Education | BYU Studies


Love of Learning: Speeches of Robert K. Thomas

Editor Daryl R. Hague,
The talks collected here represent a synthesis of the secular and the sacred. Through that synthesis, Thomas encourages us to become grown-ups. "Goals without Goads" is a superior example of his approach. In this talk, Thomas urges scholars to "add gospel insights to carefully honed, fundamental skills." He argues that as we integrate secular learning and the gospel, we will freely obey God and... Read more

Education: Moving Toward and Under the Law of Consecration

Question: What are some of the basic problems that need to be solved to improve the effectiveness of teaching religion to the members of the Church? Answer: This problem has been a deep concern of mine for a long time and I know it has all of the brethren. In order for us to more effectively teach the gospel to the members of the Church, we must first go to the home or the family. Where the... Read more

Discipleship and Scholarship

Elder Neal A. Maxwell gave this address at BYU on September 27, 1991, to a group of scholars. He encourages them to use their best scholarship while also building and protecting the kingdom of God. One of the striking dimensions of the restored gospel is the democracy of demands. Yet, it seeks to build an aristocracy of saints. Certain standards and requirements are laid upon all disciples. The... Read more

Roots and Wings

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Whither the Aim of Education Today? A Symposium of Thought

William O. Nelson writes presents a dialogue between the great thinkers in world history (Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, and others) that discusses the purposes and goals of education. Read more

Economic Policy: National, Institutional, and Individual Issues

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Excitement in the Classroom

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The Challenge and Responsibility of the L.D.S. Teacher

The subject of this paper, originally delivered as a talk to graduating English majors and the English faculty at Brigham Young University, and now slightly revised as an essay, is an ominous one. The responsibilities resting on the shoulders of a teacher, as any teacher knows, are both frightening and wonderful. No role, unless it is parenthood, provides a more awesome challenge than does... Read more

Which Are the Most Important Mormon Books?

The very abundance of books in our days—a stupefying and terrifying abundance—has made it more important to know how to choose," observed historian James Bryce. "The first piece of advice I will venture to give you is this," he added. "Read only the best books. . . . Let not an hour. . . be wasted on third-rate or second-rate stuff if first-rate stuff can be had." This wise counsel is in harmony... Read more

Joseph F. Smith and the Reshaping of Church Education

This article examines the educational background, philosophy, and legacy of Joseph F. Smith and his impact on Church education. It traces the role President Smith played in expanding the Church academies and later facilitating the formation of the current seminary system. It places these changes within the context of the dramatic growth in U.S. public education and the financial challenges faced... Read more

Strangers and Pilgrims: The Challenge of the Real

This article is a classic speech by Robert K. Thomas and is an excerpt of a forthcoming publication of Thomas's best speeches. Thomas (1918–1998) served the Brigham Young University community for thirty-two years as an English professor, founder and director of the Honors Program, and academic vice president. This speech describes how genuine faith can successfully confront the challenges we face... Read more

Marcel Schwob and "The Talking Machine": a Tale a la Poe—via Thomas A. Edison

Bruce B. Clark believes that "no role, unless it is parenthood, provides a more awesome challenge than does teaching." He explores this idea in "The Challenge and Responsibility of the LDS Teacher." Uses of knowledge has changed since the Industrial Revolution. S. Lyman Tyler attributes this to libraries in "The Library and the Availability of Knowledge." Individuals each seem to interpret the... Read more

Education, Moral Values, and Democracy: Lessons from the German Experience

History is not very popular these days. We apparently live in an age that has turned its back on the past. To many, history is what Henry Ford said it was—bunk—with little relevance to either individual or collective life. This would appear to be especially true of college students, who are staying away from history classes in droves. Perhaps that is because, as one friend put it, they have not... Read more

The Library and the Availability of Knowledge

"There is nothing more to the credit of a library than that every man finds in it what he seeks, having failed to find it elsewhere." So wrote Gabriel Naudé as he outlined the steps that were necessary to the establishment of a library in the 1640s. The argument is as sound today as some 320 years ago, but the store of knowledge or information that is available to man, and the number of... Read more

