"The Teacher's Work Is Done"

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

February 19, 1901, was a cold, miserable day in Salt Lake City. Approximately four inches of snow covered the ground, but the Salt Lake Tabernacle was filled with four thousand guests awaiting the funeral of Dr. Karl Gottfried Maeser, who had passed away quietly in his sleep four days earlier after a full day’s work. Though he had retired from Brigham Young Academy nine years earlier, classes at the academy were canceled to allow students and faculty to attend the service. A special train of eleven cars filled to overflowing was scheduled to accommodate those who desired to pay their respects, and a fund was raised by the citizens of Provo to help pay the fare for students who couldn’t otherwise afford to make the ninety-mile roundtrip. Upon their arrival, the academy band played while the passengers, behind banners of white and blue, formed a procession first to the Maeser home to view the remains, then to the Tabernacle for the service. The Deseret News reported, “No event in the history of the Brigham Young Academy has created so profound an impression as the death of the man who created the school. These teachers and students did not know how much a part of their lives Dr. Maeser was until they were called to part with him; and curiously enough even students who had never been under his tuition shared in their feeling.”[1]

The impact of this funeral, however, was felt far beyond Provo and the Brigham Young Academy. In Salt Lake City, the first and only resolution passed by the Utah State Senate that afternoon was to “adjourn until after the funeral services and that its members proceed in a body to the Tabernacle to attend the same.”[2] Before the resolution was unanimously passed, it was recorded that “not only had Utah lost a sterling and noble citizen, but one who, by his power of imparting instruction, had left behind him more eloquent ministers, more distinguished statesmen, authors and poets than any other man who had ever come into the State.” The Latter-day Saints’ College suspended classes to allow the students and faculty to attend. In a formal statement praising Dr. Maeser’s “character and labors,” the college declared, “Each one of us experiences in the departure of this noble and pure spirit, a personal bereavement like unto that which is felt at the loss of members of our own families.” Classes were also suspended at the University of Utah. It rendered a public expression “of its appreciation of him as a co-laborer and a benefactor of our commonwealth. . . . His name is among the heroes of our institution, who with little hope of reward lent their energies to its need in the days of its feebleness.”[3]

The service followed the manner reserved for only the most important Church leaders or state dignitaries. At 2:00 p.m., the stand was filled with General Authorities and local leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Tabernacle Choir sang. Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were pallbearers, and the speakers on the program included James E. Talmage, George H. Brimhall, Reed Smoot, Heber J. Grant, Anthon H. Lund, and George Q. Cannon. The prayers were also offered by Apostles.

This occasion brought mourners from all parts of Utah and beyond. Letters, poems, and tributes began pouring into newspapers, magazines, and Church headquarters. For those who could not make the journey to Salt Lake City, many towns and cities held their own memorial services to express gratitude to their beloved teacher, brother, and friend. Former student Annie Pike wrote:

Thine was the work of head and heart, the work of heart and hand—

The circle of thy greatness we may not yet understand.[4]

Come lay his books and papers by, he shall not need them more,

The ink shall dry upon his pen, so softly close the door.

His tired hands, his locks of white and like the winter’s sun,

Hath lain to peaceful rest tonight,—the teacher’s work is done.[5]

The Salt Lake Tribune wrote, “It has been rare in the history of this city when a man has been given greater tributes of love and esteem than those tendered to the late Dr. Maeser yesterday afternoon.” At the service, for example, Apostle Reed Smoot, a former pupil of Brother Maeser related that he had “never received a promotion either in church or business affairs, but what he attributed it to the man who first taught him the rudiments of learning and who afterward gave him counsel and good advice until death called him away.” Apostle Heber J. Grant, future President of the Church, added, “If the conversion of Karl G. Maeser had been all that had been accomplished by the opening up of the German mission, all the time and the money would have been well spent.” President George Q. Cannon of the Church’s First Presidency declared that at that time “the effects of the good work done by Dr. Maeser . . . could not be properly estimated.”[6] He believed it would take generations to appreciate his contribution.

