Mormon Quotes

Education

Joseph Smith
We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true Mormons.
Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 316
Joseph F. Smith
If our Church schools would confine their so-called course of study in biology to that knowledge of the insect world which would help us to eradicate the pests that threaten the destruction of our crops and our fruit, such instruction would answer much better the aims of the Church school than theories which deal with the origin of life. These theories may have fascination for our teachers and they may find interest in the study of them, but they are not properly within the scope of the purpose for which these schools were organized. Some of our teachers are anxious to explain how much of the theory of evolution, in their judgment, is true, and what is false, but that only leaves their students in an unsettled frame of mind. They are not old enough and learned enough to discriminate, or put proper limitations upon a theory which we believe is more or less a fallacy.... On the other hand we have abundant evidence that many of those who have adopted in its fullness the theory of evolution have discarded the Bible, or at least refused to accept it as the inspired word of God.... Even if it were harmless from the standpoint of our faith, we think there are things more important to the daily affairs of life and the practical welfare of our young people. The Church itself has no philosophy about the modus operandi employed by the Lord in His creation of the world, and much of the talk therefore about the philosophy of Mormonism is altogether misleading...
Joseph F. Smith, Juvenile Instructor, 46(4):208-209, April 1911, Philosophy and the Church Schools
David O. McKay
Youth need religion to comply properly with the purposes of creation. There is a purposeful design permeating all nature, the crowning event of which is man. Here, on this thought, science again leads the student up to a certain point, and sometimes leaves him with his soul unanchored. For example, evolution's theory of the creation of the world offers many perplexing problems to the inquiring mind. Inevitably, a teacher who denies divine agency in creation, who insists that there is no intelligent purpose in it, undoubtedly impresses the student with the thought that all may be chance.
David O. McKay, Moral and Spiritual Values in Education (David O. McKay, 1968 Annual General Conference, Improvement Era)
Ezra Taft Benson
If your children are taught untruths on evolution in the public schools or even in our Church schools, provide them with a copy of President Joseph Fielding Smith's excellent rebuttal in his book Man, His Origin and Destiny.
Ezra Taft Benson, Strengthening the Family (Ezra Taft Benson, 1970 Semi‑Annual General Conference, Improvement Era)
Ezra Taft Benson
The tenth plank in Karl Marx's Manifesto for destroying our kind of civilization advocated the establishment of "free education for all children in public schools." There were several reasons why Marx wanted government to run the schools. Dr. A. A. Hodge pointed out one of them when he said, "It is capable of exact demonstration that if every party in the State has the right of excluding from public schools whatever he does not believe to be true, then he that believes most must give way to him that believes least, and then he that believes least must give way to him that believes absolutely nothing, no matter in how small a minority the atheists or agnostics may be. It is self‑evident that on this scheme, if it is consistently and persistently carried out in all parts of the country, the United States system of national popular education will be the most efficient and widespread instrument for the propagation of atheism which the world has ever seen."
Ezra Taft Benson, Strengthening the Family (Ezra Taft Benson, 1970 Semi‑Annual General Conference, Improvement Era)
Mark E. Petersen
Sex education belongs in the home, where parents can teach chastity in a spiritual environment as they reveal the facts of life to their children. There, in all plainness, the youngsters can be taught that procreation is part of the creative work of God and that, therefore, the act of replenishing the earth must be kept on the high plane of personal purity that God provides, free from all form of perversion.
Mark E. Petersen, Apostle Mark E. Peterson, Improvement Era, June 1969, p. 7
Mark E. Petersen
Now we are generous with the Negro. We are willing that the Negro have the highest education. I would be willing to let every Negro drive a Cadillac if they could afford it. I would be willing that they have all the advantages they can get out of life in the world. But let them enjoy these things among themselves. I think the Lord segregated the Negro and who is man to change that segregation? It reminds me of the scripture on marriage, 'what God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.' Only here we have the reverse of the thing ‑ what God hath separated, let not man bring together again.
Mark E. Petersen, Race Problems ‑ As They Affect The Church, Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, August 27, 1954
Orson Pratt
They would make man look for his origin down to the very reptile and the worm that crawls upon the earth, and to the fish of the sea — as the first father, the first origin, the first oyster. Such is the reason of the learned of the last few centuries — the evolution theory; in other words, that which you learn from books, the creation of man's folly and foolishness. But when we learn through the revelations of God that instead of man's coming up from the poor worm of the dirt, he descended from that being who controls the universe by his power; that he descended from that being who is the fullness of all knowledge, and who sways his scepter over more planetary systems than there are sands upon the seashore.
Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 20, No. 9 (The Book of Mormon, Etc., Orson Pratt, 8/25/1878)
Boyd K. Packer
There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not. Some things that are true are not very useful.
