Thoughts on a New Youth Curriculum: How about the Old Youth Curriculum?

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I am an indoor enthusiast. True story. I believe that nature (to paraphrase Katharine Hepburn in The African Queen) is what we are put in this world to rise above. I don’t like walking up mountains. I hate touching live fish. And I believe with all my heart that, if God had intended for me to sleep on the ground, he would have given me a box-spring back.

Hate me if you will, but all of this means that I was a lousy boy scout. It’s not that I was indifferent to scouting activities; I actively despised them and stayed away from Church whenever they were on the program–which, given that Scouting is the official activity arm of the LDS Church, was pretty much all of the time. I felt guilty about this (I was a Mormon, after all, and though I never did the scouting thing very well, I did the guilt thing just fine). I knew, because a number of leaders explained it to me, that participating in boy scouts was part of my Aaronic Priesthood responsibility. But, though guilt can make me do many things, camping is not one of them.

I made it through the LDS youth program. Barely. I was not an Eagle Scout. I think I manged to get my Tenderfoot, and that with a little bit of cheating on the part of a well-meaning scout master. But now that I am an adult, and the parent of another indoor enthusiast, I can’t help but wonder what the youth program for LDS young men might look like if it were not married to the Boy Scouts of America.

Fortunately, though, I know how to find stuff like that out–mainly because it can be done in doors and without a campfire. In fact, as part of a current writing project, I read through all of the manuals and Improvement Era magazines for the first half of the 20th century. The original Mutual Improvement Association, it turns out, was more like a high school than a church meeting. It was a progressive-era concoction to bring cultural refinement to mainly rural young people who had very limited access to public education. They put on plays. They sponsored debating societies. And they read books.

In fact, in the old days, a team of General Authorities would choose a list of “Reading List” books every year, and these would become part of the standard youth curriculum. Adults, too, would join in, and over time, there were books for adult classes as well as books for the youth. And the Church actively advertised, distributed, and endorsed these books. Some of them were Church books, but most of them were not. And a lot of them were, like, literature.

The list began in 1906, when the Improvement Era serialized Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas over four issues (Novemember 1906-February 1907) and encouraged everybody in the Church to read it. It went on regularly through 1944-45, and intermittently thereafter. Here is what I have been able to reconstruct (from manuals and magazine articles) of the books that, a hundred years ago, Latter-day Saints read as part of their religious duty. By way of preface I will simply say: we could do worse.

*Denotes a novel or work of fiction/imaginative literature

1906-07
*Rasselas, Samuel Johnson (reprinted in Improvement Era)
*John Halifaz, Gentleman, Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
True to His Home, Hezekiah Butterworth (Biography of Benjamin Franklin)

1907-08
*Tom Brown’s School Days, Thomas Hughes
Wild Animals I Have Known, Earnest Thompson Seton
Secret of Achievement, Orison Swett Marden
Great Truths, William George Jordan
The Strength of Being Clean, David Starr Jordan
*Silas Marner, George Eliot

1908-09
*Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper
*A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
*Hypatia, Charles Kingsley
Makers of History—Hernan Cortez, Jacob Abbot

1909-10
Ancient America, John D. Baldwin
*The Crisis, Winston Churchill (but not THAT Winston Churchill)
Our Inland Sea, Alfred Lambourne
Courage, Charles Wagner
*John Stevens’ Courtship, Susa Young Gates
*The Castle Builder, Nephi Anderson
Life of Lincoln, Norman Hapgood

1910-1911
Captain Bonneville, Washington Irving
*Widow O’Callaghan’s Boys, Gulielma Zollinger
*The Bishop’s Shadow, I.T. Thurston
Titcomb’s Letters, J.G. Holland
Friendship and Other Essays, Ralph Waldo Emerson
*Lorna Doone, R.D. Blackmore
American Citizenship, David Josiah Brewster

1916-17
*Tales from Shakespeare, Charles Lamb
*Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
How We Got Our Bible, J. Patterson Smyth
Wild Animals at Home, E. Thomas Seton
Jacob Hamblin, James A. Little
*Wild Roses—A Tale of the Rockies, Howard R. Driggs
*Under the Country Sky, Grace S. Richmond
Speeches of the Flying Squadron, Various Authors