Brother Maeser would have been overwhelmed by such a fuss made for him. He believed he had only done his duty and nothing more. He never earned much money; he wasn’t a General Authority of the Church; he wasn’t a well-known political figure. He was a teacher, but a teacher with a profound impact. He loved his students and had an uncanny ability to inspire them to become more than they could imagine of themselves.

Monument Erected by Former Students

Each student from the Brigham Young Academy who attended the service wore a simple white bow over the left breast. A special committee was sent to line the grave tenderly with flowers so that when the coffin was lowered into it, “it seemed like a gateway to heaven.”[7] Almost immediately, the students began a special fund, first to erect a large but simple monument (built in 1908) over the place of Maeser’s grave, and then to construct a grand memorial building (built in 1911) on Temple Hill in Provo, which would become the first building on the present campus of Brigham Young University.

At the dedication of the monument, George Brimhall, president of Brigham Young Academy, proclaimed:

If every atom of this monument could speak there would go up a reverberating shout of gladness for the privilege of standing sentinel at the tomb of our noble dead. . . . Dr. Karl G. Maeser, who, under the prophetic call and inspired guidance of that prince of pioneers, Brigham Young, became an epoch-making character in education, the father of a system based upon the principles of harmonious growth and eternal progress. God found him, fashioned him for the place, fitted him for his missions, and he filled them.

We glance backward and see the hand of conditional destiny reaching down, and the hand of free-will obedience reaching up; they are clasped and a human soul is led up the stair-way of a successful life. We see the diligent German student; the normal graduate; the private tutor of nobility; the public school principal; the German patriot; the Mormon convert; the outcast for conscience’s sake; the missionary in England; the missionary in the United States; the music teacher, winning bread in a strange land; the public school teacher in Utah; the private tutor of President Young’s family; the Gospel ambassador to his Fatherland; the first Principal of the Brigham Young Academy; the General Superintendent of Church Schools; the Heaven-commissioned Patriarch, ever and always, a clean, kind, courageous man, having the implicit confidence of his superiors, the esteem of his peers, and the love of his subordinates.[8]

Maeser as University Founder

Karl Gottfried Maeser has rightly been called the spiritual architect not only of Brigham Young University but also of the educational system of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What Brigham Young did for the settlement of the western United States, Karl Maeser did for the education of the West. He combined a unique academic preparation—cultivated during one of the most enlightened periods of German history—and a progressive pedagogy with an unwavering faith in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

As the first superintendent of Church schools, Maeser assisted in the founding and maintenance of hundreds of religion classes, the seminaries and institutes system, and over fifty academies and schools across North America. With the development and expansion of the public school system, most of the Church academies were sold or given to their respective states; but seven have gone on to become institutions of higher education: Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah; Brigham Young University–Idaho (formerly Ricks College) in Rexburg; Weber State University in Ogden, Utah; LDS Business College in Salt Lake City; Snow College in Ephraim, Utah; Dixie State College in St. George, Utah; and Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher. The largest of these, Brigham Young University–Provo, continues to be maintained by the Church. As one of the largest private universities in the United States, it has over thirty thousand students from over one hundred countries, studying more than 130 different majors, and the university offers degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. The Church Educational System that grew out of Maeser’s efforts currently serves more than 740,000 students across the world.

Maeser as Author

Maeser published only one book, School and Fireside—and he was reluctant to do so—but he wrote hundreds of articles, poems, pamphlets, and translations and delivered thousands of sermons and lectures. Though there are records of hundreds of addresses he gave, no prior systematic collection of his works has been found. Hopefully, such a collection will soon be available. Unfortunately, many of these addresses were merely summarized or paraphrased by others. Most of his best-known sayings also suffer from being attributions by secondary sources. We have far too little that comes directly from his own pen.

