Expanding the System like a Banyan Tree

A. LeGrand Richards, Called to Teach: The Legacy of Karl G. Maeser (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2014), 460–498.

The Prof’s proposition to extend his labor to various other stakes—approved if practicable.

Franklin D. Richards[1]

Shortly after the death of Brigham Young, Maeser had a dream in which Young and a stranger appeared to him and took him on a tour of a large building with a spacious hallway, numerous rooms, an impressive stairway, and a large assembly hall. The dream so impressed Maeser that he awoke and drafted a plan for the structure he had been shown. He stowed it away without referring to it for more than six years, until he was reminded of it by the fire in 1884.[2] Immediately following the fire, a fund-raising effort began for the construction of a new building for Brigham Young Academy. Maeser took the plans he had sketched to the board of the academy, who unanimously approved them and contracted Don Carlos Young, Brigham Young’s son, to “put [them] into proper architectonic shape.”[3]

The Academy after the Fire

By March, a four-acre block was purchased on the northern end of Provo; the ground was cleared and a stone foundation was laid for the building. Unfortunately, the funds gathered were exhausted before the rest of the building could be completed, and further funding was hard to obtain. For eight long years, the foundation stood exposed as a symbol of an unfulfilled dream. Classes struggled on in the basement of the Provo Meetinghouse (later called the first Provo Tabernacle) and the First National Bank, and then in the renovated ZCMI warehouse, but the academy did not experience financial security. Appeals were made to the Church, but financially it was not in a position to help even if its leaders wanted to.

Before the fire, the academy had developed a strong academic reputation throughout the territory. In 1879, President John Taylor had declared it to be a “model institution” where children could be educated properly “and that while they are obtaining an education in regard to science and the various branches of secular education, they may always have before their minds the fear of God.”[4] In the same address, he prophesied that “it will not be long before we will be as far ahead of the world in regard to the arts, sciences, mechanism and every principle of intelligence that exists upon the face of the earth, as we are in religious matters today.”[5] The Deseret News called the academy a “superior educational institution, being in every way in accord with the genius of the community of Latter-day Saints.”[6] In a later article, it reported Professor Maeser’s efforts to connect gospel truths “with the ordinary rudiments of learning” and his attempts to view “science in the light of religion instead of something separate from, or antagonistic to it.” It continued by expressing the hope “to see many more establishments of this character in the Territory.”[7]

After the fire, every public effort was made to remain positive and optimistic about the future of the academy. On the examination day in November 1884, for example, Maeser reported that all of the student and faculty efforts through the year “demonstrate to us that adversity has been to this institution, as to the whole Church of God, a stimulus to faster growth, and that the B.Y. Academy has entered upon a new era of prosperity.”[8]

The weekly meetings of the Polysophical Society[9] were published in the academy’s first magazine, the Academic Review. Its first issue declared, “The attendance is increasing daily, and the prayerful expectations of all concerned point toward the present academic year as among the most prosperous and successful of any in the history of the Brigham Young Academy.”[10] That year, Maeser gave lectures on William Shakespeare, Richard Wagner, classical literature, the Egyptian pyramids, Gladstone and Bismarck, musical notation, Martin Luther, El Mahdi, “the Revolutionary Elements of Society,” Schiller and Goethe, and Victor Hugo.[11] Each lecture was given with the spirit of hope, enthusiasm, and faith.

Maeser was convinced that the academy had a prophetic mission and destiny and that Brigham Young’s generous donations of properties were intended to begin an educational system and not merely to establish a few isolated schools. The academy in Provo had taken the special role of preparing teachers who would be thoroughly grounded in a Latter-day Saint perspective. These teachers in turn would accept positions throughout the territory but would not disperse infidelity. Maeser had promised, “There will be no teachers issue from this Academy that are not to be recommended as true Latter-day Saints and maintaining and honoring and also promulgating with all their might, the principles of the gospel.”[12]

Utah District Schools on Trial

After the fire, then, the training of teachers for the district schools also continued at the academy. In 1884, for example, of the teachers at thirty-eight schools in Utah County, twenty-nine were BYA graduates.[13] The end of the year brought political pressure regarding the Church’s influence on public education. A legal complaint was filed by a number of non-LDS citizens about their taxes being used to support the building of a new public school, claiming that Utah schools were so influenced by the LDS Church that they were in effect sectarian institutions in violation of the principle of separation of church and state.

After these formal complaints were registered, a trial was then held that was widely reported in the newspapers. Federal judge Charles S. Zane presided over the trial. Witnesses testified that they had been denied a teaching position in a district school because they were not Latter-day Saints or because they could not “make a Mormon prayer.”[14] Claims were made that during school hours, the schools “engage[d] in certain devotional and religious exercises”[15] and that “none but members of said church [were] permitted by the school trustees, yielding to the counsel of the lay and ecclesiastical officials in authority in said church to be employed in any of said schools as teachers.”[16] It was also claimed that the Book of Mormon and other sectarian materials were used as texts in the public schools and that prayers for John Taylor and other Church authorities were offered. One deposition claimed that Maeser was teaching district teachers “that although the teaching of religious doctrines in schools might not be legal, a good teacher could introduce religion into all studies.”[17]

Numerous witnesses were summoned, including George Brimhall, John R. Park, Brigham Young’s son Alfales, and Warren Dusenberry. Brimhall testified that in 1879–80, he had taught a theology class in Spanish Fork before regular school hours in which he discussed the Bible and the Book of Mormon, among other texts. He testified that in his class reference was also made to the religious ideas of important historical figures like George Washington, Napoleon, and a passing reference to Joseph Smith but that it was certainly not a class on Mormonism. Besides, the class had been discontinued for several years. Other witnesses testified of non-Mormons who held teaching positions in the Territory, proving that there was no religious test in the hiring of teachers in Utah. Dusenberry testified that, according to his knowledge and belief, teaching sectarian doctrines were “frowned down.” He added that “he had taught in the public schools, but had not taught sectarian doctrines.”[18] Others testified that they never taught “anything to the children that could be construed as being sectarian in character.”[19] One witness was requested to repeat the nonsectarian prayer they offered in his school, which he did, much to the dismay of some of the large audience who saw the request as bordering on sacrilege.

Park declared that in the University of Deseret, “no religion was ever taught in my school, . . . no religious test has been used in the employment of teachers.” He named some of the professors who were not Mormons. Explaining that he had personal charge over the teacher preparation, he insisted, “No religion or religious tenets have been taught directly or indirectly in the University, unless morals may be classed under that head.” Alfales Young added that in the three years he attended the University of Deseret, he “never heard of any religious instruction being imparted there.” In fact, he believed that the reputation it had among the Mormons was that “it turns out infidels.” He knew some teachers there whom he considered to be “non-religionists” and “named 5 or 6 classmates who have become infidels.”[20]

Ultimately, Judge Zane dismissed the complaint of sectarian teaching in the university and ordered the complainants to pay the school tax. “While the evidence is conflicting as to the Seventh district, the weight is against the proposition that sectarian doctrines have been and are now taught therein,” Zane wrote. He did add this warning, however: “If at any time hereafter it shall be made to appear that the house erected with this tax, or any other erected with a like tax within the jurisdiction of the court, is being used for Church purposes to the injury of the school, or that the school therein is being taught the creed of any sect, it will be the duty of the court to prevent by injunction such use and such instruction.”[21] The result of such a public trial was to arouse an even greater hypervigilance regarding nonsectarian public schools. As an article in the Deseret Weekly stated, “Those who have the management and conduct of schools will, cautioned by the case so recently closed, prudently shun the very appearance of sectarian bias in their operations.”[22]

At Brigham Young Academy, normal students (future teachers) were taught to recognize “the principle of non-sectarian instruction in our district schools, as long as these are supported by public taxation.” At the same time, however, Provo gave this inviting message: “We prefer seeing schools of our own faith established in all wards of Zion, to enable the children of the Latter-day Saints to be taught by teachers of their own belief, but as long as we have not reached this highly desirable plan, we are, in justice to all, satisfied with non-sectarian district schools, if they really are such, and not breeding places of infidels.”[23] As these academy-trained teachers took positions, especially in places further removed from Provo, their desire grew to establish more institutions patterned after their experience at BYA—Latter-day Saint schools that fully integrated revelation and reason.