1918-19
*Love and Light: An Idyll of the Westland, Orson F. Whitney
The Man of Tomorrow, Claude Richards
*Uncle Sam’s Boy at War, O.P. Austin
Abraham Lincoln, Wilbur F. Gordy
Heroines of Service, Mary R. Parkman
*The Major, Ralph Connor
The Voice of Warning, Parley P. Pratt
The Book of Job, from the Bible
*Kings in Exile, Chas G.D. Roberts

1919-20
(Repeated from 1918-19)
*Love and Light: An Idyll of the Westland, Orson F. Whitney
The Man of Tomorrow, Claude Richards
Uncle Sam’s Boy at War, O.P. Austin
Abraham Lincoln, Wilbur F. Gordy
The Voice of Warning, Parley P. Pratt
The Book of Job, from the Bible
*Kings in Exile, Chas G.D. Roberts
(New for 1919-20)
Tobacco and Human Efficiency, Frederick J. Pack
Leaves from My Journal, Wilfred Woodruff
*The Light in the Clearing, Irving Bacheller

1920-21
Unable to Find Evidence of a List

1921-22
The Restoration, Osborne J.P. Widtsoe
The Mormon Settlement in Arizona (published by the State of Arizona)
*A Man for the Ages, Irving Bacheller
*Fireside Stories for Girls, Margaret W. Eggleston
Trails to Woods and Waters, Clarence Hawkins
The Strength of Being Clean, David Starr Jordan
The Promised Land, Mary Antin

1922-23
The Vitality of Mormonism, James E. Talmage
*If Winter Comes, Arthur S.M. Hutchinson
Fundamentals of Prosperity, Roger Ward Babson
*Feet of the Furtive, Charles G.D. Roberts
The Strength of Being Clean, David Starr Jordan

1923-24
3 Nephi, from the Book of Mormon
*The Dim Lantern, Temple Bailey
*Including Mother, Margaret Ashmun
Companionable Books, Henry Van Dyke
*Ox Team Days on the Oregon Trail, Howard R. Driggs

1924-25
Book of Mosiah from the Book of Mormon
The Founding of Utah, Levi Edgar Young
*Benefits Forgot, Honore Willsie
*The Dear Pretender, Alice Ross Colver

1925-26
The Book of Mormon
Prophecies of Joseph Smith and Their Fulfillment, Nephi L. Morris
*Hugh Wynne, A Novel, S. Weir Mitchell
Wild Life in the Rockies, Enos A. Mills

1926-27
The Book of Mormon
Saturday Night Thoughts, Orson F. Whitney
*Exiles, Alfred Osmond (poetry of the Mormon pioneers)
*The Mansion, Van Dyke
Two Years Before the Mast, Richard Henry Dana
*The Peace of Solomon Valley, McClurg
*A Certain Rich Man, James Allen White
*The Beauty of the Purple, William Stearns David
*Marching On, James Boyd
*The Ten Dreams of Zac Peters, Hermann Hagedorn
*The Trail of the Sandhilll Stag, Earnest Thompson Seton
In the Temple of the Great Outdoors, Curtis
The City of the Sacred Well, T.A. Willard
George Washington, Woodrow Wilson

1928-29
Pearl of Great Price
From Immigrant to Inventor, by Michael Pupin
What Ails Our Youth, George A. Coe
*Round the Corner in Gay Street, Grace S. Richmond
*So Big, Edna Ferber
*Smokey the Cow Horse, Will James

1929-30
Doctrine and Covenants
The Life of Karl G. Maeser, Reinhard Maeser
The Book that Nobody Knows, Bruce B. Barton
*A Lantern in Her Hand, Bess Streeter Aldrich
*The Southerner: A Romance of the Real Lincoln, Thomas Dixon
Three Points of Honor, Russell Gordon Carter
*A Dove in the Eagle’s Nest, Charlotte M. Yonge
*The Drama (Magazine Subscription)

1930-31
The Life of Joseph Smith, George Q. Cannon
Grandmother Brown’s 100 Years, Harriet Connor Brown
*The Light in the Clearing, Irving Bacheller
*Bambi, a Life in the Woods, Felix Salten
Life of Schumann-Heink, Mary Lawton
*Mother Carey’s Chickens, Kate Douglas Wiggin
On the Bottom: The Raising of the US Navy Submarine S-51, Edward Ellsberg
*Chad of Knob Hill, Howard Roger Garis

1931-32
Life Story of Brigham Young, Susa Young Gates and Leah D. Widtoe
People and Music, T.C. McGehee
Medical Aspects of the Word of Wisdom, L.Weston Oaks
*With Malice Towards None, Honore Willsie Morrow l
*Singing in the Rain, Anne Shannon Monroe
Larry: Thoughts of Youth, Larry Foster
Modern Pioneers, Joseph G. Cohen and Will Scarlet