A Sophic and a Mantic People

In the early sixties the manuscripts for what are now the last two chapters of Hugh Nibley's The Ancient State: The Rulers and the Ruled came into my possession. In them Nibley describes the ancient conflict between Western naturalism and Eastern super-naturalism, a conflict which has given rise to modern civilization with its polluted atmosphere of secular righteousness and split-level churches... Read more

Study of the Outcomes of College Education in Art in Selected Colleges in Twelve Western States

In order to better evaluate college art programs, the author tried to ascertain the results of art education in colleges, to discover which outcomes should take priority, to determine how well the outcomes have been accomplished, and to analyze several events in order to make future training more successful. The author identifies twenty-eight outcomes and surveys educators to discover that each... Read more

Educating the Saints—A Brigham Young Mosaic

Brigham Young was a prophet who passionately expressed his views that followers of God should seek education. He had an eye single to the glory of God and wanted the Mormons to use the material goods of the world as a means to serve God. Many converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Young's day were uneducated, and he insisted that they had a duty to learn all they could of... Read more

"Thy Mind, O Man, Must Stretch"

John W. Welch, the recipient of the 2010-2011 Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award, gave this speech on May 17, 2011, at Brigham Young University. He spoke about the BYU Mission Statement as a guide for infusing an intellectual life with perspective and purpose: students should learn the gospel of Jesus Christ, learn broadly to be able to communicate, learn deeply in one's chosen... Read more

Foreign Languages: Too Little, Too Late?

Today the intensive study of modern languages is an imperative in the free world. For more than ten years now Americans have been hearing pleas by eminent educators, scientists, and government officials for an accelerated language training program. In its customary way the government has appropriated millions for language scholarships and language training centers across the nation. In general... Read more

Hevelius and the Meaning of History

This article tells the story of a remarkable scientist, born in an age of conflict between science and religion. However, throughout his life, Johanes Hevelius never lost interest in astronomy. It was his observation of the eclipse of the sun on 1 June 1639 that rekindled in him the desire to devote his life to it. He began in earnest, with the help of the newly developed telescope, to make... Read more

Charting the Future of Brigham Young University: Franklin S. Harris and the Changing Landscape of the Church's Educational Network, 1921-1926

Education is deeply embedded in the theology and religion of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Formal educational systems began to develop soon after the establishment of the Church in 1830. The first of these formal systems was the School of the Prophets, established in Kirtland, Ohio, in December 1832 to prepare selected members for missionary work. Nearly a decade later an... Read more

The Spirit and the Intellect: Lessons in Humility

Boyce discusses the limits of our knowledge in both the intellectual and the spiritual: "I have come to believe, after many a false start," he admits, "that if I am honest and thorough in my approach to the gospel, and if I am honest and thorough in my approach to intellectual disciplines, there resides in each the imperative for a profound sense of humility. I discover in both of them that what... Read more

The Chicago Experiment: Finding the Voice and Charting the Course of Religious Education in the Church

In many professions, Latter-day Saints often struggle to find harmony between their religion and their career. This has been especially true in academia, in most of its diverse disciplines. These challenges were particularly fierce when the Church began developing its own corps of professional religious educators to teach and lead in the newly founded seminary and institute programs of the early... Read more

Increasing the Quality of Patient Care through Performance Counseling and Written Goal Setting

A study of nursing practice using business management performance objectives. Three hypotheses were tested using a control group (usual care methods) and an experimental group (performance counseling protocols that required written goal setting, coupled with head nurse modeling and support to achieve goals.) One goal was to improve patient care and the other was to improve staff nurse... Read more

The Idea of a Mormon University

This forum address given by Arthur Henry King in 1972 discusses the concept and history of a university. He then discusses the concept of Universitas Dei, the University of God, which he suggests should be a motto for any Mormon university. He cautions againts four images, or idols, which have been imported from the surrounding culture into BYU; the idol of the study; second, the idol of the... Read more

Enticing the Sacred with Words

Evoking the sacred with words "is like trying to breathe joy as if it is air or to catch the wind in a butterfly net." In an effort to help the students in his writing classes capture the sacred with words, John Bennion of the BYU English faculty employs unusual methods, taking his students out of the classroom and into the wild, where they confront nature and themselves face to face. Rather than... Read more