Expanding the Academy System

In July of 1885, Maeser made his annual recruitment trip to the southern part of the Territory with James E. Talmage and Benjamin Cluff. Residents of several locations expressed their desires to develop their own versions of BYA. The Church leaders in St. George, for example, wanted to establish an academy similar to BYA and even offered Talmage the position of principal. Maeser, knowing Talmage’s importance to BYA, suggested Joseph M. Tanner or Nels L. Nelson as an alternative.[24] In September, L. John Nuttall, private secretary to the First Presidency of the Church, expressed to Maeser, “You have the confidence of the Brethren of the Presidency and many of our leading brethren who look for a bright future for the B Y Academy and to the establishment of other like Institutions.”[25] Maeser must have interpreted this statement as approval for him to support his graduates in establishing other academies patterned after BYA.

In November 1885, Maeser was invited to help organize the Millard Stake Academy in Fillmore. John Taylor gave his approval of the organization, and Ira Hinckley became the first president of the board, and Alma Greenwood, a former student at BYA, its first principal. Maeser spoke at the dedication and was asked to offer the dedicatory prayer.[26] The new stake academy was “founded upon the same plan with the B.Y. Academy, and carried on in the same spirit. The teachers are graduates of our Academy; and it is to be hoped that many more similar institutions will before long guide the education of our growth throughout Utah.” Maeser wrote to the First Presidency that he could not prepare teachers fast enough to meet the need: “The demand for teachers from our Academy from all parts of the territory is not commensurate to the supply, and our only answer to applications for teachers for the last 3–4 months had to be an acknowledgement of our inability to send any.”[27]

In 1886, Maeser appealed to the First Presidency to take complete control of BYA; he believed that as long as it remained under the heirs of the Young estate it would have “no prospect for prosperity.” Coordinating important decisions between the Young family and the academy board proved to be extremely difficult. Maeser also argued that as a church “we must have schools of our own, and then the mission of the Academy at Provo will become more apparent to all Israel.” He also sketched an outline for a proposed educational plan for the Church.[28] It called for the church sponsorship of academies throughout the territory patterned after BYA. In the meantime, Maeser continued to support individual stakes that wanted to establish their own academies. In July, he helped organize a stake academy in Beaver, where his son Reinhard was appointed as principal. In November, he organized the stake academy in Salt Lake City.[29]

In spite of mounting opposition from the state and competition from other sources, Maeser’s principal reports about Brigham Young Academy were filled with optimism, hope, and a spirit of destiny. He wrote of his “unfaltering faith in the continuance of the mission which has been assigned to this institution,”[30] which, though it was “like a storm beaten vessel, . . . it always arrived when due.”[31] He also said that BYA had “continued its labors successfully in disseminating the elements of an advanced education among the people”[32] and that it had “made rapid strides in its onward course toward that destiny, which the servants of God have marked out for it.”[33]

An examination of the discourse behind the public scenes, however, revealed a far less hopeful story. The year 1886 was a difficult one for the Church. President Taylor and many other leading authorities had been in hiding from federal officials to avoid prosecution under the Edmunds-Tucker Act. The April general conference was held in the unfinished tabernacle in Provo because of the tensions and harassment in Salt Lake. Following the conference, Maeser wrote to President Taylor that because of its “financial embarassments [sic],” unless the academy could find better prospects it “would have to close at the end of the present term.” Less than half of the teachers’ salaries had been paid, and the academy could not pay its rent to ZCMI. Maeser closed the letter with optimism, however: “My faith in the continuance of this Academy has never faltered; . . . its beneficent results will be felt among the youth of Zion in the future as they have been in the past.”[34]

Nuttall replied to Maeser in May, “You say that ‘nothing but the assurance, that all these things are now in the hands of the President has buoyed me up thus far.’ I wish that I could feel such assurance.” Knowing the complications the Church was facing, Nuttall continued by saying that when a settlement had not been reached with the board, his “faith for the future of the academy began to wane.”[35] By June, Maeser learned that the “sword of Damocles” was hanging over him as well: his name had been placed on the “proscription list,” meaning that he would have to face federal polygamy charges. Nevertheless, he traveled to Beaver in July to help organize the stake academy there.

In August 1886, Maeser wrote to Nuttall about the “deplorable financial condition of the Academy.” The teachers were forced to carry the “whole burden” of the institution on their shoulders, “some of whom, like myself, have already lost more than one half of their last year’s salary, and cannot afford another sacrifice of that kind.”[36] Maeser was commended for his “determination to stand by the ship,” but little help was available. By November, Maeser wrote to Nuttall, “I have to add that thus far nothing has been accomplished for the putting of the institution upon a safer basis. . . . Before we can commence another term, the teachers must know what they can depend on for the future, as besides our salaries due us from last school year, the Academy is falling behind with us during the present year very badly, so that we cannot see our way clear in future; especially in my case the outlook is dark.”[37]

With the approval of BYA’s executive committee, Maeser made arrangements to be in Salt Lake on Fridays so that he could direct the academy there. Willard Done ran Salt Lake Academy during the rest of the week, and Talmage took charge in Provo during Maeser’s absence. Benjamin Cluff left Provo to attend the University of Michigan, and both Keeler and Talmage were anxious to go east as well. With Done and Cluff now absent from BYA and the academy in Salt Lake “clamoring constantly for more of my presence than I dare give,” Maeser wrote, “This constant strain is wearing me out very fast, although under the blessings of God I see now both institutions in a flourishing condition.” If he didn’t have enough to do already, he also proposed to the First Presidency via Nuttall that they hold a “General Conference of Principals, Teachers and Trustees of all the church schools some time in the summer.” Its purpose would be “arranging a uniform plan, method, textbooks, and a common organization for the further development of the whole move, and to receive such instruction from the Presidency, the Twelve, and yourself, as those brethren may deem proper.”[38]

Not understanding Maeser’s fundamental philosophy of education, Nuttall expressed concern that while such interaction would be valuable, “it is questionable whether it would be wise to have each Principal fettered by the rules of a convention or conference.” In other words, Nuttall believed that principals and teachers should have flexibility: “There is too much of a tendency in the present age to reduce every thing of this kind to machine like precision, and to enact rules of a stereotypical character, which does not admit of that individual freedom which every teacher should have as to the method that will suit him best in imparting instruction to his pupils.” Maeser could not have agreed more with Nuttall’s concern.

