Brigham Young versus Free Schools: A Battle for the Minds of the Young, 1870–75

A. LeGrand Richards, Called to Teach: The Legacy of Karl G. Maeser (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2014), 319–366.

Chapter 11

Brigham Young versus Free Schools:

A Battle for the Minds of the Young, 1870–75

Not being able to make his brethren see the point [that government-controlled free schools should not be supported], he [Brigham] did the next best thing and made preparations himself for the establishment of a school for the children of Zion.

Karl G. Maeser [1]

Maeser’s return to teaching in Salt Lake City meant a continuation of his financial challenges. Utah schools were poorly funded, overcrowded, and often conducted by inadequately trained teachers. From 1870 to 1875, the opponents of Brigham Young, including a number of Maeser’s former colleagues, attempted to use these challenges to pit Maeser’s commitment to education against his commitment to Brigham and the Church, but Maeser remained a tireless defender of both the teachers and the Church authorities. Enemies of the Church saw public education as a way to undercut the Church’s overall influence in the territory. Both political and denominational opponents of Brigham sought ways to influence Utah children away from Mormonism. In many ways, then, the fight for public schools became part of the fight for the Church’s very survival. Initially, Brigham opposed the public free school movement because it would be anything but neutral to Latter-day Saint teachings, especially given that Utah did not enjoy the relative autonomy of statehood. The Salt Lake Tribune used Brigham’s opposition to government-controlled schools to claim that Brigham opposed all education. If teachers could be convinced that their financial struggles were due to Brigham’s policies, perhaps they could be rallied in opposition to his authority. Maeser responded to the challenges of these years by preparing as many faithful Latter-day Saint teachers as possible and defending them in their struggles for proper financial support and training. He also remained loyal to Brigham. Eventually, Brigham proposed an alternative model of Church education and Maeser would be called to design it.

Until the 1870s, Utah schools had not been a place of major controversy or contention, but that was about to change, and Maeser would be thrown into the middle of the battle. As already mentioned, the completion of the railway line to Utah was a great support to Church efforts, but the railroad brought more than Mormon missionaries and Latter-day Saint converts to Utah. It also brought “Gentiles” (the title often given to non-Mormons [2]), who tended to resent Mormon dominance in the territory. Protestant missionaries also arrived, who felt it their calling to convert the “ignorant Mormons” to orthodox Christianity. The Civil War had succeeded in abolishing slavery. Now, in the minds of many, its “twin relic” (polygamy) needed to be conquered, and the railroad made a new kind of invasion possible. John Philip Newman, for example, former chaplain of the US Senate and minister to President Ulysses S. Grant, declared, “The next bloody battle that will be fought in this country will be fought west of the Missouri River, with those fanatical deluded foreigners [Mormons] who have no love for our institutions.” [3]

Both the Gentiles and the Protestant missionaries focused on Utah schools. Gentiles wanted to lessen the influence of the Church in everything, including the schools, and the missionaries wanted to use schools to convert Mormon children away from the religion of their parents. As Episcopal bishop Daniel S. Tuttle put it, “Adults were fanatics, and so beyond the reach of our influence; or else were apostates, and so, grossly deceived once, were unwilling to listen again to any claims of the supernatural. But the plastic minds and wills of the young we could hope to win to better views and mould in nobler ways.” [4]

Protestant Religious Schools to Convert the Mormons

The Episcopal Church opened a school in 1867—St. Mark’s Associate Mission, the first “Gentile School” in Utah. [5] The attraction of free tuition raised the attendance to 140 by 1870. It boasted that it was the closest thing in Utah to a “free school.” Other denominations, including Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and Catholics, established mission schools with the belief, as US secretary of state William H. Seward asserted, that such schools in Salt Lake City “would do more to solve the Mormon problem than the army and Congress of the United States combined.” [6] Indeed, when Bishop Tuttle first met Brigham Young, though the meeting was cordial and respectful, he sensed that Young knew “in reality, by our services and our school, we are putting our clutches to his very throat.” [7]

At a national convention of Protestant teachers in 1883, Reverend Henry Kendall boasted that there were more than fifty-eight Protestant schools in Utah with more than 3,500 students, more than half of which were children of Latter-day Saint parents. He did not hide their purpose. “These schools are all in reality, though not obtrusively, Christian schools. All their teachers are really missionaries, and they do much in the way of personal missionary labor. . . . The preachers and the teachers constitute one consecrated and harmonious band engaged in undermining the whole system of Mormonism.” [8]

Maeser did not lead a campaign against the missionary schools, but he was deeply aware of the counsel given by Church leaders who recognized, from the outset, the zeal of these Protestant teachers to convert young Latter-day Saints. When appealing for donations from the East, these Protestant missionaries often exaggerated stories of how they were treated by the Mormons. Some wrote of death threats, vandalism, burning of Protestant churches, and other atrocities committed by bigoted Mormons. Some wrote of how Mormons were threatened by excommunication if they sent their children to the mission schools. Though the actual response was never as sensationalistic as these appeals for financial assistance made it seem, Latter-day Saint Church leaders did generally discourage parents from sending their children to these “missionary schools.” [9] Joseph F. Smith’s sermon in 1871 was directed specifically at parents who sent their children to the Protestant schools and was typical of the attitudes of Mormon leaders. Reverend G. M. Pierce had opened a Methodist school in Salt Lake City in 1870. Smith declared, “Some Latter-day Saints . . . would just as soon send their children to Mr. Pierce down here as to anybody else. I would not do it. However good a man Mr. Pierce may be, he should not teach one of my children as long as I had wisdom and intelligence to teach him myself, or could find a man of my own faith to do it for me.” [10] In the April 1872 general conference of the Church, President George A. Smith, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, referred to the charity free schools offered by Protestant churches. Smith noted the Protestant ministers in the city whose “principal hope of converting the ‘Mormons’ is by leading . . . away their children.” He warned the members to protect their children from teachers who would “plant in their hearts falsehood, deception, wickedness and corruption.” [11]

Ultimately, the direct efforts to convert the Mormons through Protestant schools and Gentile teachers were not very successful. Colin Goodykoontz concluded, “The direct results of mission work in Utah as measured by converts from Mormonism were so slight as to be almost negligible.” [12] In 1896, Francis S. Beggs complained that the millions of dollars spent on converting Mormons had “been largely wasted. If two hundred real Mormons have been changed and made into earnest evangelical Christians during that time we have not been able to discover them.” [13] T. Edgar Lyon cited Col. Charles G. Hammond, organizer of the New West Education Commission and major contributor to the Congregationalist schools, as saying that the Christian schools in Utah succeeded only in preparing Mormon children for leadership in the Mormon Church: “They take our proffered education, but not our religion, and use it to strengthen their own institutions.” [14]

The indirect impact of Catholic and Protestant denominational schools on the Utah Territory, however, was substantial. Lyon estimated that over 50,000 students were served in denominational schools until the passage of the Utah public school law of 1890. [15] Their efforts brought all education in the territory into a much more careful scrutiny. Their presence meant a new, intensified competition to the existing conscription and district schools. Gentiles also began to protest the heavy presence of Mormon influence in the district schools and the administration of them.

