Manuscript Releases, vol. 5 [Nos. 260-346]


Bible Teaching and Textbooks

To Prepare Textbooks—In the church schools to be established, I cannot recommend [the program of] no textbooks whatever, [or to] set inexperienced teachers to be managers. The lessons given in these schools will be of a wrong order, and soon it will be evident that the school is disappointing people. Something is wrong. The teachers themselves do not have an understanding of the Bible lessons to be given. They need that one shall teach them. We must move intelligently. Books can be prepared for children that will not contain a thread of infidelity, but these books must be simplified to meet the understanding of the small children. A teacher of little experience who attempts to teach all the lessons from the Bible alone will not understand half the time what are the real points of the lesson. There should be a close and thorough examination into this matter of books. Much thought and no hasty work must be given to it by those teachers who have learned their lessons from the Sacred Word. Having learned obedience, they will sympathize with the children.... 5MR 354.2

These church schools are a very serious matter. Young persons without a deep experimental evidence that the truth has begun its sanctifying influence upon their hearts, will make a failure in attempting to teach in any church school.... 5MR 355.1

Books should be prepared as soon as possible to lead minds to a study of the Bible.—Letter 136a, 1898, pp. 1-4. (To “Dear Son Edson,” August 14, 1898.) 5MR 355.2

Again last night I was speaking with you in regard to the textbooks in our schools. I was commissioned to give you a warning. Do not, as you shall meet our schools in California and other places, present to them the ideas that look so clear and plain to you in reference to the textbooks in our schools. They are not prepared for this, and already confusion is working and will work with reference to this point. There are many things to be considered in regard to this matter. 5MR 355.3

If we follow on to know the Lord, we shall see things more clearly than we discern them now. But neither teachers nor students are prepared to make rapid changes. We need the baptism of the Holy Spirit, else minds will misinterpret the subjects and handle them in such a way as to bring confusion rather than light. As you shall go into the study of opening the Scriptures to the schools, do not introduce the matter of simple books being discarded. It will do harm to the uninformed, who, half catching at things, and supposing they know it all, yet utterly unable as teachers to understand the matter in all its bearings, will advance theories which one and another will grasp at, but will not understand.—Letter 104, 1899, pp. 1, 2. (To Elder S. N. Haskell, August 1, 1899.) 5MR 355.4

Ellen G. White Commends the Swiss Schools—I see some things here in Switzerland that I think are worthy of imitation. The teachers of the schools always go out with their pupils while they are at play, and teach them how to amuse themselves and repress any disorder or any wrong. This is an invariable law, and includes children from five to fifteen years of age. 5MR 356.1

As a reward for good behavior and studious habits the teachers take their scholars out and have a long walk with them, dismissing the school earlier than usual. I like this, I think there is less opportunity for the children to yield to temptation. The teachers seem to enter into the sports of the children and to regulate them. 5MR 356.2

I cannot in any way sanction the idea that children must feel that they are under a constant distrust, and must be watched, and cannot act as children. But let the teachers join in the amusements of the children, be one with them, and show they want them to be happy, and it will give the children confidence. They can be controlled by love, but not by a stern, strict, unbending rule, to follow them in their meals and in their amusements.—Letter 42, 1886, p. 3. (To Brother Ramsey, April 7, 1886.) 5MR 356.3

General Counsel—Those who instruct the children should be men and women of principle.... Let every teacher who accepts the responsibility to educate the children and youth examine himself and study critically from cause to effect.—Manuscript 34, 1893, pp. 8, 10. (“The Successful Teacher,” May 18, 1893.) 5MR 357.1

No one who will be satisfied with a low standard should have the responsibility of training the youth. The true teacher will try by precept and example to win souls to Christ. He will receive the truth in the love of it, allowing it to cleanse his own heart and mold and fashion his character after the divine similitude.—Letter 148, 1908, pp. 2, 3. (To Dr. E. R. Caro, May 12, 1908.) 5MR 357.2