As if to testify that righteous potential rallies the opposing powers of hell, February brought unexpected contention. Abraham O. Smoot, head of the BYA board of trustees, became concerned that Maeser was neglecting his duties at BYA and confronted him in a “very unpleasant interview.” He gave him the “ultimatum to say, to which of the two Academies I intended to belong in the future as the Board of the BY Academy could not permit any longer these visits to another institution at the expense of work for which I was engaged.”[39] This came as a devastating blow on top of extreme stress. “To be charged now with indifference and neglect of duty,” after the type of sacrifice Maeser had offered to the academy—the countless hours spent to provide his students a solid foundation of faith and knowledge, the travels to recruit students from the far reaches of the territory, the privations his family had to suffer in order to keep the academy alive—was almost unbearable. Smoot’s “manner of speaking as well as some other circumstances that have come under my observation seemed to imply that it was immaterial whether I stayed or went,” and this left Maeser “deeply wounded” and ready to accept “any other appointment which the President might give me.” Maeser said, however, that with Talmage and Keeler leaving, “If I should leave also, the Academy might just as well be closed up at once, as there should be none left that knows anything about its methods. . . . I have not labored almost eleven years here, in some respects under great disadvantages, without becoming endeared to this Academy, and to see it go down by any act of mine would seem to me almost suicidal.”[40]

On the morning of April 5, Maeser was arrested on the charge of “unlawful cohabitation.”[41] He wrote to Nuttall that he had been placed under “bonds to appear before the Grand Jury” in September and that it was certain that the academy could not go on much longer as it had been. The teachers had no security that BYA would survive through the middle of the next term. At this particularly bleak moment, Maeser lamented to Nuttall: “I am worn out and sick in spirit, dear Brother, about this dragging and planless condition of things. And with all my love for this Academy, I feel that I owe it to my very life, which is needlessly wearing itself out here in an apparently hopeless task, to accept any change that will promise to me opportunities for permanent usefulness.”[42]

It is likely that this was the point in Maeser’s life when he told his family that he couldn’t watch them suffer any longer and that he would accept a more secure position in Salt Lake.[43] They were requested to make preparations to move. Eva, the youngest of Maeser’s children, described how much she looked forward to moving to the city and even told some of her friends that they would be moving. Apparently, the family began packing their things and waited for the instructions to leave. After a number of days, Eva finally confronted her father to learn when they would be going. He replied, “I have changed my mind. I have had a dream—I have seen Temple Hill filled with buildings—great temples of learning, and I have decided to remain and do my part in contributing to the fulfillment of that dream.”[44] With renewed faith in the destiny of Brigham Young Academy, Maeser threw himself back into the work, resolved the negative feelings with board members, and wrote to President Taylor, saying, “my place will remain wherever the Lord shall direct me through His servants to be.”[45] Taylor sent him a letter of endorsement for BYA, calling it “a school where all the branches necessary for a thorough English education are taught, . . . teaching the principles of our religion and embodying all other studies in them.”[46] Maeser then headed out on his annual recruiting mission to southern Utah.

More Responsibility for Maeser

After his return to the academy, Maeser learned that President Taylor, while still in hiding, had died. Maeser traveled to Salt Lake to attend the funeral and, following the services, he met with Franklin D. Richards, who gave him news that would once again dramatically change his life. Richards recorded in his journal, “I delivered to Professor K. G. Maeser the conclusion of Prests. Cannon & Smith as to the Prof’s proposition to extend his labor to various other stakes—approved if practicable.”[47] This meant that the Church was adopting his educational plan for academics. In August, he met with President Woodruff and the Council of the Twelve at their request regarding the “best use of his talents for the people.”[48] In the October general conference, an epistle from President Woodruff was read in which he commended “the indefatigable labors” of Maeser and declared, “We trust it will not be long before schools of this kind will be established in every city and village where the Latter-day Saints reside.”[49]

The Sevier Stake Academy, with Maeser’s help, opened in October with thirty-eight students.[50] In November, Maeser helped establish a seminary—a school for primary and intermediate grades—in Springville, declaring to the people “the necessity of having the youth of Zion educated upon the principles of the Gospel as a foundation for all learning.”[51]

The pressures on Maeser’s time and emotion continued to mount. While attempting to run the academies in Provo and Salt Lake and assist other stakes to establish their own institutions, he also faced his own personal trials. In March, Maeser was arraigned for “unlawful cohabitation.” Originally, he pleaded not guilty, but after further discussion with the judge and a plea bargain, Maeser pleaded guilty and was given a three-hundred-dollar fine instead of being imprisoned. By today’s standards, such a fine would seem minimal, but this would have been an impossible amount for the Maesers. Fortunately for him, the bank extended him credit, and his students, faculty, and friends came forward to pay the fine.[52]

In the April 1888 general conference, Franklin D. Richards had the privilege of proposing an “Educational Committee” for the sustaining vote of the Church. It had been decided “that there should be inaugurated a more efficient system of education among the Saints,” and Maeser was sustained as a member of this board to help organize it.[53] Wilford Woodruff, still in hiding, was sustained as the president of the committee, and his epistle was read to the congregation by Orson F. Whitney.

Maeser was thrilled to accept the appointment to the Church’s Board of Education: “For many years has it been the chief aim of my educational efforts to formulate a scholastic system founded upon and penetrated by the principles and spirit of the Latter day Work.” To be unanimously sustained by the general conference to help organize a plan for the whole Church demonstrated to him “that my hopes for the coming of this eventful epoch in our church history has not been in vain, and I feel almost to exclaim with Simon of old: O Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace forever.”[54]

Maeser also spoke at this conference. He recognized the challenges of the times and expressed appreciation for the testimonies that had been borne. With so many of the leaders of the Church in hiding, he said, “we have been to some extent like ancient Israel in the absence of Moses. Some of us have begun to build the golden calf and worship it.” He expressed concern that too many parents were setting a poor example for their children: “The plan of the Father [is] to teach the people by experience the necessity of adopting the principle of self-sacrifice, . . . [but far too many] seek their own advantage in place of that of the community.” He implored members to lead their children properly and not to become “so absorbed in the pursuit of wealth” and thus lose their children.[55]

In early June, President Woodruff sent a letter to the stake presidencies throughout the Church inviting them to form a stake board of education and to organize an academy in each stake as quickly as was reasonable:

We feel that the time has arrived when the proper education of our children should be taken in hand by us as a people. Religious training is practically excluded from the District Schools. The perusal of books that we value as divine records is forbidden. Our children, if left to the training they receive in these schools, will grow up entirely ignorant of those principles of salvation for which the Latter-day Saints have made so many sacrifices. To permit this condition of things to exist among us would be criminal. The desire is universally expressed by all thinking people in the Church that we should have schools where the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants can be used as textbooks, and where the principles of our religion may form a part of the teaching of the schools.[56]

Maeser expressed great disappointment to Franklin D. Richards on June 11 that he had not been notified of the Education Committee’s meeting on the eighth.[57] This wasn’t an accidental oversight: the committee was deciding to offer Maeser the position of superintendent of Church schools. He was overjoyed and reported immediately to Abraham O. Smoot, who expressed concerns about finding a proper successor for Maeser at BYA.[58] Maeser also met with the faculty and quickly drafted a letter of resignation to present to the BYA board during their meeting on June 30. He also sent President Woodruff a copy of the letter for his review and approval, but he did not receive his reply until July 2. He was told not to retire from BYA just yet, but to remain “nominally principal.” Apparently, the late arrival of the telegram was not a serious problem, because there had not been a quorum of members at the board meeting to authorize a formal vote anyway. Immediately, letters of inquiry to the new superintendent of Church Schools began pouring in “daily like flakes in a snowstorm.”[59]

Maeser was ready and willing to do anything required of him. He was also constantly considering ways in which he might be helpful. For example, he became aware the German Book of Mormon had not been edited into chapter and verse to conform to the English edition, so he volunteered to use his extra time (supposing he would have some) in preparing a new German edition. “By putting in every day at an average an hour and a half extra work I think I can do it,”[60] he said. In his words, “as I cannot be without work I may attend to any other mental labor”;[61] he would dedicate the hours before and after his regular school time to this project. His offer was accepted; he arranged a special office in his home and began before the end of July.[62]