Secularizing Public Education in America

Public education in the United States did not begin as a secular institution but as nondenominational Protestant schools. The King James Version of the Holy Bible was considered a basic text, and the McGuffey Readers, primers used in schools, extolled basic Protestant Christian values and doctrine. On one occasion in 1848, Horace Mann, the father of public education in the United States, was accused of establishing an atheistic institution. He argued that it was far from atheistic or anti-Christian: it welcomed the religion of the Bible but refused “to act as an umpire” between hostile denominations. [16]

As public “common schools” spread across the states, Catholics and other religious groups objected to the Protestant bias of the public schools. Catholics unsuccessfully attempted to obtain the public funds to financially support their religious ideas and materials as well. This inflamed the anti-Catholic prejudices and the Catholics responded by establishing their own school system. [17] Eventually the definition of nonsectarian was replaced by the idea of religious neutrality. Public schools were to become secular. [18] Because of these trends, other non-Protestant religions also began to develop their own educational systems.

In Utah, therefore, Maeser noticed that a more subtle attack on Mormonism was beginning to develop through the district schools. The forces advocating secular “free schools” (free, tax-supported, government-controlled public schools) were on a collision course with the purposes of the Church. [19] In most states, the desire to establish public schools was simply to give their children a greater opportunity for learning; however, in Utah, some also viewed it as a way to oppose Brigham Young and undercut the Church. Both “Gentile” and “apostate” influences began to call for schools that would be not only nonsectarian, but, in fact, secular. Where Protestant schools could not yet be established, educated Gentile teachers began to apply for positions in the ward and district schools. As early as April 1867, Young reaffirmed his desire for Church members to know as much as any people in the world but condemned bishops who overlooked qualified LDS teachers to hire Gentile teachers instead to teach in the ward or district schools: “Let a miserable little, smooth-faced, beardless, good-for-nothing Gentile come along, without regard for either truth or honesty, and they will pay him when they will not pay a Latter-day Saint.” [20]

J. M. Coyner summarized the attack on Mormonism through a public school system in a speech he gave at the National Assembly of Christian Educators where he demanded that Congress enact laws to “take all political and municipal power from the leaders of the Mormon Church.” He also called for them to compel Mormons to send their children to schools that would liberate them from the corruption of their parents: “Nothing but radical measures will cure this disease. The patient has gangrene in the foot. The surgeon advises amputation.” [21]

Ward and District Schools in Utah

From the earliest settlement of Salt Lake, establishing schools was encouraged in every community. These schools were quasi-public schools in that they were open to children of all faiths and financially supported by the local constituents. Students paid tuition, but most schools needed extra support from the community. Most district schools charged tuition, but often means were found to help those children whose parents could not afford to pay the fee. Tuition was regularly paid in kind (i.e., fruits, vegetables, and grains) because money was in short supply. Of course, for decades, virtually only Mormons lived in the communities, so teachers, board members, and nearly all the students were Latter-day Saints. This meant that the teachers in the district schools felt little reason to secularize the curriculum.

Local taxes could be proposed for supporting the district schools in Utah, but very few communities established a totally tax-supported, tuition-free school. Without a consistent way to pay the teachers, it became more and more difficult to attract qualified teacher candidates. From 1853 to 1867, the University of Deseret did not offer any courses, but the chancellor and regents acted as a quasi-board of education for all elementary and secondary instruction. Originally, the University of Deseret was established to become the parent school “to qualify teachers for the District or Ward schools, and then, for a higher order of schools . . . that there may be uniformity in the method of teaching throughout Deseret.” [22] However, this goal remained largely unfulfilled. Teacher preparation in the territory tended to be fragmented and haphazard.

In 1866, the supervisory powers of university regents were changed. They no longer functioned as an informal board of education directing the elementary schools; the relationship between the university and public schools was severed. [23] A territorial law was passed in 1867 that appropriated some money to be used for the schools in general administration and teacher preparation, but there was no state organization to oversee the system. Both Church and civic leaders agreed that finding qualified teachers for the district schools and paying them an adequate salary was a crying need in Utah. [24] One educator jokingly referred to this time, “The principal qualifications of a teacher in those days were well-developed biceps, long finger nails, square-toed shoes and the ability to hold a spelling book right side up.” [25]

Reactivating the University of Deseret

While Maeser was away in 1869, John Rockey Park was appointed to reactivate the University of Deseret and to serve as its president. Park began to gather the talent necessary to do so. He felt one of the most important departments to develop was the Normal Department for teacher training. No teacher certification requirements had been established for the territory, so there was a crying need for qualified teachers. One month before Karl Maeser arrived home from his mission in Switzerland, Park wrote in his journal that Maeser had already accepted the position of professor of German at the university. [26]

In September 1870, Maeser began teaching courses at the University of Deseret in Latin, Greek, and German. [27] Courses were held in the Council House, where Maeser taught on the lower floor directly beneath M. H. Hardy, who directed the teacher training classes.[28] By January 1871, the Deseret News reported, “The University of Deseret is progressing finely in the new term. The classes are formed and everything is working smoothly again.” [29]

Some of the future leaders that Maeser taught at the university during this time included the following: Willard Young, John Q. Cannon, Joseph Toronto, Richard W. Young, and Orson F. Whitney. [30] Maeser could not sustain his family by teaching at the university alone, however, so he also returned to work preparing teachers and students in the Twentieth Ward School and renewed his participation in the teachers’ association. In spite of his busy schedule and his financial struggles, Maeser felt obligated to support educational efforts wherever he could find them. During this time, he helped organize the Twentieth Ward Institute, which was created for “the intellectual, moral, social and religious improvement of its members.” [31] Maeser was a member of the board of directors and was elected the librarian. They sponsored public lectures, promoted important causes, and created a library for its members.

Upon his return to Salt Lake from Switzerland, Maeser immediately found a place to serve. Utah needed more teachers, and since his days as a teacher at the Budich Institute, Maeser had been engaged, with few interruptions, in the preparation of teachers. Before his mission, he had developed a teacher preparation and in-service program while operating an excellent elementary school at the Twentieth Ward. Returning to Salt Lake allowed him to continue this work while teaching courses at the university. Maeser did not believe that teaching was ever value neutral. He did believe, however, that public schools could be non-denominational without being secular. With increased pressure to undercut Mormonism through schools, Maeser felt it important to prepare as many faithful Latter-day Saints as possible to become teachers who would not set out to undercut the faith of young Latter-day Saints.

The pressures to secularize education were often subtle but unrelenting. In the spring of 1871, Maeser was dismissed from the University of Deseret to concentrate on his efforts in the Twentieth Ward School. Regarding this, Ralph Chamberlin wrote that Park believed Maeser was effective as a teacher but his efforts at the school couldn’t last since they seemed too much like missionary work. [32] This conclusion may have been more of a reflection of Chamberlin’s attitude than of Park’s opinion, at least at the time, because Maeser was teaching at the university again by January of 1873, but Maeser did oppose the increased pressures to make instruction in public institutions secular.

It was hard to attract competent teacher candidates because the district schools were so poorly funded. Some, therefore, began to propose tax-supported “free public schools.” This idea met resistance on several fronts. It was true that the people generally opposed taxes, especially because the Utah Territory was governed by the federal government and the federal government had demonstrated its hostility to Mormonism, but opposition to taxes was only a small part of the resistance.

