The Eleventh Article of Faith and What it Does Mean and Does Not Mean for LDS Homeschool Mothers in Regard to the Education of their Children

Elder Renlund’s Religious Freedom Symposium Speech in Brazil, 2017
Elder Renlund just gave this speech in Brazil at the Religious Freedom Symposium. I know there are many members of my church who are going to interpret the meaning of his words differently. I wanted to present my beliefs about what it does and does not mean for LDS Homeschool moms in regard to the education of their children.

In my opinion, Elder Renlund is saying that we need to know that religious freedom and “allowing all men to worship how when or what they may,” (11th Article of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) is good for all people and all society everywhere around the world, to have as law and to have in their hearts as individuals.

These are things he did not say and did not mean by his speech:

  • He did not say that this means we must teach our children equally about all religions and their beliefs from when they are small children and then allow them to choose a religion after having exposed them equally to each and every other religion out there.
  • He did not say that we must allow educators of our children to teach our children whichever beliefs the teacher wants to teach to our children.
  • He did not say that we must associate equally by giving equally of our time with non-believers (people not of our own faith) and with believers (those of our own faith).

This is what I believe about LDS Homeschool moms need to do and do not need to do to uphold religious freedom while taking advantage of religious freedomfor their own family at the same time:

  • You can be, but you do not have to be, in a homeschool co-op that is for homeschool families of all faiths. You are not hiding your light under a bushel if you choose to only be part of groups which are for the education of your children, which include LDS perspectives, instruction and references and which are taught by a teacher who is LDS.
  • You can teach your children about respecting the religious beliefs of others by not saying bad things about any other religion, by pointing out the differences in our faith and the faith of others in a repectful manner.
  • You can talk to the homeschool moms who have different religious beliefs in front of your children, about her religious beliefs, in a kind manner, being a good listener and showing the greatest of respect for her and her beliefs.
  • You do need to go to large homeschooling community group events such as picnics, field day and field trips, which are for homeschooling people of sundry faiths. You do not need to attend all of them, but attending some is good for you and your family and for those in your community.
  • You do not have to feel okay with the idea of your children being taught homeschool lessons about any subject, by a homeschool mom or by anyone, who is of another faith.
  • Elemetary aged kids are very vulnerable to believing everything they hear from adults, even when they are not their parents and expecially if there is the appearance that their mom endorses the teachings because she set up the teaching opportunity. Junior High children can handle being taught by teachers of another faith a little more than small children. High School kids can handle it even more. However, as for me and my house, I have decided to no longer allow people of other faiths to teach any homeschool class or lesson to my children of any age, unless I feel confident that it is a public and community situation which does not allow religious beliefs to enter into the discussion.
  • Humanism is Taught in Accredited Schools all over the World. It is a Religion.

Homeschooling is the Road Less Travelled By. How has our choice to homeschool our children “made all the difference?”

My child showed me a video about choices called “Leave the Party.” It is from an LDS General Conference Talk by Bishop Gary E. Stevenson called, “Be Valiant in Courage, Strength and Activity.” He talked about a choice made by a young man at a party in Japan. Then he said that the choices each of us make now will make a difference in what happens in our life, in who we become. Every choice helps to shape our lives. It is so true. I pondered it, and thought about our choice to homeschool our children years ago.

It also reminded me of this poem many of us love by Robert Frost called, “The Road Not Taken.” I have it in a book which has the poems illustrated with beautiful watercolor paintings. I really love these 3 lines the most:

“…. long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;”

     These lines are touching to me. I like to put it into my life and my soul. “Long I stood” in 2011, pondering, studying, consulting and deciding. Long I stood then, next to my husband, in 2011 and 2012, he travelling beside me on the path. Should we homeschool? And (in January 2012, we) looked down as far as (we) could, to where (the path of homeschooling) bent in the undergrowth (at that time, that point was, until the next school year started. We just wanted to try it for the rest of that academic year, and be ready to put the kids back in school in August of 2012).


Now to go over these famous lines:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

     For sure, Homeschooling is the Road Less Travelled By. How has our choice to homeschool our children “made all the difference?”


  • Homeschooling helped our children to be happier, get along better with each other, and has brought more of the Gospel of Jesus Christ into our home.
  • Homeschooling has helped others, who have followed us down this path, they seeing that someone they knew was tredding on that path.
  • Homeschooling has given me a more thorough education, as I get to review and teach the things my children must learn. I learn (or review) things along with them and prove my basic education, giving me a stronger foundational education.
  • Homeschooling has led me to learn more about the U.S. Constitution and what is going on in politics in my county, state and country. I had been involved in politics and in learning about the U.S. Constitution, but not as much as I am involved in it now.
  • Homeschooling has led me to meet people whom I never would have met had I not started down its path. These people have helped to shape my life.
  • Homeschooling has helped me to become closer to Heavenly Father because it is so tough and I cannot do it without His help. I have learned and relearned that lesson.
  • Homeschooling has helped me to learn more about the Old Testament because in Life School and in Discover the Old Testament, we have been studying the Old Testament.
  • Homeschooling has made me happier, personally an has improved my health.
  • Homeschooling forces me to improve, as I have children whom I have taught, constantly encouraging me to be a better example to them.
  • Homeschooling helps me know my children on a deeper level. Because I spend more time with them than I would if I sent them to public school, I know more about them. (They also know more about me than they would the other way).
  • Homeschooling has influenced my childrens’ lives immensely, as, for one, they are exposed to completely different learning than they would be were they sent to school. I am not only talking about academic learning, but social learning, also. 
  • Homeschooling gave me and my children more chances to know more about my Grandma Preece and my Uncle Steven, who have now passed into post-mortality. Much of the time we spent with them was during what would have been otherwise, time with them away at school.
  • I have had more time during the days, day after day, to teach my children life skills which they should not have to wait for adulthood and free daytime hours, to learn.
  • I believe my children are closer to Havenly Father and love the Bible and Book of Mormon more than they would otherwise.
  • I truly believe that the choices my children make are better choices than they would have been had they been sent to school all these years.


“The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost



Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;


Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

October 2016 General Conference Quote: Elder Robert D. Hales, Quorum of the 12 Apostles

This is great advice for all parents and grandparents. I think it is really great advice for this LDS homeschool mom! I know it is about teaching the gospel for most, but for me it is about all of the homeschool teaching I do all week, as well. No training manual is better than scriptures praying pondering and seeking the Holy Spirit. The calling to be a parent gives us the ability to teach in ways right for our family. Awesome. Sometimes I forget that. We must not forget or set aside as unimportant, Family Home Evening. Family Home Evening is not a lecture from mom and dad. (We are guilty of that). Have fun together in Family Home Evening? We need to work on the “fun” part. I must not lose my patience and raise my voice in anger at my kids when I am frustrated during a homeschool day. This will make the Holy Spirit leave. This ultimate advice at the end is great for me: don’t give up!

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