Counsel for Teachers

As might be imagined, the demand for academy-trained teachers and principals had exploded, so the idea of “business as usual” at Brigham Young Academy was not a consideration. In September, Maeser was organizing academies in Rexburg and Franklin, Idaho, and Manti, Coalville, and St. George, Utah. Talmage was serving as the principal of the Salt Lake Academy, and discussions had begun under the direction of Wilford Woodruff concerning a Latter-day Saint university to be founded in Salt Lake.[63] The Salt Lake Academy claimed to have sixty-three registered “normals”—students preparing to be teachers—and was bursting at the seams. In November, they were forced to refuse 125 people who wanted to enroll because they lacked room.[64]

Maeser was inundated with questions regarding policies, practices, and procedures: How quickly should students be advanced to the upper grades? When is expulsion appropriate? What records should be kept? When is it appropriate to expel a student? Which textbooks should be used? Since BYA was seen as the mother institution that all other academies should emulate, how could someone be hired who hadn’t attended it? What is the proper balance between information and facts about our religion and “the awakening of a living testimony of the truth”? Knowing the difficulties President Woodruff was facing, “especially in these days of tribulation, when all hell seems to have her forces out to attack the cause of God,” Maeser was reluctant to pester him so often but hoped that he would “dictate a few instructions to me, inside of which I may go ahead in the great work of education of the youth of Zion.”[65]

Setting the initial norms of an academy was vital, so the correspondence with academy teachers and leaders became a critical part of Maeser’s experience. Some instructors needed basic assurance that they were capable enough for the task. Some needed concrete suggestions about particular problems of instruction or behavior. More than anything else, these new educators needed the proper attitude and spiritual climate for their academies. Angus Vance, in Oak Creek, Utah, needed to learn not to overtax his bodily strength “by . . . too close application to study.”[66] J. W. Brown, in St. Johns, Arizona, needed to be reminded that “all reflective studies, as Theology, Grammar or with Composition, and Arithmetic should come in the forenoon. . . . For every success you may have, give God the glory and the praise for therein lies the mainspring of Zion’s educational system.”[67] Students who were not members of the LDS Church were to be welcomed to participate in all classes they qualified for and were to be subject to all the rules and regulations “like all other students and no difference in treatment should be shown them.” They were expected to attend the devotional exercises and theology classes, though not required to take an active part in them.[68] Interestingly, even the deputy who arrested Maeser enrolled two of his daughters in BYA.[69]

Joseph Nelson, in Coalville, was told to expect “considerable opposition at first.” Maeser reminded him of the early struggles he had at BYA from “men high in the Priesthood” who denounced some of his “new fangled notions.” But in time, they became some of his “staunchest supporters.” Maeser added, “This is the Lord’s work, and not ours, and He will see it through, if we will trust in Him.” With regard to the Word of Wisdom, Maeser counseled not to “give the screw too many turns at once. Wrestle with the tobacco and strong drink evils first, and when you have conquered them, see how far you can go next.”[70]

Jedediah Taylor, in Montpelier, Idaho, was counseled, “You must not be despondent. . . . Your usefulness as a teacher of the youth does not depend alone on the daily programme, but also on the spirit in which it is carried out, and that cannot be fettered nor kept down by unrighteous laws, not even in Idaho.”[71] He explained that “a method of teaching based upon and penetrated by the Spirit of the Gospel, even if not expressed in words, is superior to any other, no matter what scientific, artistic and mechanical advantages they may claim to possess.”[72]

Maeser gave advice on the architecture of school design, the order of instruction, and the importance of prayer and personal testimony. He warned Jesse Smith, stake president in Snowflake, Arizona, of hiring “any outside teacher” and insisted that even a “Latter-day Saint Teacher” needed sufficient training to be “capable and willing to adapt himself to our manner of doing things educationally.”[73]

S. O. Crosby, in Panguitch, Utah, was counseled, “You being a young man of the place yourself, the duty, therefore devolves upon you to show by your own example in all things and on all occasions to the wild youths of your neighborhood.”[74] To Crosby’s principal, Maeser wrote, “Trust in God’s guidance, dear brother, be prayerful, labor hard and wisely, gain the respect, confidence and affection of your pupils, the support and esteem of your superiors, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”[75] To Nephi Savage in St. George, Maeser encouraged patience: “It was to be expected that the young people would not be very enthusiastic at first in regard to the study of theology.” Like the old story of the ant and the lump of sugar, when the subject was properly presented, they would love it.[76] He invited Savage to seek the Spirit of God and let it radiate throughout the lesson. He suggested:

The Savior chose the Mustard seed as an emblem of true faith, because it has the tendency of communicating its peculiar flavor to all plants growing around it and influencing them, as it were, with its own nature. The comparison lies not in its smallness but in its influence.

In our weakness, dear Brother Nephi, is our strength, for the weakness is ours but the strength comes from God, whose work we do, so he gives the increase and to whom alone belongs the glory.[77]

Allan Cutler needed to remember that “the main object of all these regulations is the training of character of the youth, they cultivate the principles of order, refinement, obedience, self-denial, reliability, punctuality, regularity and diligence.”[78] Joseph Anderson, in Box Elder, was assured, “Be not discouraged, dear Brother, by any little adverse circumstances that may arise in your teacher’s career, for such things must needs come to test our faith and integrity in the work.”[79]

Philosophical Rivalry with the East

By February of 1889, the academy system consisted of nineteen schools.[80] It was proposed that there be only one academy per stake; other schools with primary and intermediate grades would be called “seminaries.”[81] In March, it was announced that Maeser would begin a circuit visit to the stake academies in Salt Lake, Logan, Brigham City, and Ogden. In April, the first educational convention of Church schools was held in the Social Hall in Salt Lake, where a “large representation from the Stake academies, and members of the various academical faculties were present.”[82]

The Board of Education also met and shared their vision of what was most needed for the academies. Maeser noted, “Evil results accrue from the practice of excluding Deity from textbooks and school rooms, and thus tacitly encouraging a feeling of infidelity. . . . That system of godless education has proven unsatisfactory.” President Wilford Woodruff endorsed Maeser’s comments and exhorted educators to combat worldly tendencies with prayerfulness, and President Lorenzo Snow urged them not to give way to discouragement. President George Q. Cannon saw the potential of Church schools to prepare Latter-day Saints “to combat the influences brought to bear against them as a people.” He raised the concern that the Church needed at least one of the schools “to obviate the necessity for our young men going East to complete their education.”[83]

The General Board of Education also decided that no teacher should be engaged in any Church school without being certified by the board. Therefore, a “board of examiners” was needed. In May of 1889, the board decided that those examining teachers needed a higher degree and presented Karl G. Maeser with a Doctor of Letters and Didactics (DLD) degree, James Talmage with a Doctor of Science and Didactics (DSD), and J. M. Tanner with a Doctor of Mathematics and Didactics (DMD).[84] Those who passed the examination would be awarded the Bachelor of Didactics degree. Maeser recognized the board’s right to confer such degrees but told Benjamin Cluff that such titles were not very important. He would much rather be called “Brother” than “Doctor,” writing, “As for myself, titles and diplomas are of no consequence, as I have grown old in my calling by the name of ‘Brother Maeser’, even as I trust, affectionately known by that name among the youth of Zion, and hope will be remembered by that name, after I have gone behind the veil.”[85]

Maeser’s spring circuit tour strengthened his belief in “the necessity of not only more frequent and extended, but also more protracted visits, especially in our Academies, where less experienced principals and teachers require longer and more thorough consultation meetings.”[86] This meant BYA would need a new principal, but a replacement for Maeser was not readily apparent. Talmage was heading up the academy in Salt Lake, and discussions had already begun with Benjamin Cluff, who was studying at the University of Michigan. In March, Maeser had written Cluff, encouraging him not to spend too much more time back east; “however, your own free choice will not be done violence to.” His greater concern was that Cluff’s “long stay . . . not imbue [him] with a preference for eastern methods and notions in opposition to the educational system which under the supervision of the Priesthood and the Son of God is developing in Zion.”[87] He did not believe that completing a degree there would be particularly helpful given how the Church educational system was developing. Cluff chose to stay at Michigan until his graduation with a BS in June 1890. In the meantime, Maeser continued to wear two hats—that of principal of BYA and superintendent of Church Schools.