In April 1872, George A. Smith, representing the Church’s First Presidency, summarized the Church’s position regarding public schools, affirming the importance of educating Latter-day Saint children but fearing it would not be wise to establish tax-supported schools as long as they were ruled by the federal authorities. [33] The Organic Act of 1850 that established the Territory of Utah had promised trust land in each township for funding schools, but no money had been provided and the animosity with federal authorities had increased. Paying taxes to allow federal representatives to undercut the children’s faith seemed unconscionable.

Brigham’s Opposition to Government-Controlled, Tax-Supported Free Schools

Brigham Young often spoke in opposition to tax-supported “free schools”; however, his actual position is not readily understood. In the nineteenth century, the term “free schools” could represent a number of different types of schools, so it is rarely clear which type of school Young was referring to. For example, in New England, where Young grew up, free schools were also called pauper or charity schools. These schools did not charge tuition and were funded by private, usually religious, organizations for the basic instruction of the poor but provided an inferior education that helped maintain a strict social class distinction. Young would have opposed such schools because he did not want an inferior education for any and believed that families should not receive services without working to provide at least something toward it. Free schools, however, was also the term the Presbyterian schools used, though they charged tuition, to mean schools free from Mormon domination. [34]

Tax-supported free schools at that time meant government-sponsored schools that Young believed, with good reason, would be anything but neutral toward Mormonism. As long as Utah was prohibited from being a state, this would mean that the local schools would be under the direction of the federal government. At the time, efforts were being made by the federal government to prohibit Mormons from participating in government institutions or even from voting. Prohibiting them from being schoolteachers as well would have been perceived as disastrous.

In 1877, Young stated, “I am opposed to free education as much as I am opposed to taking away property from one man and giving it to another who knows not how to take care of it. . . . Would I encourage free schools by taxation? No! That is not in keeping with the nature of our work.” [35] Young was not necessarily opposing public education or even a tax-supported educational system in general, but he was opposing the one specific to his time. Young reminded people that the government had not kept its promises to help fund education. Not one penny of trust land funds had been given to Utah. Young continued, “But in aiding and blessing the poor I do not believe in allowing my charities to go through the hands of a set of robbers who pocket nine-tenths themselves, and give one-tenth to the poor.” [36] To make matters worse, Congress was looking for ways to seize property from Church leaders. Church members could ill afford a tax-supported school system at the time, but more than that, the government was against Mormonism. Every effort to dissuade people from embracing the doctrines and practices of Mormonism had been used to oppose the efforts of the Church. There was no reason to believe that tax-supported government schools would have been religiously neutral.

Furthermore, even if such schools were strictly secular and neutral, adopting secular schooling would suggest a doctrine contrary to LDS belief. Latter-day Saint education, according to Young’s views, was not neatly divisible into religious and secular categories. Brigham taught, “Every art and science known and studied by the children of men is comprised within the Gospel.” [37] For him, then, true religion encompassed all subject areas and any attempt to compartmentalize it from its religious context would be a distortion. Establishing a “secular system” of public education would do more than separate religious knowledge from worldly knowledge; it would contradict, at least in practice, basic Church doctrine.

The idea of tax-supported public education in Utah, then, was met with great suspicion. Latter-day Saints did not feel it proper to be forced to pay taxes that would be used to undercut their children’s faith. Perhaps with the relative autonomy of statehood, this position would change, but there was little reason to believe that such schools at the time would be neutral toward the Church. At the same time, Gentile parents found the Mormon dominance of the public school system intolerable. Some felt it unfair that they would be forced to pay tax money to support Mormonism. District schools were to be nonsectarian, but Gentile families could not believe that schools, so dominated by Mormons (as teachers, administrators, and school board members), could be anything but Mormon schools. Therefore, greater pressure was placed on the district schools in Utah to establish a secular standard.

Challenging Maeser’s Allegiance

Maeser responded to the pressures being placed on Utah schools during this period by throwing greater energy to prepare qualified Latter-day Saint teachers, both at the University of Deseret and at the Twentieth Ward School. He was completely loyal to President Young but also keenly aware of the plight of teachers in Utah—too many of the good teachers could not afford to stay in the profession. Therefore while preparing as many faithful LDS teachers as possible for the public schools, he also sought ways to strengthen those who were already teaching through in-service training. Of course, his response had to be balanced with his own family’s need to survive. He became an outspoken advocate for teachers, defending their need for higher salaries, greater respect, and further training.

Territorial Teachers’ Association (TTA)

In 1871, Maeser was elected president of the Salt Lake Teachers’ Association. Under his leadership, the association “resolved itself into a normal class”—that is, a teacher training program for practicing teachers. [38] Maeser was appointed “to lecture and give illustrations on the simplest and best methods of teaching,” and Robert Campbell, the superintendent of schools for the Territory, wrote a letter to the editor of the Deseret News encouraging every teacher in the city to participate. [39]

In April of 1872, Campbell called together sixty educators from throughout the Territory to reconstitute the Territorial Teachers’ Association (TTA). Maeser spoke and was selected to direct the association’s constitution committee. The Deseret News praised the effort because “not only will our popular educators become acquainted with each other, and system be secured in teaching in this association, but the adoption of approved text books will be one of the first good results.” [40]

The teachers in the association became intimately aware of the common challenges they faced and the wide range of approaches and objectives represented in the Utah schools. The Tribune accurately described the challenge: “At present our schools are taught on the old dame principle. [41] Each teacher has his own method, he has no plan to work to, he is responsible to no one and his labors are interrupted by constantly recurring fasts, festivals, and funerals. We want a system introduced.” [42]

At the semiannual TTA meeting in April 1873, Maeser spoke about teacher salary. He contended that a general plan for conducting schools throughout the territory was sorely needed, but instead of organizing and funding it properly, the legislature “lustily call[ed] for good teachers, expecting as much of them as possible,” while compensating them “at a minimum rate.” Such a policy “keeps back men and women of talent, who, otherwise would be a valuable acquisition to our noble calling” leaving those good “for nothing else” to be placed into the schools. He believed that no community had the right “to expect of any intelligent man or woman to pursue a course from the adoption of which all parents would persuade their children to abstain.” He knew what it was like to suffer for his profession, to feel his “bodily strength rapidly giving way.” He worried that “we will ere long be used up, or sink into a premature grave.” [43]

Maeser reminded the audience that President Young had said that teachers should be “the most moral, most intelligent, but also among the best paid members in the community” and concluded with a resolution to form a committee to propose “a plan for the organization of our common schools, to be presented to the Legislature.” [44] This plan was not to be a system of “free schools” paid for by federal taxation; it was to provide funding for preparing teachers, facilities, and for coordinating the curricula of conscription schools. The proposal was unanimously approved (Maeser, J. R. Park, and Obadiah H. Riggs were appointed to the committee). Later, Maeser would argue that funding the facilities well without properly paying the teachers would be like a proprietor of a livery stable “[trying] to save the expenses of splendid stable and magnificent coaches, by stealing the oats from his horses.” [45]

The Tribune’s Attack on Brigham Young

The more involved Maeser became with the teachers in the Territory, the more intensely his former colleagues at the Salt Lake Tribune tried to recruit him to their opposition toward Brigham Young by using their method of “condemning through praise.” [46] As early as 1871, they had tried to align Maeser and Park with the free school movement in opposition to Young. Maeser and Park had petitioned the legislature on behalf of the TTA for a stronger school law, but did not propose a fully tax-supported school system run by the federal government. The Tribune, implying Young’s opposition to free schools, declared, “Tyrants and lovers of the one-man power, have always hated popular intelligence and free schools. . . . Nothing tends to break down sectional feeling, clannishness and bigotry, so much as our free schools.” The article mentioned that the legislature was considering a stronger school law, “and as the measure is zealously advocated by such able men as Dr. Park and Prof. Maeser, there will no doubt be the necessary legislation to carry the system into effect.” It then proceeded to promote tax-supported “free schools over our subscription schools,” [47] implying that Park and Maeser also supported such a system.

