Home schooling by Jerry Salcido I believe that homeschooling is a necessary component of advancing the cause of liberty, and as there has always been more criticism of liberty than support, it is no surprise that homeschooling and homeschoolers are attacked at all levels. I have heard many objections to homeschooling over the years, especially (and unfortunately) from Latter-day Saints. So, in a series of essays I hope to explain, by using the scriptures and modern day revelation from prophets, apostles, and other general authorities why each of those objections has no foundation on Gospel principles and why Latter-day Saints in general should reevaluate their mistaken positions on homeschooling. The Spirituality Objection: * LDS children should be placed in public school to be exposed to the world and to evil so that they may be made stronger. * If you shelter your children from the public school environment how will they react when they come of age and are forced into the world? * Placing your children in the public school environment will make them stronger because they will be faced with Satan’s temptations every day. These statements have some logical appeal, don’t they? I must admit that upon first hearing such objections they made some sense to me…but that did not last long. In turning to the scriptures and modern-day revelation, I soon realized that these statements are…well…lies. The Principle The Lord has commanded his disciples to “stand in holy places.” (D&C 45:32, D&C 87:8, and D&C 101:22) I find nothing that contradicts this commandment. Indeed, in the May 2005 Ensign, President Faust counseled, “…I encourage our Saints all over the world, wherever possible, to strive to stand more often in holy places.” Why? Because we are commanded to be like God (3 Nephi 27:27) and God’s name is “Man of Holiness.” We become holy as we stand in holy places. President Faust explained that “Holiness is the strength of the soul.” We, as living children of God, therefore, become strong only insofar as we are holy. As far as I know the Lord still wishes us to stand in holy places. I have heard no spiritual counsel stating otherwise or suggesting that we should “stand in evil places” so that we can be made stronger. Thus, that we should stand in holy places is a true principle. What Places Are Holy? As we have identified the true principle that we are to stand in holy places, we must now identify what are holy places. President Faust identified three holy places: (1) the temple (2) our homes, and (3) the chapel where we partake of the sacrament. I cannot recall a General Conference session in the last few years when we have not been counseled to make our homes holy places. The temple is God’s house and we are commanded to go there often, but the Lord’s servants almost always counsel us to make our homes like the temple so that we may feel of that same Spirit which is ever present in the temple. What are we Counseled to do? Our home must be made holy and we should be there often because as President Faust stated “We unavoidably stand in so many unholy places and are subjected to so much that is vulgar, profane, and destructive of the Spirit of the Lord.” President Faust pleaded with us to “try harder to be a holy people” because we have an obligation to “rise to a higher level of personal righteousness in all of our actions” and “guard constantly against all of Satan’s influences.” In fact, he suggests that we have a “special responsibility” to stand in holy places because “That is where we will find the spiritual protection we need for ourselves and our families” and it will “help us rise above the evil influences of our time and draw us closer to our Savior.” The Principles Applied I’m sure you can see where the logical progression of this argument is headed. We are commanded to stand in holy places and we are commanded to make our home a holy place. We are commanded to do these things because it will inure to our benefit by protecting us and our families from Satan and by bringing us closer to Christ. Now, how do these principles match up with the public school system? First, I have yet to find any scriptural authority for the proposition that a public school is a holy place. I doubt that is even a possibility. If anything, the public school is a great and spacious building, a den of thieves, a midst of darkness if you will. Too much? Maybe. I’ll retract a little because I can certainly think of some good things that happen and some good people who are involved in the public school system, both on the teacher and the student sides of the system. Nonetheless, on a macro-level the public school system is far from holy. Drugs, sex, vulgarity, blasphemy, pride, immorality and just about every other type of iniquity is prevalent and even dominant in public schools (and that is just in the LDS dominated public schools of Utah). Second, doesn’t the public school system represent exactly what President Faust described, that is, “vulgar, profane, and destructive of the Spirit of the Lord.” Sure, some may be able to come out unscathed, but the environment is exactly that. Further, students are not learning by the Spirit (to the extent they learn at all) in public schools. The Spirit of the Lord is driven out at every opportunity. Finally, it is difficult to “guard constantly against all of Satan’s influences” when you are surrounded by them, as our children are in public schools. From the many falsities and half-truths being taught in the classroom to what is being learned on the playground and during lunch breaks, Satan’s influence in the public school is extant. You avoid getting burned by staying as far away from the fire as you can – not by plunging yourself into the thick of it. The public school system offers no protection against the influences of Satan and it certainly does not help us grow closer to Christ. Now, how do the above described principles apply to homeschooling? Well, to be fair, homeschooling will fair no better under the same analysis if the home is not made holy. That is the responsibility of the parents, and to a certain extent the children insomuch as they should be obedient and strive to keep the commandments. The difference is that the public school can never be holy because of its very nature of being public. It is a telestial institution unconcerned with, and at times even hostile to, God. Neither God nor his servants run the public school nor is it governed under His direction. LDS homes, on the other hand, can be led by parents who have God-given stewardship over the home. God has entrusted parents to make their homes temples and will guide parents in their efforts to do so. Thus, while public schools can never become holy, God expects the home to become holy and will lend all assistance possible to help a home become holy. In a home made holy, parents and children alike will find protection from the influences of evil. Homeschooled LDS children, therefore, are much more likely to stand in holy places. As a result, homeschooled LDS children are also more likely to gain the spiritual strength needed to combat the evil influences of the world. Conclusion If there is a viable option to stand in a holy place as opposed to an evil place, it would seem that we should naturally choose to stand in the holy place. Such is the case with homeschooling vs. public schooling, the former having the potential to become a holy place, the latter without that possibility. As spiritual strength derives from standing in holy places, and as the home can be and should be a holy place, the objection that homeschooling somehow stifles spiritual growth does not conform to the spiritual guidance and counsel the Lord has given us.