1932-33
In Search of Truth, John A. Widtsoe
Through Memory’s Halls, Orson F. Whitney
Twenty-one, Erdman Harris
*A White Bird Flying, Bess Streeter Aldrich
Boy Heroes of Today, Dan Beard

1933-34
Joseph Smith: An American Prophet, John Henry Evans
Life Begins at Forty, Walter B. Pitkin
John Jacob Astor: Landlord of New York, Arthur D. Howden Smith
*Two Little Savages, Ernest Seton-Thompson
*As the Earth Turns, Gladys Hasty Carroll
Hidden Heroes of the Rockies, Isaac K. Russell and Howard R. Driggs

1934-35
Strategy in Handling People, Ewing T. Webb and John B. Morgan
A Guide to Civilized Loafing, H.A. Overstreet
Life of J. Golden Kimball, Claude Richards
William Clayton’s Journal, William Clayton
The Book that Nobody Knows, Bruce B. Barton
*Smokey, the Cow Horse, Wil James
*The Southerner: A Romance of the Real Lincoln, Thomas Dixon
Heroines of Service, Mary R. Parkman

1935-36
Brigham Young: The Man of the Hour, Leah Widtsoe
The Community High Road to Better Things, Joseph Geddes
The Leadership of Joseph Smith, John Henry Evans

1937-38
The Return to Religion, Henry C. Link
Step a Little Higher, John Henry Evans
How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie
Real Persons, Edwin Diller Starbuck
North to the Orient, Anne M. Lindbergh
*Cowboy Hugh, Walter H. Nichols

1938-39
The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith
Madame Curie, Eve Curie
Utah Sings, Harrison R. Merrill and Elsie T. Brandley
Pasteur, Francis E. Benz
The Magnificent Obsession, Lloyd Douglas
Characters and Messages of the Book of Mormon, John Henry Evans
*The Lance of Kanana, Henry W. French
*Little Soldier of the Plains, Marian McDonough

1939-40
Voice from the Dust, Genet Bingham Dee
Rediscovery of Man, Henry C. Link
Alone, Admiral Richard R. Bird
Antarctic Icebreakers, Lorene K. Fox
*Queer Person, Ralph Hubbard
*Three Sisters, Cornelia Spencer
*Caddie Woodlawn, Carol Ryrie Brink
Good Manners, Beth Bailey McLean

1940-41
Unto the Hills, Richard L. Evans
One Who Was Valiant, Clarissa Young Spenser and Mabel Harmer
The Four Gospels and Acts
Hello Life, Elsie Talmage Brandley
Monarch, the Big Bear of Tallac, Earnest Thompson Seton
*Singing Tree, Kate Seredy

1941-42
Lincoln, Man of God, John Wesley Hill
Healthful Living, Harold S. Diehl
*For this My Glory, Paul Bailey
Cumorah’s Gold Bible, E. Cecil McGavin
Brigham Young, the Colonizer, Milton B. Hunter
The Latter-day Prophet, George Q. Cannon
*This Is Freedom, Rhoda Nelson
Pioneer Stories, Preston Nibley
*Blue Willow, Doris Gates
*All the Days Were Antonia’s, Gretchen McKnown and Florence Stebbins Gleeson
*The Yearling, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

1942-43
In the Gospel Net, John A. Widtsoe
Gospel Standards, Heber J. Grant
I Dare You, William H. Danforth
Missionary Experiences, Preston Nibley
Elizabeth, England’s Modern Queen, Cornelia Spencer
Maud, Isabella Maud Rittenhouse and Richard Lee Strout
Lincoln, Lucy Foster Madison
Clara Barton, Mildred Mastin Pace

1943-44
Daniel Hammer Wells, Bryant S. Hinckley
The American Canon, Daniel L. Marsh
Syrian Yankee, Salom Rizk
The High Trail, Edward Diller Starbuck
Mama’s Bank Account, Katherine Forbes
*This Is Freedom, Rhoda Nelson
*Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
The Invincible Louisa, Cornelia Meigs

1944-45
The Gospel Kingdom, John Taylor
The Church in War and Peace, Stephen L. Richards
*The Robe, Lloyd C. Douglas
I Wanted to See, Borghild Dahl
Faith-Promoting Stories, Preston Nibley
*Traveler’s Candle, Florence M. Updegraff
*Canyon of Whispers, L.A. Wadsworth

 

Comments

  1. lovely! so, what happened? why did things get so dumbed down?