In 1873, the Tribune’s attempts to pit the most respected educators in the territory against President Young reached its climax. The Tribune portrayed teachers as favoring free schools and progress, while Young was portrayed as against education altogether. Of course, Young’s position regarding public education was not accurately represented by the Tribune. Their portrayal of Young as purposely trying to keep people in ignorance by denying children the opportunity to go to school could not be supported by real evidence. Young had been a strong proponent of education; after all, the University of Deseret was founded with the hope that “no persons will be denied the benefits of the University for want of pecuniary means.” [48] The Union Academy, which Young established and where Karl taught in 1861, did not charge tuition, but it was not supported by taxes, nor was the curriculum established by government bureaucrats. Young did have a justifiable deep distrust of the federal government.

The writers at the Tribune, including several of Maeser’s former colleagues, knew how deeply he was committed to education and to the teachers in the territory, and they knew how poorly teachers in the current system were compensated for their service. Perhaps, they thought, Maeser’s allegiance to his fellow teachers could weaken his allegiance to Young. Some of the teachers in the TTA wanted the legislature to adopt “a system of free schools” in opposition to Young. [49] That his colleagues would disregard the word of a prophet troubled Maeser. [50] In Young’s April 1873 general conference address, he focused on schooling and referred to the TTA meeting where “a poor miserable apostate—said, ‘We want a free school, and we want to have the name of establishing the first free school in Utah.’” Young contended, “We have no other schools but free schools here—our schools are all free.” [51]

The Chislett Letter to Young

The next day, the Tribune published an open letter to Brigham Young from John Chislett, who had assisted Daniel Tyler in Switzerland when Maeser wrote his first inquiry letter in 1855. [52] Chislett admitted he was indeed that apostate, but “not miserable; on the contrary, I am happy and proud to be one.” He then condemned Young, “Of course I did not expect a man like you who cannot write a correct sentence in his mother tongue, and hardly spell half-a-dozen consecutive words correctly, to approve the proposition. Besides, free schools and priestcraft seldom go together, and as you are a chief in the latter business, of course you cannot be expected to foster the former.” [53] The Tribune made the most of this conflict; they printed Chislett’s letter again the next day with an article of support, suggesting that “thousands in this Territory” shared Chislett’s experience but lacked “the manhood to talk to Brigham Young fairly and squarely as a citizen, in the manner Mr. Chislett has done.” [54]

Maeser believed that the TTA’s plan for a stronger territorial school law was in complete alignment with Young’s position; he was calling for greater financial support of territorial schools without turning them into government-controlled free schools. Throughout the rest of 1873, however, the Tribune found every excuse to condemn Young by claiming he was opposed to education and the teachers. In spite of the Tribune’s attempts to suggest otherwise, the teachers in the valley did not stand in opposition to Young. The TTA sponsored the Territorial Normal Institute in the summer of 1873, and all three members of the Church’s First Presidency made presentations.

The TTA’s “Education Department” in the Deseret News

Following the summer institute of 1873, Maeser and J. R. Park traveled together to Utah County to speak of their proposals for a new school law to the legislature. [55] The TTA sponsored a weekly column in the Deseret News entitled the “Educational Department.” These articles defended the need for properly prepared teachers, a unifying school law, and greater organizing oversight. Maeser wrote two of the final three articles under the title “School and Fireside.” [56] In 1898, he would again use this title to summarize his ideas for the preparation of teachers in a book.

Focusing on practical ideas for parents and teachers, Maeser reminded readers that “we have not lost sight of the injunctions” of the Prophet Joseph. Not only in his speeches but even more “emphatically by his example,” Joseph led people into various “fields of intellectual labor,” inviting future generations to expand those fields especially through “the spirit of revelation.” Pioneer life, however, with its “bitter struggle with the elements of the wilderness,” required such exclusive emphasis on “muscular labor” that anyone attempting to build up the cause of education “would have been considered a chap that either could not or would not work. . . . The writer of this has labored himself for years under the shadow of that cloud.” [57]

In his final article, Maeser brought his Pestalozzian training clearly together with his religious convictions. He defined education as “the judicious and harmonious development of all the physical, moral and intellectual faculties of the child, for the purpose of not only enabling it to make its career among fellowmen, but also to lay a foundation for its happiness and contentment during life.” But a person was not merely a “transitory being, perishing after his time and season like the grass of the field, but is, according to the firm belief of our people, of divine origin and preparing himself here for an eternal existence, education among us must take this final destiny of man as the focus of all its efforts.” A student must prepare then to be a good citizen, to find productive employment, to develop healthy relationships, and “to acquire and to sustain the character and reputation of a man of integrity and honor.” [58]

“Every farmer knows,” wrote Maeser, “that some kind of seeds will prosper only when put into the ground in early spring, for everything has its season.” Likewise, the education of man should begin at home. Neglecting formal education through the school system would have serious consequences, but the more important education should occur in the home—“the training of the heart, the manners, the principles of integrity, honor, industry, piety and independence.” This article, “School and Fireside II,” ended with the hopeful statement “To be continued,” but it would take twenty-five more years before that hope would be fulfilled. [59]

Criticism of Brigham by Attacking Superintendent Campbell

In October 1873 the Tribune continued to generate controversy by attempting to link the school superintendent, Robert Campbell, with Young in opposition to the will of the teachers. Campbell came late to the TTA meeting and was ill prepared to address them. He did not even mention the TTA school law proposal, then rushed off to the territorial fair. [60] The Tribune then claimed that “Mr. Measer” [sic] strongly condemned Campbell’s continual whining and that this triggered a chorus of teachers complaining that Campbell had “thrown cold water” upon the careful work of the association. [61] Of course, Campbell had not been appointed by Young, but the Tribune made it sound like Young was still trying to control everything by picking out “putty men” as state officers. It then urged the teachers to oppose Young and not fall for any “ecclesiastical gag.” [62]

More Wedges from the Tribune

The Tribune followed with a number of articles in support of free schools and in direct opposition to the “Profit Brigham’s . . . kingocratic character,” claiming he was opposed to public schools because he desired “his people to remain in ignorance.”[63] Young was accused of being “an illiterate man,” whose statements on education were “balderdash” and “twaddle” with “neither logic, argument nor sense to it” and that the people needed to fight the “Priesthood monopoly” in order to provide proper free schools. [64] These articles implied that Brigham was directly opposing the TTA because he knew “his unquestioned and despotic rule over his people could not be maintained if intelligence were diffused amongst them.” [65] In reality, Brigham was not opposing the TTA or an improved school law, but he was against tax-supported government controlled schools. The Tribune was trying to create animosity between Young and the teachers.