Maeser translated twenty-nine hymns and a third of the Doctrine and Covenants into German, and he founded the Church’s German magazine, Der Stern (now called the Liahona). He collected or wrote hundreds of aphorisms—sentence-length sermons that could be drawn upon when needed:

Be yourself, but always your better self.[9]

Make the man within you your living ideal.[10]

Man grows with his higher aims.[11]

Nature is the best educator.[12]

School is a drill for the battle of life; if you fail in the drill you will fail in the battle.[13]

Every one of you, sooner or later, must stand at the fork of the road, and choose between personal interests and some principle of right.[14]

The exercise of authority without intelligent justice and kind consideration is tyranny, and obedience without consent of heart or brain is slavery.[15]

We can never give what we ourselves do not possess.[16]

Strive to be yourself that which you desire your children or pupils to be.[17]

The law is not made for true men and women but for criminals.[18]

Because a man does not steal while in prison does not make him honest.[19]

A slave does a thing because he must, a free man because he wills to do it.[20]

The strongest incentives to discipline are love and confidence.[21]

No teacher should teach by precept who cannot teach by example.[22]

Navigators do not take their reckoning from the flaming comet, but from the fixed stars.[23]

Knowledge is not power unless it is sustained by a character.[24]

Many who have attempted to describe Maeser have done so inaccurately. He was not an aristocrat of royal lineage, though he had a refined and commanding presence. His nobility was not by birth, but by character. He had a profound education, but it was built more upon his continual, diligent scholarship and service than it was by conforming to the requirements of a prestigious university. He was neither Prussian nor authoritarian; he had a disdain for tyranny at any level, especially religious or educational tyranny. His rules were not rigid, but his expectations were demanding. He did not require compliance to his will, but he provoked in his students the desire to be more than they were. He was not rigid in his thought or arrogant in his opinion, but he was tenaciously loyal to leaders of the Church and ever ready to humbly follow their counsel. His love for his students was renowned; he sought them out wherever he traveled.

Tributes by Students

Maeser was central in the preparation of teachers in the Church as well as in public schools. He was elected to participate in the Utah Constitutional Convention, and he helped establish the Utah Teachers’ Association. He also helped develop the public education system in Utah, including the establishment of “normal schools” (teacher preparation colleges) at the University of Utah and Brigham Young Academy. Southern Utah University in Cedar City also began as a normal school deeply influenced by Maeser. Among Maeser’s immediate students were three US senators, a justice of the US Supreme Court, congressmen and other statesmen, university presidents, General Authorities of the LDS Church, and hundreds of teachers and principals who would serve throughout the territory.

The greatest achievements of Karl G. Maeser were personal. He won the love and devotion of a large family and thousands of grateful students, many of whom testified that, next to their parents, he was the most influential person in their entire lives. This volume could not contain the recorded tributes of those he personally inspired. Such an outpouring of sincere expressions would not have been inspired by a rigid, authoritarian aristocrat.

For example, upon hearing of Maeser’s death, Elder James E. Talmage wrote the following in his journal:

This day is marked by an event of sad importance. While on the train I first heard a report afterward confirmed that our friend and brother,—almost my parent in affection indeed,—Dr. Karl G. Maeser, departed this life at 4 a.m. today. . . .There are few men in Israel whose demise would be mourned by a larger circle. Brother Maeser’s students are numbered by the many thousands, and he has endeared himself to the hearts of the Latter-day Saints throughout the world. His work has been a great one, and nobly has it been accomplished. I feel that he was assuredly fore-ordained to his labor as a teacher in Zion. His place is not to be taken by another.[25]

At the age of eighty-five in 1957, Amy Brown Lyman, who became general president of the Relief Society of the Church, director of the Church Welfare program, an advocate for women, and a member of the Utah House of Representatives, gave a glowing tribute to “the great and masterful teacher—my teacher.” She felt privileged to have felt “his guiding hand and the benefit of his inspiring example” and added, “Next to my own parents he has influenced my life most.”[26]

