Living in Two Worlds : The Development and Transition of Mormon Education in American Society
History of Education
Taylor & Francis
Religious organisations have long relied on education to transmit cherished values, working within society to preserve their worldview. Therefore, when a religious education system is restructured, it can act as a barometer of change, revealing societal values and reflecting negotiated roles. Like other faiths, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Latter-day Saint or Mormon) has used education to shape its society. In its early history, the faith adopted an isolationist paradigm. Threatened by a Protestant-led common school crusade, Church leaders established a private school system, attempting to augment or even compete with public schools. However, during the early decades of the twentieth century, the programme was folded into the very public school system it was designed to replace. Teachers trained in the faith’s worldview replaced students nurtured in a Church-controlled environment. Accommodation and cooperation supplanted isolation and separation as Mormonism learned to live in two worlds – one with a particularistic religious view and another characterised by a pluralistic society.