Following the October 1873 general conference, the Tribune wrote another article to flatter J. R. Park, “principal of the University, so called.” It praised his competence but pitied Park’s work, because it was so poorly funded and the students came so unprepared, suggesting that Park did not feel free to endorse a tax-supported system only because of Young’s coercive control. [66]

In another article, the Tribune tried to win the support of teachers by contrasting their deprived conditions with Brigham’s lavish lifestyle: “Brigham Young is building a house at a cost of $100,000 for one of his multitudinous wives, and there is not a public school-house in the city that is better than a cow shed.” It claimed that the people of Salt Lake needed public schools but that “unfit men had been elected” who bow their necks before their “patriarchal dictator.” [67]

On November 6, the Tribune wrote a brazen attempt to flatter Maeser and to blame his daily struggles on Brigham’s policies. [68] The article began by praising Maeser’s credentials, passion and professional skills, describing him as “earnestly devoted to his work; calm and firm in his demeanor, ruling more by kindness than by severity.” Then it described the impossible conditions under which “Professor Measer [sic]” was expected to work. Claiming that Young’s opposition to free schools had transformed the distinguished professor into a common day laborer, a life of “mere drudgery.” It claimed his school building was unfit for the nearly two hundred students of all ages that he was trying to reach. “The constant noise is oppressive to the senses and afflictive to the nerves.” According to the Tribune, the school was crowded and dingy, with rough and “incommodious school furniture, . . . looking more like the steerage of an emigrant vessel, than the spacious elegant, handsomely furnished room of a modern school-house” that would be provided by a tax-supported school system. Maeser, wrote the Tribune, could be working in a facility worthy of his talent and dedication if it weren’t for Young’s opposition.

Of course, the Tribune was blaming Young, but at the same time, it was describing the realities teachers at the time were facing. Maeser’s teaching was distracted by the need to collect school fees, and he did have to supplement his meager wages by teaching evening classes at the university. One could ask why “this ceaseless worker is not stricken down with brain fever.” Because of insufficient funding, this distinguished educator was forced to steal “five minutes from his grammar class, at five minutes to twelve, to rush amongst forty students at their writing lesson, requiring each boy to have his book up for inspection, and glancing at them with a desperation which suggested that at the end of that five minutes the end of the world would come.” [69]

The Tribune’s description of Maeser’s school was likely exaggerated. [70] At the same time, however, Maeser knew the truthfulness of the description of his life as a teacher. Of course, he immediately saw through the flattery in the article to its real purpose: the Tribune was blaming Young for Maeser’s hardships. Maeser promptly wrote to Brigham to reconfirm his allegiance. He told him that the TTA was intending to petition the people and the legislature to improve the territorial schools but that the Tribune seemed to be using its efforts to suggest that the teachers “were secretly aiming at a ‘free school system’” in opposition to Young’s counsel. He emphatically denied such a conclusion, claiming that “such a system would be entirely impracticable” at that time for the territory. He knew Young’s opposition to a system of education controlled by the federal government and fully funded by federal taxes. Maeser’s proposal was to use federal support for facilities, overall supervision of schools, teacher training, and a structure for coordinating the curriculum. The daily operations would continue to be based upon tuition and private donations for those unable to pay. For Maeser, receiving President Young’s counsel became a matter of faith: “You know me too well, for instance, as that you could think for one moment I ever would give my name or cooperation to anything whatever that I thought would be against the spirit of my faith.” [71] He was asking for the President’s support of the TTA’s bill.

Maeser knew that Brigham was aware that many teachers in the Territory had been surviving “only, as it were, on the hope of better times; [had] struggled in poverty, labored under disadvantage and felt, that the results were not commensurate with their work, but still kept on hoping—hoping—hoping.” Now they had reached a point where they needed to do something about it. He continued by explaining that the executive committee had prepared a detailed bill for a school law that they hoped would receive support from the legislators, insisting “there is nothing in it indicative of a free school system nor of anything, that were antagonistic to that divine spirit, as far as I am able to discern, who has called our people together from among the nations of the earth, has preserved them until now and will lead them to their final glorious destiny.” He pled with Brother Brigham, “Please give us your blessing in this matter, for we need it and I don’t think, we are unworthy of it.” [72]

The TTA’s School Law Proposal

The Tribune continued to suppose the teachers were opposing Young. In November, the Tribune printed a copy of the teachers’ petition with Maeser’s signature as chairman appearing directly adjacent to the page with an article entitled “Disloyalty of the Mormon Church,” [73] which accused the First Presidency of “despotic Theocracy.” The petition called upon the citizens to add their signatures of support. Their proposed plan included the formation of three districts in conjunction with the judicial districts. It proposed a territorial board of education with a superintendent and the creation of local county boards with superintendents. It would establish a territorial board of examiners and a normal school for the certification of teachers. It also made provisions for building construction, school furniture, teacher salaries, “the education of poor children,” and so forth. [74]

The education committee of the legislature, however, rejected the TTA proposal as “impractical for the present position of their Territory,” [75] but they did implement several of the ideas for the financial support of the territorial leadership and the use of school lands. They also allocated $15,000 to the schools and additional funding for the “normal institute.” [76] Of course the Tribune could not resist another opportunity to blame Brigham, claiming “the head Boss of the Mormon Church” squelched it. [77] It is not known whether Brigham had further direct contact with Maeser regarding this issue, but there is evidence that at this point Maeser turned his energies more fully toward the preparation of teachers and less toward the legislature. If the politicians could not establish a law to bring unity to the schools, perhaps more aggressive teacher preparation could.

In 1874, then, Maeser concentrated on teacher preparation and in-service training in hopes of bringing more uniformity to the schools in the territory. He helped the teachers in Salt Lake County organize the Teachers Institute, which brought them together every other Saturday for their “mutual improvement, . . . for comparing their methods of instruction and government, and for their advancement in general information.” It was designed to move each time to a new school where demonstrations were given, discussions held, and ideas shared. Newer teachers were also brought together with more experienced ones; “thus a new life and new modes of thinking are infused into the whole mass of teachers.” [78] They drafted a constitution, and Maeser regularly took a major part in demonstrating various teaching approaches. In the summer, the Normal Institute opened once again, this time funded by the legislature. Details of the instruction are not available, but Park used this opportunity to establish an “Educational Bureau” that began testing teachers to certify them. [79]

Maeser also gave regular academic lectures in Salt Lake and Ogden on topics like “Science and Revelation,” and “The Footsteps of Providence.” In December of 1874, Maeser had so many requests for his lectures that he proposed that the Educational Bureau become the clearinghouse for all lecturers in the valley. By working through Educational Bureau, a more efficient match could be made between the interests of the audiences and the qualifications of the presenters. Such an arrangement would also help distinguish those more closely aligned with the Church from those linked with the Liberal Institute, the successor of the Godbeite Church of Zion. [80]

In the summer of 1875, the Normal Institute offered its annual course in teacher preparation. The press was invited this year, and the Salt Lake Herald announced, “The professor is emphatically a teacher of teachers, and we are glad to learn that he is soon to take charge of a normal class as a permanent adjunct of the university.” [81] Maeser’s instructions at the institute affirm his Pestalozzian training and his commitment to practical application. Many of the themes for teacher preparation that he developed later were taught in his normal training during his normal classes in the 1870s. He taught, “Repetition is the mother of all the Sciences,” [82] but he condemned the pure rote memorization and corporal punishment that had been the “alpha and omega” of traditional educational approaches. He taught, “Teachers must gain the love and esteem of their pupils, but not at the expense of authority or self-respect.” [83] Maeser also opposed psychological bribes. One of his topics at the institute in 1875 was on the question, “Why is it detrimental to give prizes in school?” He taught that training a young person to lust after external rewards and prizes was not consistent with Christian morality.

