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January, 20, 2017

Class is in Session

By TJ Giles

I love talking about this part of the gallery because it shows just how important education was for the Saints. During the early days of the church the Saints had their children attend community-sponsored common schools. The most famous of these being the “little red schoolhouse”. It was said by Helen Mar Kimball, a student at the little red schoolhouse, that, “For years after we left Kirtland, I used to look back and pine for the old scenes and school companions; those happy days were lived over again and again in bright dreams.”3 This drive for the education of their children stems from revelations from God, one of which being “teach their children to pray and to walk uprightly before the Lord.” (D&C 68:28) It was this scripture that motivated the Saints to continue to educate their children despite desperate circumstances, especially during the trying times of continual relocation due to the mob’s presence. It was said by Emily Partridge that, “about the first thing the Saints did, after providing shelter for their families, was start a school for the children.”8 Its stories like these that remind us of how important our education should be to us. Here at BYU we have it pretty easy. We don’t have to worry about mobs or other people who want to do us harm, as our predecessors did. We can remember the sacrifices they made and make the most of our education.

3: Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, “Life Incidents.” Woman’s Exponent 9, no. 6 (August 15, 1880): 42.

8: Emily Dow Partridge Young, “Reminiscences of Emily Dow Partridge Young.” Typescript, April 7, 1884, 10, BX 8670, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.

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