Maeser was suspicious of educational training outside of the Church educational system. He had expressed to Abraham O. Smoot that “all the young men who return from the east should unlearn some erroneous notions, before they should take charge here.”[88] Apparently, Cluff wrote Maeser in May of 1889 suggesting that his education in the East was not superior to “our home educational system.” This pleased Maeser, who teased him by saying, “Sensible people are those whose opinions agree with our own.”[89] At the same time, however, Maeser wrote to President Woodruff that it would not be wise “to place any man into such a responsible position as the principalship of the BY Academy is, on coming directly from the East, before we have ascertained to what extent his spirit and methods have been influenced by his eastern sojourn.”[90] Maeser suggested that Cluff be his deputy until he was ready to become the principal of the academy, even though he believed that Cluff was preferable to anyone else he knew.

Regarding those seeking to go east for higher education, Maeser would later prophesy, “The time will come, and you will live to see it, I may not, but it will surely come, when the tide will set in from the other way; and they will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south to be educated by the learned in Zion.”[91]

The principal’s May report reinforced Maeser’s belief in the importance of Brigham Young Academy:

I should, therefore, be unappreciative of all the kindness shown me by the authorities, fellow-teachers, students and the people, and be ungrateful to my God for His blessings and support, if today, I should not place myself on record as being conscious that the Brigham Young Academy has been a chosen instrument in the hands of the God of Israel to plant the seed for an educational system that will spread its ramifications throughout the borders of Zion, penetrate with its benign influence every fireside of the Saints, and open to our youth the avenues to all intelligence, knowledge and power, that are necessary for them to attain in the glorious future of the Latter-day work, foretold by the prophets. Amen—Karl G. Maeser, Principal.[92]

In his December principal’s report, Maeser introduced an image that seemed to fit his vision of the role of Brigham Young Academy especially well. He announced that the General Board of Education had recognized it as “the Latter-day Saints’ Normal College.” It was so designated not only because of the number of teachers it had prepared and placed but also because

the B.Y. Academy is the pioneer and prototype of all recently started Church schools. . . . Like a banyan tree that spreads its branches far and wide to take roots for themselves, the B. Y. Academy has seen of late similar institutions springing up throughout Zion, conducted by its pupils, organized after its pattern, and united with it by one of the great authorities of the church.

If our struggles in the past have not been in vain; if our faith in the stability of the B.Y. Academy has been verified by its prosperity; if our hope for the future development is resting on substantial ground, let us give thanks and glory to Him who has been with this institution throughout all the changing scenes of its existence, and will not forsake it if the Board and Faculty will serve Him in sincerity and in truth.[93]

The banyan tree drops roots from its branches that turn into independent but connected trees. This became a clear symbol of the Church educational system sending out roots to the farthest reaches of the Church, where new schools were organized according to the pattern of the parent trunk—“a whole forest coming from one tree,” [94] Brigham Young Academy. Maeser did not intend the schools to be identical to but patterned after BYA, “each one assuming the characteristics of individual growth.”[95] He saw a great difference between unity and uniformity;[96] the former was to be cultivated as fully as possible, while the latter was to be required only when circumstances demanded it.[97]

After presenting a lecture about Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi[98] for the Utah County Teachers Association,[99] Maeser began visiting the northern Church schools, but he faced religious intolerance. In his detailed report to Wilford Woodruff, he described the horrible treatment and accommodations he was given in McCammon, Idaho, because he was “not of their kind.”[100] Prejudice against the Church in Idaho had become severe. The Idaho Territorial Legislature had passed a law that prohibited anyone who even believed in polygamy or who belonged to an organization that advocated it from voting or serving in public responsibilities, including teaching in the public schools. The Church challenged this law; Samuel Davis, a monogamous member of the Church, registered to vote and was arrested for falsely swearing the voting oath. He was later convicted and sentenced to pay five hundred dollars and serve 250 days in jail. Davis made an appeal to the Supreme Court that was denied in a unanimous vote.[101] Political pressures in Washington pushed the federal government to make this decision apply to all US territories.

Antipolygamy and Free School Laws

In 1890, the antipolygamy pressures reached their culmination. The LDS Church had been disenfranchised by the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887, but the law was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1890.[102] This decision justified the seizing of Church property, including temples; requiring an antipolygamy oath from voters, jurors, and public officials; and replacing the elected superintendent of district schools with a government-appointed commissioner. The money from the seized Church property was to be spent on public education. As a result, increased interest was given to the free school movement.

In January 1890, Maeser complained to George Reynolds, secretary to the Church Board of Education, that some Utah legislators believed that a free school law would likely be passed: “It is incomprehensible to me how a Latter-day Saint can favor such a move under the present state of affairs in the territory. The present school law is bad enough already and there is no need of playing into the hands of our enemies more than we have done already.”[103] Utah’s first Free Public School Act was passed in 1890,[104] and its impact on the Church schools was quickly felt.[105]

In September, Wilford Woodruff drafted the Manifesto, declaring the Church’s intention to abide by the laws of the United States and to cease the practice of plural marriage. In the October 1890 general conference, the Manifesto was sustained as the Church’s official position, but it would be yet another year before the entire First Presidency would preside over general conference in person. In December of 1891, the BYA board would petition the federal government to return some of the seized Church property that was intended for the academy. In doing this, the board had to declare that it had been in operation since 1876 and that it served not only Mormon children,

but from time to time have taken and welcomed alike as students children from parents of non-members as well as from parents of the members of said Church. They show that at no time has the doctrine of polygamy or of plural marriage been taught in said school; nor has any doctrine tenet or dogma of any kind ever been taught or inculcated in said school contrary to good morals, public policy or the laws of the United States, or of the Territory of Utah.[106]

Maeser and Cluff at the Academy

It was also in the summer of 1890 that Benjamin Cluff completed his studies at Michigan and returned to Provo. Before leaving Michigan, he had attempted to calm Maeser’s concerns by promising that if he were appointed principal of BYA, he would introduce “only such changes from time to time as the progress of the times seems to demand, and not swerving from the main principles as laid down and carried out by you. My studies in this University have only tended to increase my confidence in your methods of discipline and instruction.”[107]

Upon his return to the academy, however, he sensed “a rather antagonistic spirit” toward him, especially from Maeser. He supposed that Maeser was fearful of the “new notions” he might be bringing from the East. He also believed that the morale of the teachers at BYA was low and that the school was suffering because Maeser was required to spend so much time away as the superintendent.[108] Cluff said, “After a month or two I found it necessary for the good of the school to be more assertive and positive.”[109]

Maeser perceived the circumstances a little differently. In September, he wrote, “I found that there is a feeling of estrangement springing up between Brother Benj. Cluff and some teachers in the BY Academy, which if not remedied, forbodes no good for the prosperity of this institution.”[110] Maeser wrote that in October he brought the faculty together and proposed Cluff “as Assistant Principal with full authority to act in my absence.” This seemed to remove the difficulties, and he noted, “Bro. Cluff is checking his impetuosity as much as he can.”[111]