Maeser reviewed the major methods of teaching that were used at the time. He urged teachers to give their students regular opportunities to present their own ideas and suggested they should “never make a rule unless necessity compelled.” [84] The only educational theorist mentioned in the reports regarding the Normal Institute course was Friedrich Fröbel with a claim that Fröbel’s works “had been of indefinite value” to Maeser as a teacher. [85] Maeser demonstrated how teachers could draw object lessons from nature [86] and discussed the proper relationship between teachers and parents. He also lectured on the proper layout of schoolrooms and their ventilation, furniture, and equipment. [87]

During the 1870s, then, Maeser was in the midst of an unrelenting schedule, constantly trying to make ends meet and to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the organizations for which he had accepted obligations. In spite of numerous attempts to dissuade Maeser’s loyalty to Brigham Young, it remained unwavering. His impact on the preparation of teachers was profound. In 1894, when the Journal of Pedagogy was first published at the BYA, the editorial claimed that Utah had over fifteen hundred teachers in public and private schools and that as a group they were more unified “in thought and method than any similar body in the United States.” [88] In fact, the editorial noted how nationally prominent educators, such as Professors Kenyon and Parker of the Cook County Normal, praised the progressive nature of the Utah teachers. It continued by claiming that one of the most important sources for transforming Utah into the “Switzerland of the Western world” was “Dr. Karl G. Maeser, who brought to us the New Education a score of years ere it began to revolutionize the East.” [89] At that time, it is likely that “Brother Maeser” had trained most of Utah’s practicing teachers in some capacity.

Brigham’s Response: A New Model

The ideological, financial, and political assaults on the Church and its leaders were intense. It is not an accident that, in response, the auxiliary organizations of the Church were founded or renewed during the 1860s and 1870s: the Relief Society (1867), Sunday School (1867), Young Women Association (also known as the Retrenchment Society, 1869), Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association (1875), and Primary (1878). [90] Each of these organizations sought to strengthen the religious convictions of the Saints, especially the youth.

Brigham Young responded to the intensified pressures on Utah schools of the 1870s by conceiving a new model for the education of Latter-day Saint youth. As early as 1873, Young began suggesting the possibility of establishing an alternative model of higher education, “of starting another school to suit those young men who were wishing to go to school in the States, but whose parents were not favorable to them going.” [91] He believed that the Saints could very easily organize a school where they “could be taught here at home in all the arts and sciences of the world.” It must have seemed to him, however, that the University of Deseret, because of its attachment to the legislature and the demands for separating Church and State, would not adequately be able to fulfill this need.

This comment was not merely a hypothetical idea. In this same year of 1873, Young shared a plan with Thomas Kane to found a new type of Church school. In an interesting letter to Young, Kane congratulated him for his “resolve to found an educational institution worthy to bear your name,” one that would rival eastern seminaries and prepare young Latter-day Saints “in the Brigham Young University, normal college of the highest grade, to officiate as Zion’s tutors and professors.” [92] It took several more years for Young to endow schools following his vision of fully gospel-integrated learning, but the seeds were being planted in the face of political pressures. In 1875, the soil was prepared to receive these seeds.

Founding Brigham Young Academy

Brigham had been allowing the Timpanogos Branch of the University of Deseret to use his property in Provo without charge, and when the legislature refused to allocate funds for it, it was ready to close. This was when Brigham responded by proposing a new kind of school. He signed the deed of trust on October 18, 1875, declaring that “Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants shall be read and their doctrines inculcated in the Academy.” [93] Little else was stipulated except that “each of the boys who shall take a full course, if his physical ability will permit, shall be taught some branch of mechanism that shall be suitable to his taste and capacity.” [94]

On October 20, Brigham wrote his son, Alfales, who was studying at the University of Michigan:

If I am not in the penitentiary, that I shall pay a visit to Provo ere long. I have deeded my property at that place on which the university building stands to a board of trustees, composed of Bishops [Abraham O.] Smoot, [Leonard E.] Harrington and others, for the purpose of endowing a college, to be called Brigham Young’s Academy of Provo. I have had this in contemplation some time, and I hope to see an academy established there that shall do honor to our territory, and at which the children of the Latter-day Saints can receive a good education unmixed with the pernicious, atheistic influences that are to be found in so many of the higher schools of the country. [95]

Abraham O. Smoot, stake president of the Utah Stake and mayor of Provo, was appointed chairman of the board. [96] A charter was written and the board was formed, but the new academy needed structure and a solid principal. Apparently, at the outset, the board had hoped to invite Maeser to accept the appointment. Martha Coray, a member of the board, wrote in her journal that President Smoot had gone to Salt Lake among other things “to see Br. Measer [sic],” but she noted that he had not come to the Sunday meeting. [97] If Smoot did meet with Maeser in October, it is likely that he was told “no thank you.” Maeser had just acquired a second wife (Emilie Damke), Anna was pregnant again, his school was going well, his teacher training was expanding, his lecture series was already scheduled, and he was as settled as he had been for quite some time. The idea of starting anew in an unfamiliar location, a town with a very rough reputation, would not have been especially appealing to him.

Knowing that he could spend very little time doing it, Warren Dusenberry reluctantly accepted the nomination to serve as the interim principal of the new Brigham Young Academy until a proper permanent replacement could be found. [98] He had been called to work with the Church’s emigration office and was serving as the Utah County Attorney, so he would not be able to be a full-time principal. [99] Maeser summarized Brigham’s response to the challenges of the 1870s, “Not being able to make his brethren see the point [that government-controlled free schools should not be supported], he [Brigham] did the next best thing and made preparations himself for the establishment of a school for the children of Zion.” [100] Brigham’s new educational model was launched, experimentally, while they looked for a permanent captain. They would find one before the beginning of the second experimental term.


[1] Karl G. Maeser, “The Brigham Young Academy,” Normal 1, no. 6 (November 13, 1891): 43.

[2] Brigham used the title “Gentile” to refer only to those who opposed the “Kingdom of God,” regardless of their church membership, but even people of other faiths tended to adopt the term to refer to themselves. See James R. Clark, “Church and State Relationships in Education in Utah” (PhD diss., Utah State University, 1958), 38.

[3] John P. Newman, Christianity Triumphant (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1883), 72.

[4] Daniel Sylvester Tuttle, Reminiscences of a Missionary Bishop (New York: Thomas Whittaker, 1906), 363.

[5] See Mary R. Clark, “Rowland Hall-St. Mark’s School: Alternative Education for More Than a Century,” Utah Historical Quarterly 48, no. 3 (1980): 271–92.

[6] See Andrew Love Neff, History of Utah, 1847–1869 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1940), 856.

[7] Tuttle, Reminiscences, 114.

