CES to Add Secular Class! (Church Takes Benedict Option?)

SLC templeThe news is out that the Church is revamping CES to include secular classes taught in church buildings. Classes will be from high school to Master degrees.This seems to include significant support for home schooling and online schooling. Or such is the rumor.

Is this the LDS Church taking The Benedict Option?


26 thoughts on “CES to Add Secular Class! (Church Takes Benedict Option?)

  1. The Benedict option is a misnomer. The LDS Church is the Benedict option. It’s living a priestly, consecrated life, in the world but not of it.

    Increasingly, this is clear by the fact that children should have a mother and father is not only controversial, but “hurtful” to the world.

    I welcome the Church coming on board for what parents listening to the spirit with regard to their children have already felt when it comes to the education of our children.

  2. FYI, they are calling it the Global Education Initiative. When you read the summary articles on Desnews etc they seem to not get the import of it and portray it as another ces seminary thing.

    But in Elder Clark’s talk he basically outlines that they want the church to offer all educational programs up to Masters (someday) anywhere in the world. He did point out that where possible the program would make use of local resources (school buildings?).

  3. To some degree, you are all correct. The church has been taking the Benedict Option since the beginning.

    But you’re all skipping over how big this is. To me, the Church just publicly announced that they have no confidence in government run public school system and they are going to make it really easy to pull your kids out of public schools, home school them, religiously school them, get your own education, etc. And they plan to do it everywhere. This is a giant step away from public life beyond what the Church has done before.

  4. This will be particularly useful for parents who feel they don’t have the training to educate their children at home and are sick of public schooling because of the intrusion of teaching that any kind of sexuality is just fine if not preferable, but can’t afford private schools. This seems useful as well for those in other countries who would like to have English, math and science classes. For years the church has enlisted teachers who volunteer to teach in China but are not missionaries in the classic sense. It will be interesting to see if this is an outreach program where nonmembers are welcome.

  5. I definitely get it and eagerly await it. Since the church have publicized it much, it seems to me like they want to slowly build interest and beta test it without having thousands of signups with nowhere to go.

    The questions are, who will do the classes? What will they cost? Will teachers be hired? Is
    It just all online leaning? Will places where homeschool is illegal be able to her by due to the credentialed and assessment aspect?

    In the talk Elder Clark didn’t portray it the way you and hope they are intending — full blown withdrawal option from public schools that will clearly be increasingly hostile to anyone who doesn’t want to be indoctrinated into gay marriage worship.

    I do hope this program can include nonmembers. But realistically, it’s not even been fleshed out.

    Here’s to hoping this actually gets resources and sustained attention. It has the potential to be just as important as the missionary program, both for what it could accomplish in and out of the church.

  6. “To me, the Church just publicly announced that they have no confidence in government run public school system and they are going to make it really easy to pull your kids out of public schools, home school them, religiously school them, get your own education, etc.”

    I’m not getting the vote of no confidence that you are. This sounds like a natural extension of the Pathways program, of the Perpetual Education Fund, and the Church’s desire to provide educational opportunities to the many members who cannot access them. Are we sure the program will even be available in the US? the PEF isn’t, after all.

  7. I think the home schoolers have interpreted this announcement as a declaration against the Common Core. While no fan of the Common Core (I am a high school history teacher) this is not what was said. My opinion is that this is a global initiative to second and third world countries. BYU-I has created many online courses and hired instructors for those courses. BYU has online high school courses. CES is probably tapping these resources for humanitarian reasons. I hope we can educate more members in English, which is the lingua franca of the 21st century business and technological world. I doubt the Church is advocating a withdrawal from society, especially in the United States.

  8. The church is not calling for a withdrawal. It is clearly laying the groundwork for the day when it becomes necessary.

  9. Jack of Hearts

    The main point of this program is to take it wherever the Church is established. That is what makes it so exciting and different than any other CES program thus far. That includes high concentrated areas as well as small branches all over the world. It will work very similarly to the pathways program in the effect that their will be online courses with weekly meet ups.

    I thought it was interesting that all the language classes will be in English. Elder Park gave a reason for that. He said something to the effect of it will help hasten the Lord’s work in the ability of future priesthood holders to communicate with church HQ. He also mentions that it opens doors for those who would like a BYU education that wasn’t available to them previously because of language barriers.

    As a homeschooler myself, I am optimistic about the changes and hope that eventually it will morph into something for all students of all ages, but I don’t think this came necessarily as an answer because our public school system is wayward.

    Either way, it’s exciting to see where it takes us. I truly believe an education (and by that I mean learning and growing in knowledge, not “going to college”) is one the greatest gifts humankind is capable of. This opens doors for thousands of people who may not have had it otherwise. Very cool.

  10. Question for those who think the church will always stick with public schools. If that’s the case, why BYUs?

    Further, consider a future where your child is sanctioned or expelled for hate speech in school for saying marriage should be man/woman and every child deserves a mother and father. What will you do when the schools push the standard from you can’t even privately think such and such without being intolerably bigoted. What about schools your children that anyone teaching chastity and proper sexualiuty is not only bigoted, but has psychological issues? What about BYU losing options for students to use federal funds because of the litany of complaints by the immoral progressives?

    We are likely less than a generation away from that happening is there is no push back from the broader culture. Social media is definitely creating a chilling effect on traditional voices.

