The future of the Church Education System includes educating hundreds of thousands of people beyond those who attend LDS Church institutions, said CES Commissioner Kim B. Clark on May 19, speaking to the BYU-Hawaii ohana. Clark said CES can do this by teaching people to speak, read, and write English and also improving secondary education opportunities for youth of Grades 7 to 12 wherever the LDS Church is in the world.
BYUH’s English as an International Language curriculum will be used to help accomplish these goals, Clark said.
“I love you, and I love this place,” said Clark to the faculty and staff assembled in the McKay Auditorium to listen to his address. Clark said these initiatives further President David O. McKay’s vision of how Laie and the university would impact the world. “McKay saw the day when BYU-Hawaii would benefit millions. That day is now.”
Working on the CES goals will be a system-wide effort, he said, combining and building on the efforts of BYUH, BYU in Provo, BYU-Idaho, LDS Business College, the Seminary and Institute programs, the Missionary Training Center and the church’s Self-Reliance Services.
Clark said church leaders have asked CES to focus on teaching English worldwide to improve people’s ability to support themselves and their families and also build the church.
Additionally, CES has started three pilot programs in secondary education, Clark said. One is in Samoa, where CES and SRS have two learning sites to better prepare students. The second is in Vanuatu, where CES is providing after-school support two days a week. The third is in Papua New Guinea, where CES is providing five hours of instruction each day for at-risk youth and students who have dropped out of school in Grade 7 and 8 preparing them to enter Grade 9.
Calling education “the struggle for perfection,” quoting President Henry B. Eyring in 1971 when Eyring was inaugurated as president at BYU-Idaho, then Ricks College, Clark said gaining an education helps people grow spiritually.
“We need to educate the rising generation more deeply and more powerfully than we have ever done before or than anyone has ever done before,” Clark said.
The CES’s mission is to find ways to reach and teach people around the world, and he said that requires the BYUH ohana to grow spiritually, too. Clark said while he knows the faculty and staff are already a “consecrated people,” they need to seek for and follow inspiration to discover and to develop ways to better prepare the youth of the church in latter days in preparation of Christ’s second coming.
Sharing his own personal experience when he prayed about how to combat the powers of the adversary, Clark said he woke up one night after a terrible dream. When he prayed, Ephesians 6:12 came to his mind. It says: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” He said he went back to sleep and in the morning read the previous two verses, Ephesians 6:10-11, which states, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
In discussing how to put on the whole armor of God with his wife, Sue, they came up with two questions they asked themselves and which Clark asked the BYUH ohana to contemplate:
1. What am I doing that I should stop doing?
2. What am I not doing that I should start doing?
Clark asked the BYUH ohana to increase their spirituality, repent, and exercise faith in Christ. He testified Christ can change people’s lives, hearts and minds. “We need to change and repent. If we do, the Lord will give us great spiritual power to do what we need to do,” Clark said. “It will be through the power of the Holy Ghost that we can bring the power of Christ into students’ lives.”
Clark spoke on this same subject in an August 2015 Seminary and Institutes broadcast titled “Encircled About With Fire.” In it, he said as CES employees and volunteers seek greater spirituality, “Our lives will more fully and completely reflect the teachings of the Savior. Then—when we administer programs, or develop curriculum, or implement new methods, or hire or call and train new teachers, or counsel students, or plan new buildings, or open up a new area, or walk into a classroom to teach God’s children—we will receive the revelation we need, and we will do the work with the pure love of Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost. The rising generation will learn deeply, and they will rise up!
“We know this will happen. We know how this all turns out. The Lord Jesus Christ will come, and His people and His Church will be prepared to receive Him.”
After his speech, Clark took questions from the audience. Psychology Professor Ron Miller asked how the BYUH ohana can help meet the CES goals. Clark said, “First and foremost, change the way we work.” Clark said the ideas for how to change need to come from inside each person when they ask Heavenly Father for direction and then follow personal inspiration.
“It won’t come just from the top,” Clark said. “It will come from people like you who get on their knees and then go and do what they are inspired to do.”