Original Article Sent to the Daily Herald

This is the original letter I sent to the Daily Herald which was greatly distored in the 4/11/10 front page article entitled “Parents accuse BYU, Alpine District of socialist conspiracy”. To read my rebuttal, go here.

Is Truth Dead?

Does truth really matter anymore? The professors of our day say it’s just democratic. It’s what the majority says, right? Morality is all relative, right? Truth is just different things to different people, right? If more people say God doesn’t exist than those that say he does, then he doesn’t exist right? Welcome to democratic knowledge, a basic tenet of humanism.

If the BYU motto is right, and the glory of God is intelligence, or in other words light and truth, and truth is knowledge of things as they were, as they are, and as they will be, then it must be logical to assume that knowledge is not democratic and never has been. Shades of gray only apply to human limitations, but for God, truth exists and our quest as honest seekers of the truth, is to find those absolutes.

In the recent Alpine School District debate over the terms democracy and republic and what form of government our nation has been founded upon, a number of people are asking questions of why it matters what term is used. Is truth dead?

The U.S. Constitution guarantees every state a republican form of government. The word democracy does not appear in the Constitution at all. The simple truth is, we are a constitutional republic which elects representatives to do the business of the people. The purpose of the website I set up at www.UtahsRepublic.org was to help restore this basic truth to the K-12 state history standards, where the term “republic” didn’t appear even one time.

However, beyond this, there is something far more important which has come to light inside the motives of those who are trying to change our language and remove the notion that we are a republic with natural rights bestowed upon us by God.

To begin, it’s clear the word democracy has changed over time. The online Merriam-Webster’s dictionary actually has 2 contradictory meanings for the word, one as in the true meaning of democracy (mob rule) and the other quite close to what the term republic means. What isn’t so clear is why the meaning of the term democracy has changed and what the driving force is behind that change.

John Dewey was one of the original signatories on the first Humanist Manifesto, a document which describes itself as a religion meant to transcend and replace deity-based religions. Their work was based on the Communist Manifesto written by Marx and Engels which they held as an effective means of transforming society into one based on moral relativism, atheism, and democratic knowledge, only accepting that which the 5 senses can detect.

For the last hundred years, we have accepted gradual doses of the secular religion of humanism in direct violation of the Constitution of the State of Utah. Our state constitution says the legislature shall provide for the establishment of an education system which “shall be free from sectarian control.” This means the self-proclaimed religion of humanism cannot be taught through our school system.

John Goodlad, a follower and recipient of the John Dewey award, and keynote speaker at a John Dewey conference, came to BYU in 1983 to establish the Public School Partnership with 5 surrounding districts. Goodlad has done this numerous times with universities and school districts around the nation. BYU’s education department drew heavily on his book entitled “The Moral Dimensions of Teaching.” One of Goodlad’s “moral dimensions” is entitled “enculturating the young into a social and political democracy,” which is the text and controversy surrounding Alpine School District’s large plaque inside their teacher development center.

What does Goodlad mean by this? Is this an innocent phrase meant to instill a sense of patriotism and participation in the democratic process? Or is this revealing of Goodlad’s ultimate motives?

John Dewey said that education is a responsibility that society must execute using techniques “previously ignored as trivial, futile, or even condemned as positively evil.” (School & Society, pg 112)

What did he have in mind? Perhaps we can see some of this evil when we examine what his follower John Goodlad has said. Here are several quotes illustrating Goodlad’s belief system.

“Again, we are looking for a balance—for an institution, really—that will consider the interests of parents, state, and children. Parents do not own their children. They have no ‘natural right’ to control their education fully.”-Goodlad

“Education is a task for both parents and state. The state, parents, and children all have interests that must be protected.” -Goodlad

“Education, public schooling, is necessary to maintain citizenry capable of maintaining a democracy. The knowledge of how to run a democracy is not possessed by all parents equally.” -Goodlad

“In the quest for learning, educators must resist the quest for certainty…So it is with morals and patriotism.” -Goodlad

“…belief in some that there exists ‘objective knowledge’ and a ‘correct’ view of the world.  This is incorrect.  All knowledge is partial and subjective.” -Goodlad

Which of you believe the state has a right to your children and has interests that must be protected in the education of your child? Which of you believes it is up to the schools to educate your children because parents don’t understand how to run a democracy? Which of you believe morals and knowledge are subjective?