    I don’t see anyway this action isn’t conneced to those on the watch tower. Just because the schools do great things now and we hope for the best in the future doesn’t mean we should be prepared for further politicisation of the state schools.

  11. State schools are already hopelessly politicized. If you didn’t know that, you haven’t been paying attention.

  12. The school system in which most of my children were educated and matriculated from high school has adopted a policy that is very pro LGTB(XYZ) to the point of outright indoctrination. While the focus on alternate sexuality is certainly very much our concern, there are other probably more important issues with what children are being taught in public schools and by the culture. Most of my gradchildren have parents who feel no lack of confidence in teaching their own children, but many young parents feel overwhelmed by the challenge of providing education. This particular initiative seems aimed at adults but certainly I foresee a time when a coordinated effort will be made to support all education.

  13. “I welcome the Church coming on board for what parents listening to the spirit with regard to their children have already felt…”

    I find this statement, and the attitude I perceive behind it, disturbing.

  14. You scare too easily. Recalibrate your disturbance meter and save your worry for real concerns.

    In general, parents who act according to the spirit while looking to and implementing prophetic counsel, should be expected to make decisions that prophets on the watchtower make church wide later on. The institutional church takes time to plan and develop these programs, so surely you don’t suggest the spirit won’t reveal similar, appropriate guidance at the same time (ie in advance of programs being created)?

    If you do, that’s not my faith and I’m firm in what I know, so no worries here.

    Not a conference goes by without something “new” being taught in exactly the manner it was revealed to me in personal scripture study. It’s a great witness of the spirit moving on all the church.

    To the topic, Parents have priority with raising and educating their children. The state institutions have slowly and hegemonically marginalized parents to the point where your child will spend more time in their life with other people than you. If the spirit tells you that’s OK, now that I find disturbing. And we wonder why the slow marginalization is accelerating as it reaches critical mass and our society is starting to decay. Witness Dallas, etc. We’re becoming less of a community and more of tax payers who just live somewhere and perpetuate the state.

    For the record, I’m all in favor of public schools; for a few hours a day, 2-3 days a week!

  15. I am lucky to live in an area with an excellent charter school. If it weren’t for that school, we would homeschool our kids because as other commenters have noted the public schools are secular, left-wing indoctrination centers these days.

  16. Having said that, it is unclear to me exactly what the Church is planning on providing in terms of education. There are many details that still need to be released.

  17. We were in Kirtland earlier this week and visited the temple and saw a performance of “This is Kirtland.” We sometimes forget that our original temple served as a school where adults learned any number of topics, in addition to Hebrew. The lowest level was for worship. The higher level was for schooling. The upper story was the location for additional schooling, such as the Hebrew classes.

    Until the late 1900s the schools in Mormon communities were taught by Mormons who combined secular and religious teachings. But with the opposition of the US government to polygamy, the federal government stripped the Mormons of access to their own instructors. All teachers had to have been trained by federally approved schools and adhere to a federally-approved curriculum. My great-great-grandmother was one of these teachers, and the lack of teachers the new legal situation had resulted in caused her to have to leave her home Sunday night to ride a circuit that extended many miles to reach her scattered pupils groups, arriving back at home on Saturdays for one day of rest before having to start the circuit again. She would die in her forties, possibly related to the intense efforts related to this effort to teach in the aftermath of federal repudiation of the old Mormon methods of instruction.

    I can imagine the Church clarifying that this access to education is a benefit of membership, in the same manner that the PEF is available only to a select group (returned missionaries). I see this as a powerful return to our original roots. With new online educational approaches such as Moodle, the announced program is possible in a way that it wouldn’t have been a decade ago.

    I think we will find that restricting the benefits to members or only extended to those with a Bishop’s recommendation will have a positive impact on the program. But I look forward to seeing how the actual implementation rolls out.

    I see this new program as an extension of Pathways and other existing initiatives, but also similar to the Achievement Days program, which could be used to supplant Scouting as a program for US-based young men if the BSA ever diverged too far from a position with which the Church felt comfortable. In a similar vein, the new program could be extended to facilitate education in a setting that affirms traditional families if government-provided education became too doctrinaire. Sometimes even just knowing that there is an alternative is enough.

  18. So for argument, let’s say the Church does set up an educational system for every member. The big question in my mind is accreditation. No one cares if a church sets up an online private school system, until the members want other institutions (higher ed, employers) to recognize that learning and achievement.

    Also, online learning is difficult. Parents have it easy with public ed today. Good teachers daily reinforce learning and administer frequent, small assessments. I am not so sure that online learning works for even a dedicated minority. Some (not all) home schoolers may not enjoy seeing their children face more frequent formative and summative assessments.

  19. Old Man,
    I remember from watching the talk, Elder Clark laid the responsibility at the feet of BYU. Each University will fill a specific role. Specifically, BYU-Utah has the responsibility for accreditation. I believe BYU-I is responsible for assessment. Hawaii just gets more time at the beach or something.

  20. FYI, I chatted with some CES people in my area about this. One has a PhD in technology and instruction. They are very excited about the changes and vision, but they immediately informed me that the Church has no intention of ever creating an institution or program which would replace or rival public ed or quality home schooling options. Online instruction requires so much dedication and self-discipline, and many students would fail in such a system. Also the cost of providing personalized instruction online is enormous. Even in 2016, technology does not increase the number of students an instructor can handle. So hiring a faculty able to handle the millions of LDS youth carries a price tag the Church does not want pay.

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