It was also near the end of 1890, however, that BYA gained independence from the Young family. This meant that academy decisions could be made much more quickly. It also meant that property that Brigham had intended to be donated to the academy could now be sold, and work on the new Brigham Young Academy building could resume. In 1891, 120 of the academy’s 356 students were preparing to be teachers,[112] so board members felt an urgency to complete the building as quickly as possible. They feared BYA might be losing its preeminence in Church education because so much energy had been directed toward education in Salt Lake. Don Carlos Young was reengaged as the architect and, in consultation with Maeser, drafted new plans for the building.[113] Construction began again in the spring in the hope that it would be ready in January 1892. Though Maeser felt he had “to watch matters closely [so] that the Brigham Young Academy may not lose its anchorage,”[114] his concerns about Cluff seemed to lessen for a few months until Talmage recommended that Cluff be appointed the head of the LDS College (formerly the Salt Lake Academy) so that Talmage could spend his time preparing the proposed LDS university.[115] In March 1891, Wilford Woodruff wrote to the BYA board asking for Cluff’s release. This raised great concern among the board, and Maeser wrote to President Woodruff suggesting that the removal of Cluff would significantly harm BYA: “It would not be wise to break down a well tried institution for the sake of building up an experimental one.”[116] A delegation including Maeser, Abraham O. Smoot, Harvey Cluff, and Benjamin Cluff traveled to Salt Lake to discuss the matter with the First Presidency of the Church. After an extensive discussion, President Woodruff and the board “cheerfully withdrew” Cluff’s call.

In April, after hearing both Maeser and Cluff present theories upon which the academy should be conducted, the BYA board unanimously reappointed Maeser as principal for the next year, with Cluff as assistant principal. For the next few months, Maeser and Cluff often shared the lectern, pulpit, or classroom. They both presented papers at the Utah County Teachers Association meeting, Davis County Summer Institute, and the BYA summer school for teachers. But no matter how supportive they were of each other’s ideas in these settings, discontent was brewing under the surface.

In August, Maeser reported to George Reynolds that Cluff was refusing to act as assistant principal and was attending only to the Normal Department, in charge of the education of prospective teachers.[117] The academy was in a “terrible muddle financially,” and Maeser claimed that Cluff’s “self will” was not helping matters.[118] On August 31, the BYA board called a special session, meeting at the Smoot home with Presidents Woodruff and Cannon because Cluff had “tendered his resignation. . . . He stated it was owing to a lack of unity between the Principal and himself.” An intense three-hour discussion followed, concluding with the board’s refusal to accept Cluff’s resignation and their decision that Maeser would “continue as Principal til the opening of the second Semester in Jan 1892 in the new Building when he would retire” and Cluff would become the new principal.[119] This decision was accepted by all present.

Expanding Education in the Church

Maeser’s plate was full to overflowing. The local challenges he faced as principal of the academy would have been difficult enough, but he was also carrying the weight of the entire Church’s academy system. He reported that forty Church schools had been established by April 1891.[120] He was attempting to visit struggling young academies, write curricular materials for religion classes, and calm the tensions between rival communities like Huntington and Castle Dale, Cedar City and Beaver, and Juárez and Díaz; in addition, he had to deal with the problem of a Church school being advertised in Spanish Fork without the approval of the Utah Stake. He continued his extensive correspondence throughout the Church, published articles, offered speeches, raised money for the new BYA building, examined young teachers for Church licensure, and set policy for the Church General Board’s approval.

In 1891, the Church placed great emphasis on publishing educational materials. The Juvenile Instructor became the official organ of the Church educational system, and textbooks such as James Talmage’s Domestic Science were encouraged. The Church’s vision of an education that fully integrated the gospel with all academic subjects was demonstrated in the content of Juvenile Instructor. This Church magazine carried a wide range of articles on varied academic and religious topics—from shellfish to Solomon, from the Salem witch trials to the Sea of Galilee. Articles about exotic lands and extinct species were published side by side with articles about Moroni, Joseph, and Jeremiah. Samples of great literature and original poetry accompanied instruction on fossils, whales, and Persian architecture.

Maeser published regular reports in the Juvenile Instructor to give general information, encouragement, and policy clarification to Church educational personnel and the general Church membership. This helped diminish the ever-increasing demand for individual correspondence. Under the combined leadership of Benjamin Cluff and Maeser at BYA, several student publications began in 1891. The first was a weekly newsletter entitled the B. Y. A. Student. It adopted the Pestalozzian motto, “Self-effort educates.” In September, two journals began: the Business Journal by the Commercial Department and the Normal by the Normal Department.[121]

The October 1891 general conference finally brought all three members of the First Presidency together in a public meeting for the first time in seven years. Some speakers addressed false reports published about the Church’s compliance with the Manifesto and other addresses and a resolution affirmed that church and state were separate in Utah. President Woodruff expressed gratitude for the clemency granted Joseph F. Smith and other Church members.

Maeser spoke at the Founders’ Day ceremony at BYA and then left to visit the schools in the southern part of the territory, including those in Arizona. He returned in time to hold BYA’s farewell celebration to the ZCMI warehouse. In December, the Normal published a summary of a lecture he gave at BYA in which he distinguished between “management and discipline.” A properly prepared teacher, according to Maeser, not only teaches classes well “when all the work has been laid out for him” but, like the musician who both composes and performs, organizes the work of the school. This work involved the intellectual, moral, and spiritual development of the students. Modern education, however, “sadly neglected the spiritual part of man’s being.” Of course, “a sea captain cannot be tested in fair weather. Neither can a teacher.” They prove themselves in the storms of reality. Maeser continued by prophesying that “a new educational system [was] springing up, although, as it were, in an embryonic condition, as yet” that would “continue to grow until it overshadows the earth by its benign influence, having its principles, plans and methods in conformity with the spirit and aims of the great Latter-day Work.”[122]

New Academy Building

Finally, on January 4, 1892, the new academy building was officially opened for use. For several days, people had gathered by train, carriage, and horse from throughout the Territory. At 11:00 a.m. the faculty and students assembled in the old academy building, the ZCMI warehouse. Together they sang “the Doxology,” and Maeser “pronounced a benediction upon the old premises.”[123] Then, to the accompaniment of the “Enterprise Band” of Provo, they formed a column, two by two, behind Brother Maeser and marched up Academy Avenue to the new facility, the finest in the territory. Along the way, Maeser was heard to say, “The old man taught in a cabin, but they have built a palace for his boys.”[124]

The entire First Presidency of the Church was present, and territorial governor Arthur Lloyd Thomas and Judge Blackburn attended. Apostles Franklin D. Richards and Francis M. Lyman, along with the BYA board members, were seated on the stand. The Provo Tabernacle Choir sang the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah, and President George Q. Cannon offered the dedicatory prayer, expressing gratitude for those who had sacrificed so much. He prayed “that all who shall come within its walls, may desire to be studious; that it may be a noted place for the education of the young, and that the graduates may become noted for the soundness of their teachings and the correctness of their principles.”[125]

Other speeches were given; President Woodruff charged that the teachers “should not forget to teach the students that there is a God in heaven. It is the duty of parents and teachers to teach the children to pray and honor God, and teach them they are here on a mission and that this life is not the end of their existence.” President Cannon warned “the students against entertaining a feeling of superiority over those who had not received the advantage of education.”[126]

But the highlight of the ceremony was the emotion-filled farewell speech offered by Maeser, the academy’s outgoing principal:

There are two periods in a man’s labors when circumstances seem to dictate to him the advisability of making as few words as possible, they are at the beginning and at the end of his work. . . . I am about to surrender my office as the principal of this academy into other hands. . . . There is a Past remindful of struggles and victories, of sorrows and joys, of small beginnings and astonishing developments, claiming recognition; there is a Present beaming with gratitude for past achievements, with joy for beautiful surroundings, and pride in the general appreciation, giving us an object lesson, and there is a future full of fond anticipations for continuous prosperity, of elements of increased usefulness and of prophecies for the participation in Zion’s glory, enjoining upon us the duty of redoubled efforts.