George Sutherland, another of Maeser’s students, never joined the Church but became a US senator and then a justice of the US Supreme Court. In his biography of Sutherland, Joel F. Paschal wrote, “He carried with him for the remainder of his days a vivid and grateful memory of Maeser, acknowledging always that the immigrant Saint had exerted an influence on his whole life which can not be exaggerated.”[27] In 1941, at the age of seventy-nine, Sutherland was still amazed at the breadth and depth of his former teacher’s knowledge:

He believed that scholastic attainments were better than riches, but that better than either were faith, love, charity, clean living, clean thinking, loyalty, tolerance and all the other attributes that combine to constitute that most precious of all possessions, good character. . . . He had a wonderful grasp of human nature and seemed to understand almost intuitively the moral and intellectual qualities of his students. He saw the shortcomings as well as the excellences of his pupils, and while he never hesitated to point them out—sometimes in a genial, humorous way—it was always with such an undercurrent of kindly interest that no criticism ever left a sting. He was, of course, an ardent believer in the doctrines of his Church, but with great tolerance for the views of those who differed with him in religious faith. I came to the old Academy with religious opinions frankly at variance with those he entertained, but I was never made to feel that it made the slightest difference in his regard or attention.[28]

Heber J. Grant, who became President of the Church, remembered leaving a teaching demonstration in tears after watching Maeser work with children.[29] “I felt I could sit in the dust at his feet,”[30] he related. President Grant also declared, “I have never traveled with a man who impressed me more as loving God, and more determined to give to this work of our Redeemer his life’s labor, than did the late Karl G. Maeser.”[31] George Albert Smith, another future President of the Church, was taught by Maeser when he was twelve years old. He later wrote, “The influence of that good man on my life was so great that I am sure it will endure for eternity.”[32] Similar tributes were offered by prominent Church members such as Reed Smoot,[33] Francis Lyman,[34] Joseph M. Tanner,[35] J. Golden Kimball,[36] and BYU Professor John C. Swenson.[37]

Benjamin Cluff, who succeeded Karl as president of Brigham Young Academy and led the effort to transform it into a university, studied with some of the leading educators of the country: Francis Parker, the father of the US progressive education movement; John Dewey, the most influential US philosopher of education; G. Stanley Hall, one of the founders of educational psychology; George Herbert Mead, philosopher and founder of social psychology; James B. Angell, president of the University of Michigan; and Charles W. Eliot, president of Harvard. Cluff declared, “Of all the teachers whom I now recall, none is more prominent and none is recalled with more respect and affection than is Dr. Karl G. Maeser.”[38]

Bryant Hinckley, biographer, principal, and Church leader, was asked why he didn’t write a book about his former teacher, Karl G. Maeser, and he replied that it would not be possible: [39]

You will never put on paper—you can never convey an intangible something that this man had. He knew how to touch a boy’s heart like no one else that I have ever known. He put something in fellows that nobody else ever did. I have seen men come from the farm and ranch and stay there six months and go home with an entirely new light in their eye. He was a character technician.[40]

I fully believe that Hinckley was right. The personal qualities and gifts of Karl G. Maeser that so impacted human hearts may not be expressible, but there is great reason to believe that the power of his life, his example, and his faith, dedication, and vision may yet inspire other generations of truth seekers.