Boyd K. Packer, The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect, Fifth Annual Church Educational System Religious Educators' Symposium, Brigham Young University, 22 August, 1981
Boyd K. Packer
I have come to believe that it is the tendency for many members of the Church who spend a great deal of time in academic research to begin to judge the Church, its doctrine, organization, and leadership, present and past, by the principles of their own profession. Ofttimes this is done unwittingly, and some of it, perhaps, is not harmful. It is an easy thing for a man with extensive academic training to measure the Church using the principles he has been taught in his professional training as his standard. In my mind it ought to be the other way around. A member of the Church ought always, particularly if he is pursuing extensive academic studies, to judge the professions of man against the revealed word of the Lord. Many disciplines are subject to this danger. Over the years I have seen many members of the Church lose their testimonies and yield their faith as the price for academic achievement. Many others have been sorely tested.
Boyd K. Packer, The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect, Brigham Young University, August 22, 1981
Boyd K. Packer
One who chooses to follow the tenets of his profession, regardless of how they may injure the Church or destroy the faith of those not ready for 'advanced history', is himself in spiritual jeopardy. If that one is a member of the Church, he has broken his covenants and will be held accountable.
Boyd K. Packer, The Mantle Is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect
Gerald N. Lund
So how do we deal with these false philosophies? Fortunately, Mormon not only gave us Korihor's doctrines, he also gave us an inspired answer to them. This is the real value of the Korihor account. The first thing to note is that Alma does not get into philosophical debate with Korihor. He doesn't allow himself to be pulled onto the ground that Korihor tries to define as the area of debate. There is a great lesson in that. We combat false philosophies with revelation and true doctrine, not academic debate.
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Gerald N. Lund
President Ezra Taft Benson has taught that "the Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. (See 2 Ne. 3:12.) It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time." (Ensign, Jan. 1988, p. 3.)
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Dallin H. Oaks
Other illustrations of how our strengths can become our downfall concern the activity of learning. A desire to know is surely a great strength. A hunger to learn is laudable, but the fruits of learning make a person particularly susceptible to the sin of pride. So do the fruits of other talents and accomplishments, such as the athletic or the artistic. It is easy for the learned and the accomplished to forget their own limitations and their total dependence upon God. Accomplishments in higher education bring persons much recognition and real feelings of self‑sufficiency. But we should remember the Book of Mormon's frequent cautions not to boast in our own strength or wisdom lest we be left to our own strength or wisdom (e.g., Alma 38:11, 39:2; Helaman 4:13, 16:15). Similarly, the prophet Jacob referred to "that cunning plan of the evil one," remarking that when persons are "learned," which means that they have knowledge, "they think they are wise" (2 Nephi 9:28), which means that they think they have the capacity for the wise application of knowledge. Persons who think they are wise in this way "hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves." In that circumstance, the prophet said, "their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish" (2 Nephi 9:28). "But to be learned is good," the word of the Lord concludes, "if they hearken unto the counsels of God" (2 Nephi 9:29).
Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall", June 07, 1992
First Presidency
Parents have primary responsibility for the sex education of their children. Teaching this subject honestly and plainly in the home will help young people avoid serious moral transgressions. To help parents teach this sensitive and important information, the Church has published A Parent's Guide. Where schools have undertaken sex education, parents should seek to ensure that the instructions given to their children are consistent with sound moral and ethical values.
First Presidency, Church Handbook of Instructions, section 21.4.11
Merrill J. Bateman
Although we want to ensure that every faculty member has the right to discuss and analyze as broadly and widely as possible any topic, including religious topics, including fundamental doctrine of the church, we do not believe they have‑‑they should be able to publicly endorse positions contrary to doctrine, or to attack the doctrine.
Merrill J. Bateman, BYU President Merrill J. Bateman, interview quoted in Mormon America, by Richard and Joan Ostling, pp. 235‑236
Armand Mauss
The pedagogical posture of the CES has become increasingly anti‑scientific and anti‑intellectual, more inward looking, more intent on the uniqueness and exclusiveness of the Mormon version of the gospel as opposed to other interpretations, whether religious or scientific. Lesson manuals still occasionally take gratuitous swipes at scientists, intellectuals, and modernist ideas, which are blamed for jeopardizing students' testimonies. Non‑Mormon sources and resources are rarely used and highly suspect.
Armand Mauss, Armand Mauss, Mormon scholar, The Angel and the Beehive, p. 102
Alan Wilkins
We should not hire people who are a threat to the religious faith of our students or a critic of the Church and its leaders.