  2. This is fabulous, Michael. Another indoor enthusiast here, too.

  3. John F.: I suspect administrative convenience, as well as the rapid urbanization of the LDS population during the Depression and the war.

  4. Gone are the days.

  5. Or maybe correlation and priesthood creep, coupled with switching from admiration of mainline WASP-ish American culture for the first half of the twentieth century to admiration of/allegiance to Evangelical (Fundamentalist) culture for political reasons starting in around 1968 or so?

  6. john f. – Amen.

  7. J. Stapley says:

    It really is extraordinary. There is a line in Bill Hartley’s important history of the Aaronic Priesthood, “From Men to Boys,” which described, as I remember, the study of Huck Finn in one priesthood quorum before the centralization of priesthood curricula. I remember reading that as an example of the folly some quorums fell into without proper oversight, but in reality it might simply have been an extension of this progressive impulse.

  8. John Mansfield says:

    I would look at trends of school enrollment of 16-year-olds for what they may have to reveal. Ancedotally, my maternal grandparents both graduated high school in Nevada in the mid 1930s, and in the details they left of that, it comes off as a series of year-by-year deliberate choices to stay in school. My great-grandmother, born in 1891, finished school at the 8th grade, first girl in Enterprise, Utah to do so.

  9. Mark B. says:

    Unless your “indoor enthusiasm” extends to reading about the outdoors, you wouldn’t have been all that excited about the three Ernest Thompson Seton works in the lists.

  10. Mark B. says:

    Nobody “graduated high school” before about 10 years ago. Before then, people graduated from high school.

  11. Based on my experience trying to find a book that wouldn’t make anyone whine self-righteously at RS book club, establishing a yearly list that included anything not written by a general authority or CS Lewis would be nigh unto impossible in this day and age. But still, it would be amazing. And even cooler if adapted worldwide so church members would be encouraged to read the significant literature of their own cultures (would help with literacy in areas where that is a challenge, too).

  12. Mark B. Even “graduated from high school” is a neologism. In proper English, one says, “was graduated from high school.”

  13. Eh, while I’ll be right there with you bemoaning the state of correlated lesson materials/courses of study, I’d prefer we look forward to a more open, flexible, and diverse format than having the Church read 19th and 20th century western literary/Mormon classics.

    Maybe if it were more along the lines of taking up local culturally significant works–and not always texts.

    So, I guess I’m there with you in spirit, but the thought of anyone thinking it would be a good idea to get the international church to read a book on Abraham Lincoln grades my senses.

  14. Er, guess Lunch beat me to some of those points.

  15. TEE: Presumably, if something like this were done again, we would not use the exact same list.

  16. Wow. There are excellent selections here. Some of them, particularly the Mormon biographies, have not stood the test of time, but to include home-grown literature, classics, fiction, non-fiction, excellent contemporary literature including Newbery Medal winning authors, and have it all be appropriate to the reading level of the youth is an admirable feat.

    Sure, we could wish for some Russian novels and other international contributions, but this is a great selection from what they could reasonably access in the American publishing industry at the time, and if the youth read these selections in the 1930s, books like Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s North to the Orient would have provided good practical information for young people who would shortly thereafter be headed off to war, some of them to the very places described in the books.

  17. “Presumably, if something like this were done again, we would not use the exact same list.” Can you imagine if a modern list included titles on the old lists like “Round the Corner in Gay Street” or “Queer Person”? I imagine those lists wouldn’t go over too well among wards such as my own…

    On a more serious note, I think it’s good to encourage outdoor activity among youth (and not just boys). It gives the youth a chance to learn environmental stewardship, it introduces them to some important skills and experiences, and, done right, it’s fun. I think there are better ways to do it than through the BSA and its accompanying bureaucracy. And I think it should be modernized and mixed with other things–such as a reading list and regularly introducing the youth–of both genders–to various career choices.

  18. The missing reading course for 1920-21 was:

    Adventures in Contentment, by David Grayson
    Heroes of Today, by Mary R. Parkman
    High Benton, by William Heylinger
    Isabel Carlton’s Year, by Margarete Ashman
    Prophecies of Joseph Smith and Their Fulfilment, by Nephi L. Morris

    ( https://archive.org/stream/improvementera23011unse#page/1005/mode/2up )

    I’m going to have to up my game. Keepa used to be the only one doing this – now I have competition!