On November 9, 1900, three months before he died, Maeser wrote some of his favorite sayings on the chalkboards of the Maeser School, a different one for each of the four classrooms. In the corner of the southwest room, he wrote my favorite: “This life is one great object lesson to practice on the principles of immortality and eternal life.” This short phrase encapsulated the two most powerful influences of Maeser’s life: the educational philosophy of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi and the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It was neither accidental nor insignificant that in 1898, Maeser, a man not given to exaggeration or flattery, referred to Pestalozzi as “the apostle of the present educational dispensation.”[41] To a Pestalozzian educator, “object lesson” has a special meaning. An object lesson was not merely a cutesy, superficial way to cleverly introduce a preplanned lesson. Objects, especially those in nature, were to be observed very carefully, and the observers, both students and teachers, were to ask questions to probe the insights and conclusions that could be properly reached by such scrutiny. To learn from these objects would require us to develop our own ability to observe, not merely to passively receive instruction. It would also invite us as learners to ask our own questions, refine those questions, and generate deeper, more insightful ways of viewing that object to discover new meaning in our own lives. A teacher, from this perspective, would not merely deliver information, but more importantly would invite the learners to investigate for themselves.

The second part of Maeser’s aphorism, “to practice on the principles of immortality and eternal life,” of course, refers to his commitment to his church and its ideals (Moses 1:39). Maeser’s commitment to the Church, its mission, and its leadership stands as the hallmark of his life. From the day of his baptism to the very end of his life, he was a fierce and thoughtful defender of the faith. He believed that each person on earth had come by divine assignment, foreordained to a specific potential. It was our task to discover this mission and choose to fulfill it. Teachers were, then, according to Maeser, “as messengers from our heavenly Father—as His representatives—and we have the mission of an angel to perform.”[42] In a thoroughly integrated manner, teachers were called to awaken this sense of mission in their students and help point them to paths that could fulfill them. For Maeser, divine purpose should permeate all aspects of the curriculum. He felt that his specific divinely appointed mission was to strengthen the education of Zion.

Maeser’s chalkboard saying, then, blended these two positions beautifully and added to them the injunction “to practice.” This suggested that a commitment to principles, though they be good and true, was not enough. We must also apply them in the context of our own lives. Maeser believed that though the practices and techniques of different theorists and cultures would vary greatly, the basic principles of a true education would not change. Hence, for him, this life was one great object lesson for each person to carefully examine and learn. It was also an opportunity to practice or apply the eternal principles of immortality and eternal life. Each must ask his or her own questions, face individual challenges, and make critical decisions, the results of which would carry eternal consequences.

Maeser also believed that everyone’s life was an object lesson and that the ability to learn from the lives of others was one of the greatest gifts a person could develop. From beginning to end, Maeser’s life is a terrific object lesson, deserving of the most detailed investigation. It is much better than the embellished versions that have been retold about him. It has been one of the greatest blessings of my life to study his life in minute detail. He did not think his story dramatically different from those of the thousands of others in his day who sacrificed the lives they knew in order to travel to Zion. Were he here today, he would perhaps protest against a book such as this, but such a life of truth seeking, faith, sacrifice, dedication, loyalty, and leadership should not be overlooked. Though he was the founder of a number of universities in the West, Maeser is rarely mentioned by educational historians. But his impact was profound. Few outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints even know his name, but it would be difficult to find an educator in the western United States that had as great of an impact.

By carefully examining the choices he made, the experiences from which he learned, and the attitudes he developed, we can gain profound insights into the ways we might face the challenges of our own lives. Educators especially have much to gain from a careful observation of his life. His theories of learning will never be outdated; his remarkable energy, sacrifice, and loyalty deserve careful observation and emulation.


[1] “Visitors from Provo,” Deseret News, February 19, 1901, 1.

[2] Senate Journal (Salt Lake City), February 19, 1901, 158.

[3] Quoted in Reinhard Maeser, Karl G. Maeser: A Biography by His Son (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1928), 164; see also “Resolutions of Respect,” Deseret News, February 19, 1901, 1.

[4] From a longer poem by Annie Pike presented at a jubilee in May 1898 held in honor of Maeser’s fifty years as a teacher. Quoted in Maeser, Karl G. Maeser, 146. It demonstrates the influence that educational reformer Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi had on Maeser’s perspective as it was reflected in his students’ comments. Pestalozzi is well known for advocating an education of the head, heart, and hand. See, for example, Arthur Brühlmeier, Head, Heart and Hand: Education in the Spirit of Pestalozzi, trans. Mike Mitchell (Cambridge, UK: Arthur Brühlmeier, 2010).

