In spite of all these dire predictions, the people still said, “Nay; but we will have a king over us…like other nations.” [1]

Ezra Taft Benson

Usually the Lord gives us the overall objectives to be accomplished and some guidelines to follow, but he expects us to work out most of the details and methods… Sometimes the Lord hopefully waits on his children to act on their own, and when they do not, they lose the greater prize, and the Lord will either drop the entire matter and let them suffer the consequences or else he will have to spell it out in greater detail. [2]

Scriptures

1 Nephi 16:28

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.

Mosiah 1:16

And moreover, he also gave him charge concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass; and also the plates of Nephi; and also, the sword of Laban, and the ball or director, which led our fathers through the wilderness, which was prepared by the hand of the Lord that thereby they might be led, every one according to the heed and diligence which they gave unto him.

Supporting Statements

Susanna Wesley

“The writing anything about my way of education I am much adverse to. It cannot, I think, be of service to anyone to know how I, who have lived such a retired life for so many years, used to employ my time and care in bringing up my own children. No one can, without renouncing the world, in the most literal sense, observe my methods; and there are few, if any, that would entirely devote above twenty years of the prime of life in hopes to save souls of their children,which they think may be saved without so much ado; for that was my principal intention, however unskillfully and unsuccessfully managed.” 1

George Q. Cannon

Today, look over the entire field that we occupy. Examine the condition of the Lattery-day Saints from the far north to the extreme south; examine the evils which surround us and with which we have to contend, and that threaten the perpetuity of the institutions of Zion. Examine our condition in its true light, in all its aspects and in all its particulars, and what will be the conclusion that will be reached respecting our circumstance? It will be this: that there is no evil today that menaces Zion that we feel it difficult to cope with, that in this land to which God has led us, that is not traceable to ourselves and that does not have its origin in the reluctance of the people to comprehend and to obey the counsel which God has given through His servants ever since we came to these valleys. . . . It is a sorrowful statement to make, but it is nevertheless a true statement. We have no dangers or threatening evils to contend with that have not had their origin in the disobedience of some of the Latter-day Saints to the counsel which God has given them. [3]


  1. Spencer W. Kimball, Education for Eternity, speech given at BYU Annual Faculty Conference, Sep. 12, 1967
  2. Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, April 1965
  3. George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 26, p. 319, August 26, 1883
  1. Franklin Wilder,Immortal Mother, New York: Vantage Press, 1966, p. 43;

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