Maeser also reminded his listeners of the two founding principles of the academy: from the Prophet Joseph, to teach correct principles and let the people govern themselves; and from Brigham Young, not to teach even the alphabet or the multiplication tables without the Spirit of God. Maeser insisted that any deviation from these principles “would lead inevitably to disastrous results, and, therefore, the Brigham Young Academy has nailed her colors to the mast.” He recognized that the word “farewell” was the hardest word for him to pronounce for several reasons, but mostly because of the love he felt for the institution and its students. He then graciously thanked the academy’s board, faculty, and students, as well as all those who had sacrificed so much to keep the academy alive and flourishing. He invited them to bestow on his successor, President Cluff, “the same confidence, trust, and affection, which you so lavishly have shown me, and the seed of such love will bring you a rich harvest.” He then concluded:

And now a last word to thee, my dear beloved Academy. I leave the chair to which the Prophet Brigham had called me, and upon which the Prophets John and Wilford have sustained me, and resign it to my successor and, may he, and others after him, all of whom will be likely more efficient than I was, but forgive me this one pride of my heart that I may flatter myself in saying: None can ever be more faithful.

God bless the Brigham Young Academy, Amen.[127]


[1] Franklin D. Richards, journal, July 29, 1887. See Richard T. Turley Jr., ed., MS 1215 4 36 222, 1, CHL. Selected Collections form the Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Provo, UT: BYU Press, 2002), DVD pt. 34.

[2] See chapter 12 regarding the details of the fire.

[3] Maeser described the dream in his address at the dedication of the new academy building. “Dedicatory Exercises at the B.Y. Academy,” Territorial Enquirer, January 4, 1892, 1.

[4] John Taylor, in Journal of Discourses (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854–86), 20:359.

[5] Taylor, in Journal of Discourses, 20:359–60.

[6] “Brigham Young Academy,” Deseret News, November 9, 1881, 1.

[7] “The B.Y. Academy,” Deseret News, November 23, 1881, 8.

[8] “Brigham Young Academy Examination,” Deseret News, November 19, 1884, 14.

[9] Maeser formed the Polysophical Society the second term of his second year at the academy to promote and discuss literature, scientific research, music and the fine arts. Weekly meetings were held under student leadership and membership was voluntary. See “Doings of the Polysophical Society,” Academic Review, October 1884, 1.

[10] “The Academy,” Academic Review, October 1884, 3. In this issue, a lecture given by Maeser was also included outlining the arguments that Francis Bacon was the author of some of Shakespeare’s plays. He proposed the arguments and concluded, “The question is not yet solved, however, to the satisfaction of either party” (4).

[11] Each of these topics was reported in the Academic Review between 1884 and 1885.

[12] “Brigham Young Academy,” Deseret News, July 3, 1878, 1.

[13] “Education in Utah County,” Deseret News, July 2, 1884, 13.

[14] “The Seventh District School Tax Question,” Deseret News, January 7, 1885, 8.

[15] “The Tax Case,” Salt Lake Tribune, December 18, 1884, 4.

[16] “The Seventh District School Tax,” Deseret News, December 24, 1884.

[17] “The Seventh District School Controversy,” Deseret News, January 7, 1885, 1.

[18] “More of the School Tax Fight,” Deseret News, January 14, 1885, 1.

[19] “The School Tax Continued,” Deseret News, January 7, 1885, 13.

[20] “More of the School Tax Fight,” 1.

[21] “The School Tax Question,” Deseret News, January 14, 1885, 14.

[22] “The School Tax Controversy,” Deseret News, January 21, 1885, 18.

[23] “School Tax Trial,” Academic Review, January 1885, 27.

[24] James Talmage, journal, July 23, 1885, LTPSC.

[25] L. John Nuttall to Karl G. Maeser, September 10, 1885, vault MS 790, box 4, bk. 3, no. 426. LTPSC.

[26] “Academy Established at Fillmore,” Deseret News, November 18, 1885, 15.

[27] Maeser to Nuttall, January 6, 1886, box 3, folder 13.

[28] Maeser to Nuttall, June 17, 1886, box 3, folder 15.

[29] Maeser to Nuttall, November 20, 1886, box 3, folder 18.

[30] “Brigham Young Academy,” Territorial Enquirer, May 25, 1886, 2.

[31] “Principal’s Report,” Territorial Enquirer, December 24, 1886, 1.

[32] “Brigham Young Academy: Principal’s Report,” Territorial Enquirer, May 24, 1887, 1.

[33] “Principal’s Report,” Territorial Enquirer, December 23, 1887, 1.

[34] Karl G. Maeser to John Taylor, April 14, 1886, UA 1094, box 1, folder 3, LTPSC.

[35] Maeser to Nuttall, May 28, 1886, box 4, item 97.

[36] Maeser to Nuttall, August 21, 1886, box 3, folder 15.

[37] Maeser to Nuttall, November 20, 1886, box 3, folder 18.

[38] Maeser to Nuttall, January 22, 1887.

[39] Karl G. Maeser to Angus Cannon, February 12, 1887, UA 1094, box 1, folder 3, LTPSC.

[40] Maeser to Nuttall, February 22, 1887.

[41] Journal History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, April 5, 1887, 2, CHL.

[42] Maeser to Nuttall, May 4, 1887.

[43] The family version claims that he was offered a position at the University of Deseret. It is more likely, however, that it was an offer to be the full-time principal at the Salt Lake Academy.

[44] Ernest L. Wilkinson and W. Cleon Skousen, eds., Brigham Young University: A School of Destiny (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1976), 85.

[45] Maeser to Taylor, May 17, 1887, no. 28.

[46] Cited in “Utah News,” Millennial Star, July 4, 1887, 422.

[47] Franklin D. Richards, journal, July 29, 1887, MS 1215 4 36 222, CHL.

[48] Richards, journal, August 18, 1887.

[49] Wilford Woodruff, “An Epistle,” Deseret News, October 12, 1887, 617.

[50] “Sevier Stake Conference,” Deseret News, December 21, 1887, 11.

[51] Karl G. Maeser to Wilford Woodruff, November 26, 1887, UA 1094, box 1, folder 3, LTPSC.

[52] Maeser to Woodruff, March 26, 1888, box 1, folder 4.

[53] “General Conference,” Millennial Star, May 21, 1888, 327.

[54] Maeser to Woodruff, April 17, 1888, no. 30.

[55] “General Conference,” Millennial Star, May 14, 1888, 306.

[56] Wilford Woodruff to the Weber Stake Presidency, June 3, 1888, cited in Karl G. Maeser, School and Fireside (Provo, UT: Skelton, 1898), 185.

[57] Richards, journal, June 11, 1888.

[58] Maeser to Woodruff, June 22, 1888, no. 36.

[59] Maeser to Woodruff, July 2, 1888, no. 39.

[60] Maeser to Woodruff, July 16, 1888, no. 44.

[61] Maeser to Woodruff, July 23, 1888, no. 48. He also asked for two copies of the Book of Mormon that he could use to work with. He didn’t want to use his own because it was “too dear to me through many reminiscences since 1855.”

[62] Maeser to Woodruff, July 30, 1888, no. 49.

[63] See Brian W. Ricks, “Closing the Church University in 1894: Embracing or Accommodating Secularized Education” (PhD diss., Brigham Young University, 2012).

[64] Talmage, journal, November 12, 1888, LTPSC.

[65] Maeser to Woodruff, November 24, 1888.

[66] Karl G. Maeser to Angus Vance, Oak Creek, UT, December 27, 1888, BYU Special Collections, UA 1094, box 3, no. 57, LTPSC.