[5] Annie Pike, “The Teacher’s Work Is Done.” She composed this poem for Karl G. Maeser’s funeral. It was put to music and appeared in the Latter-day Saint hymnbook for many years. See, for example, “Come Lay His Books and Papers By,” Hymn Book of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1948), no. 338.

[6] “Dr. Maeser’s Funeral,” Salt Lake Tribune, February 20, 1901, 3.

[7] G. H. Brimhall to B. Cluff, March 7, 1901, UA 1093, box 6, folder 6, no. 93, LTPSC.

[8] Quoted in Maeser, Karl G. Maeser, 173–75.

[9] The earliest recorded version of Maeser’s aphorism that I could find was cited in N. L. Nelson, “Dr. Maeser’s Legacy to the Church Schools,” Brigham Young University Quarterly 1, no. 4 (February 1, 1906), 14. See also “Dr. Karl G. Maeser—Some of His Sentence Sermons,” Millennial Star, July 16, 1908, 452, and “Sentence Sermons by the Late Dr. Karl G. Maeser,” Improvement Era, September 1939, 513. Perhaps this version was paraphrased from “Let every teacher try to be genuine, himself, his better self, striving to approach nearer and nearer to his ideal.” Karl G. Maeser, School and Fireside (Provo, UT: Skelton, 1898), 279.

[10] Reed Smoot, in Conference Report, October 1937, 328.

[11] Maeser wrote this saying on one of chalkboards at the Maeser School on November 9, 1900. I was in charge of preserving three of the four chalkboards. They are now in the BYU Archives. For more information on Maeser’s sayings, see “Provo: Sentiments of Dr. Maeser,” Deseret News, February 23, 1901.

[12] Maeser, School and Fireside, 64.

[13] Cited in Nelson, “Dr. Maeser’s Legacy;” “Dr. Karl G. Maeser—Some of His Sentence Sermons,” 15, and Millennial Star, July 16, 1908, 452.

[14] Nelson, “Dr. Maeser’s Legacy,” 16, and “Sentence Sermons;” 513, 549.

[15] Maeser, School and Fireside, 245.

[16] Karl G. Maeser, “Sunday School Lectures,” Deseret News, June 25, 1892.

[17] Maeser, School and Fireside, 266.

[18] Domestic Department Minutes, February 19, 1880, recorded by J. L. Robinson, UA 195, folder. 4, 103, LTPSC.

[19] Domestic Department Minutes, April 11, 1889, recorded by Richard R. Lyman, UA 195, folder. 2, 77, LTPSC.

[20] Domestic Department Minutes, February 27, 1890, recorded by Robert Anderson, UA 195 folder. 2, 96–97, LTPSC.

[21] Maeser, School and Fireside, 205.

[22] “Emery Stake Sunday School Conference,” Deseret Weekly, November 23, 1895, 718.

[23] George Brimhall, “Continuity in Character,” Improvement Era, October 1899, 929.

[24] Domestic Department Minutes, February 14, 1889, recorded by Richard R. Lyman, UA 195, folder. 2, 74, LTPSC.

[25] James E. Talmage, journal, February 15, 1901, MS 229, LTPSC.

[26] Amy Brown Lyman, notes for the dedication of the Karl G. Maeser Monument, Amy Brown Lyman Collection, MS1070, CHL.

[27] Joel Francis Paschal, Mr. Justice Sutherland: A Man against the State (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1951), 6–7.

[28] Cited in Ernest L. Wilkinson and W. Cleon Skousen, Brigham Young University: A School of Destiny (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press), 122–23.

[29] Heber J. Grant, “Address at MIA Conference,” Improvement Era, August 1912, 871.

[30] Heber J. Grant, in Conference Report, October 1907, 26.

[31] In Conference Report, April 1918, 31.