  19. Thanks Ardis!

  20. Michael says:

    This list certainly explains a great many of the books I inherited from my grandparents. I either have or have seen at least 50% of this list. A former YM president, now a General Authority, gave out copies of “I Dare You” to every graduating senior every year.

    I’d love to see something like this run parallel to the Scouting program – for those boys who would rather not just play basketball in the gym and call it Scouts, it could be a great alternate mutual activity. Pick something off the list, or pick something else and explain it to the group when you’re done.

    Go back far enough, and the Seventies quorums would have a closet at the church stocked with books for sale, even on Sunday. I suspect that’s how a lot of these made it out into the farmlands and suburbs.

  21. Terry H says:

    Can’t we start now with Rough Stone Rolling along with the JI?

  22. Absolutely! We’ve never had a better list of readings that would certainly educate!

  23. Fabulous! I’m forwarding this to my dad who, as a six-year-old, kicked Howard R. Driggs in the shin.

  24. An elderly, dignified Howard R. Driggs.

  25. Mary Lythgoe Bradford says:

    Mike–You made my week with this list–I recall some of these from my childhood in the church which I recall as lots of fun.

  26. I like both the indoors and the outdoors. I read anything and everything I can get my hands on, always have (and that includes some of the selections on those lists). But I’ve also enjoyed camping, hiking, fishing, However, my camping and hiking days are over (it’s called getting old), although I wouldn’t rule out fishing.

  27. FarSide says:

    I wonder if the youth and their parents back then were intimated, like so many LDS are nowadays, by a book with too many pages, like “Rough Stone Rolling?” Or if they were bothered by controversial societal issues and language that appeared in books like “Huck Finn” the way so many Mormons today are afraid to confront comparable questions in books such as “Rough Stone Rolling.” Or if they needed someone to tell them what books were “safe” and which ones you should only read in the company of a homogenous, supervised support group, like “Rough Stone Rolling?”

  28. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    It appears that writing a book about Lincoln would ensure huge sales in the Intermountain West. Unfortunately, if a Church committee was to be tasked with developing a reading curriculum today, they would not be able to resist the urge to assign whatever Deseret Book was needing to promote. Can you imagine the lobbying that would come from authors and their representatives? In effect, it would be the LDS version of Oprah’s Book Club.

  29. Glenstorm says:

    “I’d love to see something like this run parallel to the Scouting program – for those boys who would rather not just play basketball in the gym and call it Scouts, it could be a great alternate mutual activity.”

    That’s what Scouting was in my Midwest ward: basketball. I only managed to get my Eagle Scout by not associating with the other young men my age and through a lot of parental support.

    I honestly think that Scouting can be amenable to “indoor enthusiasts” who can swallow a bit of hiking. Look at the merit badge list: there’s so much stuff on there that can be done without laying an eye on nature! However, with the rampant inexperience among LDS Scout leaders, summer Scout camps often become the only organized activity, meaning that the bare bones of the Scouting program (which is more outdoors-heavy) is all that gets done.

    I’d like to see some basic training that casts Scouting as career exploration. If I’d have had that perspective on that and not been so introverted, I probably would have gone for some of the merit badges I considered but found too daunting to approach alone and with no previous experience in the field (e.g., Graphic Design).

  30. Actually in Nevada it is “graduated high school.” This partially a way of acknowledging that only 2/3 of students actually do such a thing…however we word it.

  31. John Mansfield says:

    Prepositions, past participles, and preterites aside, “indoor enthusiasts” ought to consider that most American youth today already spend a thousand hours a year in high school, an indoor setting, and are assigned reading. The need for something “like a high school” is currently met by high schools.

  32. Scouting isn’t for everyone but the same reservations about scouting can be used to torpedo reading non-church materials: It isn’t the thing I am naturally drawn to and I find it alienating. It doesn’t relate to the gospel and it shouldn’t be part of the church program.

    The band of activities that we consider acceptably “gospel oriented” is already to narrow–we ought to be going in the other direction. We would benefit if we sought to expand the available options rather than treat them as fixed.

  33. Suleyman says:

    Honestly the outdoors component is the most valuable aspect of Scouting . Most of the other merit badge topics are covered in education.

  34. I love scouting mostly because I think the Church couldn’t come up with something better if they tried. My calling has me working with the teacher’s quorum. I definitely on the indoor enthusiast side of thing, but I love camping with our team/quorum.