[8] Henry Kendall, “Mormonism: Efforts of Christian Churches,” in Christian Educators in Council: Sixty Addresses by American Educators, ed. Joseph Crane Hartzell (New York: Phillips and Hunt, 1888), 135.

[9] For an excellent review of the Protestant efforts to convert Mormons through mission schools, see Thomas Edgar Lyon, “Evangelical Protestant Missionary Activities in Mormon Dominated Areas, 1865–1900” (PhD diss., University of Utah, 1962). Lyon could not find any evidence of someone being excommunicated for sending their children to a mission school. One school even met in a Latter-day Saint house of worship during the week. Protestant ministers were also regularly invited to speak to Mormon congregations.

[10] Joseph F. Smith, “No Time to Do Wrong—Save the Children,” September 3, 1871, in Journal of Discourses (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854–86), 14:288. Brigham Young Jr. was quoted as saying he “would rather throw a child of his into Hell than send him to one of these gentile schools.” New West Education Commission, Third Report, 1883 (Chicago: New West Education Commission, 1884), 11, cited in Lyon, “Evangelical Protestant Missionary Activities,” 117.

[11] George A. Smith, in Journal of Discourses, 14:376.

[12] Colin B. Goodykoontz, Home Missions on the American Frontier (Caldwell, ID: Caxton, 1939), 315, cited in Lyon, “Evangelical Protestant Missionary Activities,” 248.

[13] Reverend Francis S. Beggs, “The Mormon Problem in the West,” Methodist Review, September 1896, 755–56. This position was criticized later in the Methodist Review.

[14] From an undated memorandum probably in 1893 or 1894; found in the papers of Colonel Hammond in the Hammond Library of the Chicago Theological Seminary in July, 1940, cited in Lyon, “Evangelical Protestant Missionary Activities,” 251.

[15] Lyon also concluded, “The public school law of 1890 was a fatal blow to all mission schools.” Lyon, “Evangelical Protestant Missionary Activities,” 130.

[16] In his annual report to the Massachusetts Board of Education, Horace Mann defended his school system from attacks that he was establishing an atheistic system: “I desire, also, to vindicate the system with which I have been so long and so intimately connected, not only from the aspersion, but from the suspicion, of being an irreligious or anti-Christian or an unchristian system. . . . I believed then, as now, that religious instruction in our schools, to the extent which the constitution and laws of the State allowed and prescribed, was indispensable to their highest welfare, and essential to the vitality of moral education. . . . That our public schools are not theological seminaries, is admitted. . . . But our system earnestly inculcates all Christian morals; it founds its morals on the basis of religion; it welcomes the religion of the Bible; and, in receiving the Bible, it allows it to do what is allowed to do in no other system, to speak for itself. But here it stops, not because it claims to have compassed all truth, but because it disclaims to act as an umpire between hostile religious opinions.” Horace Mann, Annual Reports on Education (Boston: Horace B. Fuller, 1868), 3:717, 726, 729–30.

[17] See, for example, Gail Hamilton, “Catholicism and Public Schools,” North American Review, November 1888, 572–80. Lyon wrote that Mormons attempted a similar appeal to secure an appropriation of the funds on a pro rata basis to allow schools serving their religious needs to share in public monies but were unsuccessful. Lyon, “Evangelical Protestant Missionary Activities,” 132, especially note 100.

[18] Directly after visiting Utah in October 1875, President Ulysses S. Grant encouraged the establishment of public schools but was insistent “that not one dollar of the money appropriated to their support shall be appropriated to the support of any sectarian school.” These schools were to provide “every child in the land the opportunity of a good common-school education, unmixed with sectarian, pagan, or atheistical dogma.” Religion was to be left strictly “to the family altar, the church, and private schools” in order to “keep the church and state forever separate.” Rena M. Atchison, Un-American Immigration: Its Present Effects and Future Perils (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 1894), 90–100. Grant even supported the proposed Blaine Amendment to the US Constitution in 1874, which would prohibit any state taxes from being “under the control of any religious sect.” “No money raised by taxation in any State for the support of public schools, or derived from any public source, nor any public lands devoted thereto, shall ever be under the control of any religious sect, nor shall any money so raised or land so devoted be divided between religious sects or denominations.” See Kyle Duncan, “Secularism’s Laws: State Blaine Amendments and Religious Persecution,” Fordham Law Review 72, no. 3 (2003): 493–593. The amendment was defeated in 1875, but most state constitutions quickly adopted the policy.

[19] For an excellent review of Utah’s educational struggles with the issues of church and state, see James R. Clark, “Church and State Relationships in Education in Utah” (PhD diss., Utah State University, 1958).

[20] Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 12:407.

[21] Prof. J. M. Coyner, “Disloyalty of Mormons, and Education in Utah,” in Hartzell, Christian Educators in Council, 138.

[22] John Clifton Moffitt, The History of Public Education in Utah (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1946), 44.

[23] Neff, History of Utah, 848.

[24] See also Frederick S. Buchanan, Culture Clash and Accommodation: Public Schooling in Salt Lake City, 1890–1994 (San Francisco: Smith Research Associates, 1995), especially 1–23.

[25] “Surprise and Banquet,” Deseret News, September 11, 1891.

[26] John R. Park, diary, July 8, 1870, MSS 638, LTPSC.

[27] University of Deseret 1870–1871 roll books, University Archives and Records Management, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

[28] Elias A. Smith, a student from 1870 to 1871, cited in Ralph V. Chamberlin, Memories of John Rockey Park (Salt Lake City: Emeritus Club, 1949), 57.

[29] “Local and Other Matters,” Deseret News, January 18, 1871, 12.

[30] The archives at the University of Utah have a few of Maeser’s roll books from 1871 and 1873.

[31] Constitution and By-Laws of the Twentieth Ward Institute (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Printing, 1874), 7.

[32] Ralph V. Chamberlin, The University of Utah: A History of Its First Hundred Years, 1850–1950 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1960), 95. Park’s journal recorded on April 1, 1871, “Prof. Maeser told me he had today a conversation with RL Campbell, who informed him that they would not need his services next term and that he was at liberty to employ his full time on his school in the 20th Ward. I think it strange that such radical changes should be made in the department of instruction without in any way consulting me or giving me the least intimation of the fact.” Park may have made a statement later that expressed the secular bias suggested in this Chamberlin statement.

[33] “Any man who will coolly, deliberately and wisely consider the condition, associations and changeable nature of the government of our Territory, will see the wisdom of not entering upon such a system until it can be done under the regulations and privileges which a State government would bring.” Smith, in Journal of Discourses, 14:372.

[34] Lyon, “Evangelical Protestant Missionary Activities,” 123. In the 1960s the term “free school” meant a school devoid of structure and requirements (like A. S. Neill’s Summerhill School). More recently, free schools in England have been established that are similar to charter schools in the United States. They are free from some of the standard government regulations and are given greater flexibility to respond to the interests and standards set by their own charters.

[35] Young, in Journal of Discourses, 18:357.

[36] Young, in Journal of Discourses, 18:357.

[37] Young, in Journal of Discourses, 13:148.

[38] “Correspondence,” Deseret News, November 29, 1871, 9.