All Ye Need to Know

Chemistry and biochemistry professor John D. Lamb, recipient of the 2013 Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award, delivered this forum address on May 20, 2014 at Brigham Young University. Taking his theme from Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn," Lamb discusses the value of learning and different ways of gaining knowledge. He contrasts opportunities for light and learning with forces that... Read more

Spanish Academies of the Golden Age

Although the Real Academia Española was not founded officially until 1714, this "founding" was merely an official sanctioning of a long tradition of academias which flourished all through the previous century. Most of the great writers, poets, and artists of the Golden Age belonged to or took part in one or more of the then small, informal gatherings known as academias , which were not unlike the... Read more

Educated: A Memoir

Tara Westover grew up at the base of Buck’s Peak, raised by Latter-day Saint parents in rural southern Idaho. Her father operated a junkyard, and her mother was a self-taught herbalist and midwife. Fueled by fears that powerful, secret forces had infiltrated the federal government and other institutions, Westover’s parents distrusted public education and the medical establishment. Her father in... Read more

One Moment, Please: Private Devotion in the Public Schools

The question of private devotion in the public schools has been a contentious one since the case of Engle vs. Vitale. Persons opposed to any official recognition of divinity have used the decision to argue for the extirpation of all reference to deity from public life. On the other hand, the decision has been used as emotional fodder by radicals of another ilk to whip devotees into furious... Read more

A New Direction in Language Testing: Concern for the One

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Religion and Families: An Introduction

Religion and Families is a new book offered by two BYU professors: Loren D. Marks and David C. Dollahite, who both work in the School of Family Life. The work is meant to be used as an undergraduate textbook and is part of a series offered by Routledge, Textbooks in Family Studies, whose purpose is to "pair leading scholars with core topics in the field of family studies that are surprisingly... Read more

Balance in Latter-day Saint Teaching

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Lessons from the Past or How to Succeed in the University World Without Really Trying

To every historian there comes, soon or late, the strong desire to desert the exact documentation and cautious phraseology that his craft and the zealous eyes of his colleagues oblige him to use. The occasional urge to soar above the footnotes and address a larger audience must come to us all. Moreover, a certain catharsis is obtained by ceasing to be solemn about history and discharging the... Read more

Directions for Mormon Studies in the Twenty-First Century

At its heart, Directions for Mormon Studies in the Twenty-First Century is a celebration of religious studies in general and of Mormon studies in particular. The book presents twelve provocative essays written by scholars from multiple disciplines and various parts of the world. The essays are divided into five parts, each part focusing on either a topic or a methodology. Though the book does... Read more

Emerson's Relevance Today

It is now a commonplace to question the relevance of much of what we have called American ideals and values. A vocal if not representative segment of the younger generation has had enough impact upon social and political theorists to stir them to a reevaluation of policies which affect the welfare of us all. American literature has not been immune to the charge of irrelevance. In this article... Read more

The Mantle Is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect

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... Read more

Everybody is Ignorant, Only on Different Subjects

Eliot Butler discusses what it means to be an "educated" person. His final assessment about education and learning means carries an amount of responsibility to all humankind: "To be an educated person does not carry a set of comfortable guarantees— it will neither cure acne nor remove unwanted weight. It does not promise to remove all ambiguities from life. But the educated person will have... Read more

Academic Responsibility

At an educational conference a few years ago, a speaker told of sitting in a bus on his way home from work and overhearing a conversation between two laborers who were in the seat in front of him. They were obviously elated at the thought of some overtime work that had been promised them, and they were hard at work in trying to figure out what next week's paycheck would be. One man listed the... Read more

Student Protests: A Threat and an Appeal

Even if a person were trying to, he could hardly avoid receiving information on student protest activities. Not only do newspapers, radio, and TV fairly scream out with protest stories almost daily, but a considerable amount of people's day-to-day conversation also includes some reference to the what, why, where, and when of the protest movements. Opinions about these protests range widely. In... Read more