[32] George Albert Smith, in Conference Report, April 1949, 83. Later he wrote that he was especially impressed by Brother Maeser’s comment, “Not only will you be held accountable for what you do and say, but for what you think.” Dr. Karl G. Maeser Memorial: Tributes from His Students, a Pictorial History of the Brigham Young University, Including the Maeser Memorial Building (Lehi, UT: Lehi Banner, 1907), BX 8670.A1 no. 144, LTPSC, 6.

[33] “I owe a great deal to Brother Maeser. I graduated from the Brigham Young Academy, and I thank God that later I had a chance to demonstrate to him that I loved him, loved him better than he perhaps thought. I would have done anything in the world for him. He was a man of God who fulfilled his mission, and as the years go by the members of this Church, through the students that were under him, shall know better the work intended by God for his people in this dispensation.” Reed Smoot, in Conference Report, October 1937, 19. “His undoubted faith in God, his unselfish devotion to and knowledge of his profession, his spirit of self-sacrifice, together with a powerful personal magnetism, softened with a true love and a personal interest in every student, were characteristics that won my love and admiration for Dr. Karl G. Maeser. His words of counsel were words of wisdom and inspired in me a determination to live for a higher life.” Reed Smoot, “Tribute to Karl G. Maeser,” LTPSC.

[34] “Dr. Karl G. Maeser has done for me, directly or indirectly through my children, more good than any other educator. His life and teachings have stamped on their souls the impress of the gospel of life and salvation that I trust will be indelible. Thank God for Karl G. Maeser.” Lyman, “Dr. Karl G. Maeser Memorial,” 6.

[35] “Even when he was teaching secular subjects he aimed to reach the feeling of the students. You know it was a favorite expression of his, that no man could teach successfully, not even arithmetic, without the Spirit of God. Those who have studied any subject under him will testify that he possessed that peculiar quality of a teacher, that he always reached the feelings in discussing the subject.” Joseph M. Tanner, in Conference Report, April 1905, 80.

[36] J. Golden Kimball attended a meeting in the little log school in the town of Meadowville in northern Utah with his brother Elias during the summer of 1881. Karl was serving one of his education missions and spoke to the small group of learning and faith. The speech electrified the twenty-eight-year-old mule skinner, who immediately resolved to transform his life and to make the two-hundred-mile journey to study with this man. Forty-four years later, this unconventional and beloved Church authority spoke in general conference of that occasion: “He [Maeser] was talking about the gospel, I shall never forget, though I have never remembered what he said, but I know how I felt, and my brother Elias and I, and our mother with us, made as great a sacrifice as I have ever made to go on a mission, when we moved from Bear Lake down through Evanston and through the deep snow by team, and not by railroad or auto. It took us three or four days to reach Provo. We went to school. I attended two years.” J. Golden Kimball, in Conference Report, October 1925, 157. In addition, J. Golden Kimball wrote, “Language cannot explain the impression [Maeser] made. The spirit and personality of the man burned into my soul and awakened me to a realizing sense of what life and religion means.” J. Golden Kimball, letter, 1908, MS 10072, LTPSC.

[37] “To Dr. K. G. Maeser more than any other person, my parents excepted, do I owe a debt of gratitude for the high moral and spiritual influence that came to us from him. Ours was the last class that graduated under his direct supervision.” John C. Swenson, “Pedagogical History of the Brigham Young University Class of 1893” (1942), LTPSC, 12.

[38] Wilkinson and Skousen, Brigham Young University, 123.

[39] Eva Maeser Crandall, interview, oral history, UA OH 63, 8, LTPSC.

[40] Bryant S. Hinckley, quoted in Alma P. Burton, “Karl G. Maeser: Mormon Educator” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1950), 133.

[41] Maeser, School and Fireside, 26.

[42] Karl Maeser, “Doctor Maeser’s Lecture,” Deseret Evening News, June 25, 1892, 14.