[39] “It seems to me, Mr. Editor, that the live school teachers of this city cannot refrain from attending these meetings, where there are those who are fresh from the first schools of the East, and who have been associated with the most approved modern educators. . . . An era in our educational interests is dawning upon us and the spirit thereof seems to rest upon teachers and school authorities.” “Correspondence,” Deseret News, November 29, 1871, 9.

[40] “Teachers’ Convention,” Deseret News, April 17, 1872, 7.

[41] Dame schools were English and American schools set up primarily in homes usually by women. They were notoriously disparate in quality, consistency, and order.

[42] “The School Question,” Salt Lake Tribune, April 15, 1874, 2.

[43] “On Payment of Teachers,” Salt Lake Herald, April 6, 1873.

[44] “On Payment of Teachers,” Salt Lake Herald, April 6, 1873.

[45] Karl G. Maeser, School and Fireside (Provo, UT: Skelton, 1898), 93.

[46] Ronald W. Walker, Wayward Saints: The Godbeites and Brigham Young (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998), 64.

[47] “Public Schools,” Salt Lake Tribune, December 7, 1871, 2.

[48] See Neff, History of Utah, 859.

[49] The following resolution was passed by the TTA: “Resolved, that a system of free schools is felt to be an urgent necessity and that the future prosperity of the rising generation demands its early consideration by the Legislature of Utah.” “Territorial Teachers’ Association,” Deseret News, April 9, 1873, 12.

[50] Regarding this, he later wrote, “Now I do not blame a man for not seeing as far as a prophet does, but I blame him for not accepting the prophet’s word.” Karl G. Maeser, “The Brigham Young Academy,” Normal 1, no. 6 (November 13, 1891): 42–43.

[51] Young, in Journal of Discourses, 16:20.

[52] See chapter 4, note 4.

[53] “An Open Letter from John Chislett to Brigham Young,” Salt Lake Tribune, April 9, 1873, 2.

[54] “That Open Letter,” Salt Lake Tribune, April 10, 1873, 2.

[55] “Educational,” Deseret News, August 13, 1873, 5.

[56] Karl G. Maeser, “Educational Department: School and Fireside,” Deseret News, October 22, 1873, 11.

[57] Maeser, “Educational Department,” 11.

[58] Karl G. Maeser, “School and Fireside II,” Deseret News, November 12, 1873, 10.

[59] Maeser, “School and Fireside II.” In 1897, Maeser’s book School and Fireside finally appeared.

[60] The Tribune reported that Campbell offered a “congratulatory address,” then grabbed his hat and headed back “to mingle with his kindred swine and vegetable products.” “The Teachers in Council,” Salt Lake Tribune, October 5, 1873, 2.

[61] “Teachers in Council,” 2.

[62] “Teachers in Council,” 2. In December the Tribune wrote that if Campbell “receives any salary for his services as City School Superintendent, the money is thrown away. As an educator he is an entire failure, and the teachers hold him in utter contempt.” “A Ready Redress,” Salt Lake Tribune, December 16, 1873, 2.

[63] “Brigham and Free Schools,” Salt Lake Tribune, October 10, 1873, 1.

[64] “The Prophet on Free Schools,” Salt Lake Tribune, October 11, 1873, 2.

[65] “The Prophet on Free Schools,” 2.

[66] “Our City Schools,” Salt Lake Tribune, October 24, 1873, 4. The Tribune published an even stronger article about the “University.” “Educating our Children,” Salt Lake Tribune, March 17, 1874, 2. “Dr. Park, is a gentleman of superior attainment; he preserves fair order, and has excellent methods of teaching; but the awkwardness and slouching habits of many of his scholars . . . show a distressing unpreparedness.” It claimed “the only efficient remedy lies in an educational system.”

[67] “Let Us Have Light,” Salt Lake Tribune, September 11, 1873, 2.

[68] “Our Common Schools,” Salt Lake Tribune, November 6, 1873, 1.

[69] “Our Common Schools,” 1.

[70] In December, Maeser was awarded “a beautiful and commodious school desk and a patent arithmetical machine” for “the best district school in Salt Lake County.” “Presentation,” Deseret Weekly News, December 24, 1873, 12.

[71] Karl G. Maeser to Brigham Young, November 6, 1873, UA 1094, box 1 folder 1, LTPSC.

[72] Maeser to Young, November 6, 1873.

[73] “Disloyalty of the Mormon Church,” Salt Lake Tribune, November 9, 1873, 2.

[74] Karl G. Maeser, “Public Schools—an Appeal,” Salt Lake Tribune, November 9, 1873, 2.

[75] “House,” Deseret Weekly News, February 18, 1874, 4.

[76] Moffitt saw this as a very important development because it initiated the policy of territorial financial assistance to schools. Quoting superintendent O. H. Riggs, he wrote, “Though but a small amount, yet it proved to be a spark, from which a flame of interest has been kindled, that has never before been felt in this territory.” J. C. Moffitt, The History of Public Education in Utah (Salt Lake City: Moffitt, 1946), 113.

[77] “How About That School Bill!” Salt Lake Tribune, February 14, 1874, 2.

[78] “Teachers’ Institute,” Deseret News Weekly, December 2, 1874, 11.

[79] “Utah Educational Bureau,” Deseret News Weekly, June 24, 1874, 3.

[80] Karl G. Maeser, “Correspondence,” Deseret News Weekly, December 30, 1874, 13.

[81] “The Normal Institute,” Salt Lake Herald, August 8, 1875.

[82] “Teachers’ Normal Institute,” Deseret News Weekly, August 18, 1875, 1.

[83] “Normal Institute,” Deseret News Weekly, August 11, 1875, 12.

[84] “Normal Institute,” 12.

[85] “Teachers’ Normal Institute,” 11.

[86] “Afternoon Exercises,” Deseret Weekly News, Aug 18, 1875, 1.

[87] “Teachers’ Normal Institute,” 11.

[88] “Editorials,” Journal of Pedagogy, 1 no. 1 (December 1894): 9.

[89] “Editorials,” Journal of Pedagogy, 13. Because of Pestalozzi, Switzerland was known as the teacher training capital of the world. The other source listed in the journal was John R. Park.

[90] Church Educational System, Church History and the Fulness of Times (Religion 341–343), 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2003), 406–21.

[91] “Territorial Normal Institute,” Deseret News, August 6, 1873.

[92] Ernest L. Wilkinson, Brigham Young University: The First One Hundred Years (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1975), 1:63.

[93] Wilkinson, Brigham Young University, 1:65–66.

[94] Wilkinson, Brigham Young University, 1:66.

[95] Brigham Young to Alfales Young, October 20, 1875, CHL.

[96] In 1868, Smoot had been serving as the mayor of Salt Lake City and a federal officer when Brigham called him to go to Provo to serve as the stake president. He had already served three missions when the call came. The family reported that his first response was to send the word back to Brigham that he would rather not accept. They reported that Brigham replied, “You can either go to Provo or to hell.” He chose Provo.

[97] Martha Jane Coray, diary, October 24, 1875, MSS 1422, box 1, folder 8, LTPSC.

[98] Wilkinson, Brigham Young University, 1:53.

[99] Edward Tullidge, “Warren N. Dusenberry,” Tullidge’s Quarterly Magazine, April 1885, 426–28.

[100] Maeser, “The Brigham Young Academy,” 43.