    In light of john f’s, can you imagine what the Church would come up with as a reading list today? What book on the family are we reading this year?

    If we got rid of scouting, some of my boys would be excited about this. When I told them we were replacing it with a book club…

  35. Clark Goble says:

    Frankly the outdoor component of scouting is pretty muted at the cub scout level. (I teach Bears) I like the newly simplified lessons but really I think you could have activities and skill teaching without scouts. My bigger problem is how girls in most wards aren’t given the same opportunities. Admittedly most girls don’t seem to want to do the outdoor stuff as much as guys do. But there’s a significant portion of girls who do and a significant portion of boys that don’t. Figuring out of to deal with that isn’t obvious beyond perhaps allowing more co-ed activities and skill training. (Something I’m in favor of)

    Fortunately my ward’s thus far been pretty good about all this. Both my son and daughter have done the pinewood derby each year for instance.

  36. Emily U says:

    “…guilt can make me do many things, camping is not one of them.” You make me laugh! What an entertaining list. While john f.’s comment at 12:21 pm is probably right, I note that the yearning for bootstrapping your way to leadership has endured (I’m looking at 1937-38 How to Win Friends and Influence People).

    I am glad the Church doesn’t provide reading lists anymore. They’re enough of a cultural influence already thankyouverymuch.

  37. Lew Scannon says:

    I’m an eagle scout, but I am definitely not an outdoor enthusiast, unless there is a ball involved. Scouting was my least favorite part of church growing up. Playing basketball in the “cultural hall” after Mutual was my favorite part. If we got rid of scouting, I think the Church would be better off and lots of young men would rejoice.

    As for “graduate,” it is both transitive and intransitive, so the high school can graduate you and you can graduate from the high school. No problem either way.

    But what would Brigham have said about all the novels on these lists?

  38. Alpineglow says:

    I love that there are biographies of prominent women like Curie, Barton, Alcott, Queen Elizabeth, etc. And everyone, not just the Relief Society, was supposed to read them!

  39. Any discussion of scouting in an LDS context is horribly unfair to scouting, which has plenty to offer any boy or girl, just not when the program implemented is just some crap some untrained uninterested assigned volunteers who are mostly there out of guilt make up at the last minute.

    And please, no modern-day church reading lists. I get enough conservative Republican crazy living in Utah already. No need to have Bill Oreilly’s latest hardback diatribe foisted on me.

    It is very interesting this used to exist though, especially given the sort of progressive bent to it. Too bad correlation won out over our homegrown frontier intellectual streak here in the Beehive state.

  40. Mark B. says:

    Blaming “correlation” for the end of these reading lists is completely ahistorical. Unless the folks who decided to stop publishing the reading lists saw correlation coming 20 years later.

    But it’s nice to have a chance to round up the usual suspects.

  41. Kristine says:

    Mark B., as you know, correlation didn’t spring fully formed from the head of Harold B. Lee in 1963. The earliest attempts at reining in independent publishing from the auxiliaries, etc. are quite early in the 20th century.

  42. Mark B. says:

    The OP states that the reading lists were put together by “a team of General Authorities”–not by the auxiliaries. And since most of the titles on the lists were not written by church members or published by the church or an auxiliary, no amount of reining in (they still rode horses or in buggies drawn by horses back in the early 20th century, after all) of publication by auxiliaries would have had the slightest effect on the publication or selection of those books.

  43. John Mansfield says:

    For the consideration of those who like considering things, “How America Graduated from High School: 1910 to 1960” by Claudia Goldin, NBER Working Paper No. 4762, issued in June 1994, which goes through the data sources indicating that school enrollment of 14- to 17-year-olds increased from 10% to 90% and graduation from 5% to 65%. I really think the this has a lot to do with church leaders providing reading lists for youth in the first half of the 20th Century, but not the latter half. Far more than any changes in MIA autonomy.

    http://www.nber.org/papers/w4762

  44. Clark Goble says:

    Kristine, would you say that the correlation period really starts with the reforms of Heber J. Grant even if the formal correlation arises with Lee in the 60’s? It always seemed that way to me. If only in terms of a certain centralizing and standardizing tendency. Arguably driven under Grant and perhaps a little by Joseph F. Smith, to handle both apostasy movements and the shift from polygamy and similar practices. It seems like standardized reading lists at a minimum would help drive the theological shifts that were taking place.