Goodlad then proceeded to get BYU to become a founding member of the National Network for the Renewal of Education (NNER). From their website we find these quotes.

“The NNER pursues the Agenda for Education in a Democracy [the Agenda] and its implementation in member settings, with other educators and partnerships…”

“Why Do We Focus on Democracy? Many different forms of government have tried to meet this challenge: fascism, socialism, communism, and democracy, to name a few. Democracy, while certainly not without its flaws, seems to offer the best hope of enabling us to live together in relative peace and prosperity. This is because democracy has a great virtue that the others generally lack: real democracy strives to ensure that everyone in a society contributes to the decision-making processes that affect their lives.”

In other words, the NNER has an ultimate Agenda. Part of that Agenda is to promote democracy as our form of government and to make societal decisions democratic (ie. moral relativism).

Do you as a parent want this for your child? Do you want Goodlad’s and Dewey’s Agenda “enculturating [your child] into a social and political democracy”?

Ezra Taft Benson said, “I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. There is more than one reason why the Church is advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close to their children, and if they become alerted and informed, these parents can help expose the deceptions of men like Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, John Keynes and others. There are much worse things today that can happen to a child than not getting a full education.”

So is enculturating our young into a social and political democracy harmless? Hardly. When a group of people set on a deliberate course of action to subvert the moral fabric of a society in the goal to eliminate the worship of deity and replace it with the worship of man, we come to the crossroads of our culture, and must make that final decision as to who the God of this land really is.

The question we must now address is, with this knowledge coming into in the public space, will those who accepted the good parts of Dewey’s and Goodlad’s teachings which no doubt attracted them in the first place, now recognize and reject the poison (Agenda) that came with it. If there is not a purging of the poison from the well, the 99.9% crystal clear water, will still continue to harm and kill those that partake of what deceptively appears to be a cool and refreshing well of truth.

Oak Norton


Post note. In retrospect, I never should have said the water is 99.9% clear. It’s not. It’s much less than that.

10 Responses to “Original Article Sent to the Daily Herald”

  • Rod:

    I trust BYU. Rather than worry about all of this, you should go do your home teaching.

  • James Davis:

    I trust God. BYU is run by man.

  • Lucinda:

    I like this article. I agree with James Davis. Good luck with this. Glad you posted the link on the Daily Herald site. Wish they would have been more honest about it. I'm going to share this with my family and friends.

  • Susie:

    James, you summed up my thoughts exactly. Thank you. BYU is a great university. We’re privileged to have my son there. But it doesn’t mean that it’s perfect or completely free from the philosophies of men since different administrators/teachers bring in different philosophies. I know personally of many things you’d be appalled at. Sometimes some house cleaning is in order. After all even Jesus had to clean out the temple when the money changers took over.

  • Be sure to read the official rebuttal to the Herald as well on this page:

  • douglasreid:

    I think this is a well written piece and effectively warns of some of the dangers involved with accepting some of the subtle revisions of basic truths. Unfortunately, the truth that by small means, great things are brought to pass, also works for bad as well as good.

  • brent005:

    Exactly what Goodlad would like us to do, let him to his thing in peace and we mind our own business. When his business starts to interfer and weaken your beliefs, either individually or as a family (they doubt or attitiudes changes – when the 15 year old says,”the church should be more progressive”) and you realize Benson's quote relates to us today what will you do?
    What was Pres Bensen speaking about if not the specific context in which his quote was used?
    My question is genuine.

  • Brent, I have just posted President Benson's talk at this link so you can read the entirety of his conference talk in context.

  • historian:

    I've read 12 postulate of Mr Goodlad.
    Really exciting!!!
    What is it?
    It is not about democracy and it is not about education.
    The true is that this writing has completly different purpose and use…
    To find out what it was or rather what it still is I advise you to check Internet for similar staff.
    Try to find some results of its implementation. Then you will know.
    It's a tool.

  • historian:

    I've read 12 postulate of Mr Goodlad.
    Really exciting!!!
    What is it?
    It is not about democracy and it is not about education.
    The true is that this writing has completly different purpose and use…
    To find out what it was or rather what it still is I advise you to check Internet for similar staff.
    Try to find some results of its implementation. Then you will know.
    It's a tool.