[67] Karl G. Maeser to J. W. Brown, December 25, 1888, UA 1094, box 3, LTPSC.

[68] Maeser to Brown, February 15, 1889.

[69] See Maeser’s comments in Bannock Stake Academy minutes, November 17, 1890, CHL.

[70] Karl G. Maeser to Joseph G. Nelson, December 31, 1888, UA 1094, box 3, LTPSC.

[71] Karl G. Maeser to Jedediah Taylor, December 10, 1888, UA 1094, box 3, LTPSC.

[72] Maeser to Taylor, December 26, 1888.

[73] Karl G. Maeser to Jesse N. Smith, Snowflake, AZ, December 25, 1888, UA 1094, box 3, LTPSC.

[74] Karl G. Maeser to S. O. Crosby, January 19, 1889, UA 1094, box 3, LTPSC.

[75] Karl G. Maeser to Alan R. Cutler, January 19, 1889, UA 1094, box 3, LTPSC.

[76] Karl G. Maeser to Nephi Savage, November 1, 1888, UA 1094, box 3, LTPSC.

[77] Maeser to Savage, November 1, 1888.

[78] Karl G. Maeser to Alan R. Cutler, February 4, 1889, UA 1094, box 3, LTPSC.

[79] Karl G. Maeser to Joseph Anderson, February 5, 1889, UA 1094, box 3, LTPSC.

[80] Karl G. Maeser to George Reynolds, February 2, 1889, UA 1094, box 1, folder 5, LTPSC.

[81] Maeser to Reynolds, November 1888, no. 23.

[82] “Educational,” Deseret News, April 13, 1889, 22.

[83] General Board of Education meeting minutes, April 9, 1889, UA 1376, LTPSC.

[84] “A New Feature,” Deseret News, May 18, 1889, 11.

[85] Karl G. Maeser to Benjamin Cluff, May 16, 1889, UA 1094, box 3, LTPSC. See also a letter to his son Reinhard, May 11, 1889, UA 1094, box 3, 346, LTPSC: “I for myself care nothing for them, and shall only use my DLD in official documents where I am obliged to, being known and I trust affectionately known, throughout the youth of Zion by the name of ‘Brother Maeser.’”

[86] Maeser to Woodruff, April 4, 1889, box 3.

[87] Maeser to Cluff, March 17, 1889.

[88] Benjamin Cluff, diary, April 1890, MS 1667, April box 1, folder 1, 1890, 122. Smoot dismissed Maeser’s concern as jealousy: “he cannot help it, poor man.”

[89] Maeser to Cluff, May 16, 1889.

[90] Maeser to Woodruff, June 12, 1889.

[91] The Normal, October 21, 1892, 14.

[92] “The Full Text: Prof. K.G. Maeser’s Report,” Utah Enquirer, May 28, 1889, 1.

[93] “Brigham Young Academy,” Utah Enquirer, December 24, 1889.

[94] See Maeser’s BYA graduation address, “The B.Y. Academy: Commencement Exercises Held,” Utah Enquirer, May 23, 1891, 4.

[95] See “Brigham Young Academy: Principal’s Report for the Fourteenth Academic Year,” Utah Enquirer, May 27, 1890, 3.

[96] See, for example, his address at the Convention of the Church Schools, August 14, 1893, recorded in “The Church School Convention: Church School Papers no. 23,” Juvenile Instructor, September 1, 1893, 551–55.

[97] This aspect of Maeser’s philosophy seems to have been overlooked by many. See, for example, Ernest L. Wilkinson, ed., Brigham Young University: The First One Hundred Years (Provo, UT: Brigham Yong University Press, 1976), 1:218–19, where he is portrayed as an “adherent of Prussian methodology of education, conservative, and sober.” The Prussian methodology Maeser embraced was Pestalozzian and far different from the teaching methodology rigidly imposed in Prussia following the failed revolution. The trust and responsibility he placed upon the students to govern themselves was an inherent part of his philosophy as superintendent. Principals at various academies were allowed great flexibility to adapt the schools to the needs of their various localities.

[98] For more about Pestalozzi’s educational philosophy, see chapter 2, “Pestalozzi, Revolution, and Reaktion.”

[99] See Karl G. Maeser, “UCTA—The System of Pestalozzi,” Utah Enquirer, September 24, 1889.

[100] Maeser to Woodruff, November 30, 1889, no. 44.

[101] Davis v. Beason, 133 U.S. 333 (1890).

[102] Mormon Church v. United States, 136 U.S. 1 (1890)

[103] Maeser to Reynolds, January 25, 1890, folder 6, LTPSC.

[104] John Clifton Moffitt, The History of Public Education in Utah (Provo, UT: Moffitt, 1946), 116.

[105] See Maeser to Woodruff, September 30, 1890, box 3, LTPSC: “As was to be expected, the establishment of the Free school system has not been without material influence upon our church schools, so that the four seminaries at Mt. Pleasant, Springville, 14th Ward, and Fremont had to be discontinued by decision of their respective Boards, and the Stake Academies at Beaver, Snow Flake, and St. Joseph do not intend to open the ensuing school year for lack of funds. The Seminary at Samaria has been combined with the Stake Academy at Malad.”

[106] “Another Claim on Church Property,” Deseret News, December 26, 1891, 25–26.

[107] Cluff to Maeser, April 21, 1890, box 1, folder 6, no. 7.

[108] Benjamin Cluff, diary, MS 1667, 134–35, LTPSC.

[109] Maeser to Reynolds, September 20, 1890, no. 37.

[110] Maeser to Reynolds, September 20, 1890.

[111] Maeser to Reynolds, October 10, 1890, UA 1094, no. 38.

[112] Maeser to Reynolds, February 23, 1891, folder 7, no. 10, LTPSC.

[113] BYA board minutes, December 18, 1890, UA 6, box 10, folder 4, LTPSC.

[114] Maeser to Reynolds, February 23, 1891, in Wilkinson, Brigham Young University: The First One Hundred Years, 1:217.

[115] See James Talmage, journal, March 18, 1891.

[116] Maeser to Woodruff, March 21, 1891, folder 7, no. 36, LTPSC.

[117] Maeser to Reynolds, August 19, 1891, no. 24.

[118] Maeser to Reynolds, July 21, 1891, no. 22.

[119] BYA board minutes, August 31, 1891, UA 6, box 10, folder 4, 89, LTPSC.

[120] Maeser to Woodruff, April 2, 1891, no. 37.

[121] The Normal kept the motto “Self-effort educates.” The Business Journal adopted the motto “Let every man be occupied.”

[122] “Management and Discipline,” Normal, December 7, 1891, 52–53.

[123] Juvenile Instructor, February 1, 1892, 97.

[124] Alma P. Burton, “Karl G. Maeser, Mormon Educator” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1950), 101, citing J. Jenson, “History of Brigham Young University” LD 571 .B672 J46 1942b, Brigham Young University, 33. It is also possible that this story is tied to a commencement address Maeser gave on May 20, 1892. “Sixteen years ago a man went down in the wilderness to start a farm. He made a little log house, grubbed up the sage brush and planted his crops. . . . Finally that log house was removed and the sons of the old farmer build a fine house. We are now in this fine house. God continues to give his rain and sunshine. The fields and meadows and orchards are increasing in beauty and multiplying in their capacity for bearing.” “Commencement: Dr. K.G. Maeser’s Eloquent Address,” Daily Enquirer, May 20, 1892, 1.

[125] “K.G. Maeser’s Eloquent Address,” Daily Enquirer, January 4, 1892, 1.

[126] “K.G. Maeser’s Eloquent Address,” 1.

[127] Karl G. Maeser, “Final Address,” Normal, January 15, 1892, 82–83.