Alan Wilkins, BYU hiring process memo leak, see 'BYU Tightens Faculty Hiring Process,' Sunstone, 16:8, no. 94, February 1994, p. 79
Eugene England
This is a good time to remind ourselves that most Mormons are still in denial about the ban, unwilling to talk in Church settings about it, and that some Mormons still believe that Blacks were cursed by descent from Cain through Ham. Even more believe that Blacks, as well as other non-white people, come color-coded into the world, their lineage and even their class a direct indication of failures in a previous life.... I check occasionally in classes at BYU and find that still, twenty years after the revelation, a majority of bright, well-educated Mormon students say they believe that Blacks are descendants of Cain and Ham and thereby cursed and that skin color is an indication of righteousness in the pre-mortal life. They tell me these ideas came from their parents or Seminary and Sunday School teachers, and they have never questioned them. They seem largely untroubled by the implicit contradiction to basic gospel teachings.
Eugene England, Sunstone: 54–58
Eugene England
I'm pretty pessimistic because it seems like things are just getting narrower and narrower. It's beginning to affect the students.
Eugene England, Eugene England, Dialogue founder, 'An Interview with Eugene England,' Student Review, April 10, 1998, p. 10‑11
D. Michael Quinn
Academic freedom exists at BYU only for what is considered non‑controversial by the university's Board of Trustees and administrators. By those definitions, academic freedom has always existed at Soviet universities (even during the Stalin era).
D. Michael Quinn, D. Michael Quinn to F. Lamond Tullis, August 29, 1988, in 'On Being a Mormon Historian,' p. 94
Peter Bart
[BYU is] a place where no one is allowed to drink or smoke; where sex is outlawed for everyone but married couples; where public figures like Senator Edward Kennedy and former first lady Betty Ford have been prevented from speaking on campus and films like The Godfather deemed unfit for student viewing; where a boy was brought to trial for looking up a girl's skirt in the library stacks (the girl never noticed, but a security man did); and where gays are not only systematically expelled but, until recent years, were even subjected occasionally to electroshock therapy to treat their 'affliction.'
Peter Bart, Peter Bart, 'Prigging Out,' Rolling Stone, April 14, 1983, p. 89
Sterling M. McMurrin
Yes, and church leaders still bring it up whenever they're inaugurating a president at BYU or Ricks. It quite clearly lays down the law on matters of academic freedom in church institutions: there is to be no freedom in matters pertaining to religion and morals. Clark laid it out very firmly.
Sterling M. McMurrin, Matters of Conscience
Bryan Waterman
The Mormon tradition of celebrating the church's educational endeavors has some roots in pre‑Utah Mormon history, but dates most certainly from turn‑of‑the‑century debates over public schooling in Utah territory. When church leaders realized that the non‑Mormons among them had enough political power to make public schooling inevitable, they threw their weight into the public school movement and launched a public relations campaign to portray Mormons as "friends of education." In the early 1890s, following the church's disavowal of polygamy, leaders invited a number of prominent American educators, such as Harvard president Charles Eliot, to Utah to see for themselves if Mormonism's success depended on ignorant masses, as newspapers of the day claimed. Forgetting that Utah's public schools would not have existed without "gentile" (non‑Mormon) prodding, church leaders welcomed the praise the state's schools received during a 1913 National Education Association conference in Salt Lake City. In 1915 Mormons marked the entrance to Utah's exhibit at the Panama‑Pacific Exposition in San Francisco with Brigham Young's aphorism: "Education is the power to think clearly; the power to act well in the world's work, and the power to appreciate life." The church's reputation also benefitted from attention given to the "Utah Plan," a model educational system ("social uplift with a vengeance," in one historian's view) for the national Progressive Education movement in the 1920s. By the 1947 centennial of the Mormon pioneers' entry into the Salt Lake Valley, high claims for Mormon education (or Utah education) were commonplace among church members; mid‑twentieth‑century Mormon leaders pointed to LDS and Utah educational success as a sign of the church's divine nature, claiming that "the Latter‑day Saints present a picture of educational achievement second to none in Ame
Bryan Waterman, The Lord's University: Freedom and Authority at BYU, December 15, 1998
J. Reuben Clark
I assume that I am an apostate, that I am no friend of higher learning, that I am just a low‑down ignoramus, but in that ignorance I want to say to you that I am not at all concerned with the relative fewness of our attendance at the Y who are graduate students. In this ignorance of mine, I have a feeling that the mission of the Brigham Young University is not to make Ph.D.s or M.A.s, but to distribute among as wide a number as possible the ordinary collegiate work leading to Bachelor Degrees and to instill into the students a knowledge of the Gospel and a testimony of its truthfulness.
J. Reuben Clark, Letter to Ernest Wilkinson, President of BYU
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