Page images

cause of the great expense to educate the vast number of children of elementary school age, but the academies still persist, though several discontinued during the financial depression of the early nineties.

Dr. Karl G. Maeser, the first principal of the Brigham Young Academy, was also chosen as the first General Superintendent of


MAESER MEMORIAL BUILDING, BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY the Church schools, and under the guidance of the General Church Board of Education, the peculiarities of the present school system were developed. He had great ability both as a teacher and an organizer, and he originated many excellent features that still are peculiar to our Church schools, and have proven to be of the highest value. His labors seemed timely, for the growth of the Church and the increased number of its schools demanded a more thorough systematization, and his peculiar ability had a unique field in which to operate.

Surely a people who willingly taxed themselves to maintain a double system of schools could not be said to be indifferent to matters of education.

The problem of financing the Church schools has always been a serious one, and in times of business panics and during early persecutions, it has several times become desperate. In many instances, the devoted teachers have willingly given their services free, as missionaries, or for half pay or for whatever the people

[graphic][ocr errors]



In a number of the missions of the Church there are schools taught by the Elders and other competent per

More than forty such schools are now in operation, and in Samoa and New Zealand, where most of them
are found, competent supervisors have been sent to set these schools in order and systematize their work, and
no doubt the attendance will be greatly increased. In New Zealand, a large Agricultural College with dor-
mitory and other buildings, costing about $90,000, began instructions last fall. Graduates from the Agricultural
College and University of Utah are in charge of it, and in a short time its work should result in the greatest fi-
nancial benefit to the Maoris. The natives have heretofore rented their lands, which the government forbids their
selling, for a few pence a year to European stock-growers for grazing purposes. With modern implements and
methods of agriculture provided, and the education acquired in this school, they should be able to realize $150 or
$200 an acre each year. The labors of the elders and the Church for the physical and economic advancement of
the natives have attracted favorable notice of the British government.

could give them; since the only sources of revenue are the tithes and voluntary contributions of the people.

Latter-day Saints regret the present general dearth of religious training for the young, for moral training cannot be entirely successful without religion. The three great forces that the

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed]

UINTAH ACADEMY, VERNAL UTAH Christian world depends upon for moral and religious results are the home, the church, and the school.

The modifications in home life have been so great and so

[graphic][ocr errors]


rapid during recent years that methods of moral training there have not kept pace with them, and are now inadequate to meet the needs and conditions in most homes. When each family produced most of what it consumed, each member had some task which contributed to the welfare of all; family ties and home influences, then, were strong. Morning and evening prayer, Bible reading, and practical exhortations to right conduct, were common exercises around the family hearth. Now, the factory,

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

shop, department store and office separate the family after a hasty breakfast, perhaps too early for younger members to join. Conditions are no more favorable for the family devotional exercises at the irregular hours of assembling in the evening. Demands of business upon the father and of society upon the mother divert their interests, in a measure, from the home, with the result that the number of children as well as the quality of parental training is rapidly diminishing. Modern society is in such a whirl of business and work and fashion and pleasure that the training of the children receives too little attention.

The public school is no longer opened with any form of devotional exercises. Many of the teachers and pupils never pray. No religious instruction can be given lest the schools become sectarian. Even Christmas exercises are fast becoming Christless.

[ocr errors]

While most schools are conducive to morality, the instructions along these lines are so indistinct and general that they fail to develop the sturdy integrity of the founders of our nation, who knew the New Testament by heart, having learned it in the public school.

To my mind, the differentiation that has grown up amongst us as to the religious and the secular ineducation is most unfortunate. I love to think that all the principles of education are both religious and secular. Not one of them could be spared from society or from the Church. Either would suffer irreparable loss if deprived of training in language, mathematics or science, as it would without truthfulness, charity or virtue. The multiplica

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]

tion table is as essential to salvation as is faith or baptism. As well might we think of an unreformed thief in the kingdom of heaven as an uninstructed ignoramus. The so-called religious cannot say to the so-called secular, “We have no need of thee." “Be ye perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect” is the task assigned us, and we should not only acquire the divine attributes of His heart but attain unto the knowledge which is in Him.

The child is a unit and should develop as a unit. All his powers and attributes must be trained in proper season or the product will be unbalanced and unsatisfactory, if not positively dangerous. Neither the head, the hand, nor the heart must be neglected. Church schools, in preparing for this all-around develop

« PreviousContinue »