A Tale of Two Teachers, Part 2: They Got It Right

After a personal introduction last time, I promised we would speak of Hadleyburg (not its real name), and so we shall.

Last year, about this time, the administrators at Hadleyburg Valley High School (HVHS) needed to find a new math teacher for the coming (now the current) academic year. They didn’t just post the job, then sit back and wait for whatever applications might come in. Their commitment to their students and to academic excellence demanded more. They went out looking for the right candidate.

They found a teacher who was highly regarded not only for his mastery of math and math curricula and his creative command of the teacher’s art, but also for his diligence and his care for each student. They persuaded him to leave his comfortable position in the big city, move his family to Hadleyburg, and take the job.

Our Use of Words Matters

Author's Note

Words mean things, and many of the most important words mean a range of things. Consider, for example, that love can mean anything from a selfless, divine love to something only barely on the happy side of animal lust. A five year old who declares his love for his mother means something much different from what his mother means when she says she loves him.

A man and woman who discover that they love each other would do well to explore what they mean by love long before they order the wedding invitations. Likewise, we must be careful to define our terms anytime we engage in serious discussion, legislation, or decision-making which turns on the precise meaning of words.

New Hymns from the Sutherland Institute

In the spirit of Edward Snowden, though I do not particularly admire him, I recently hacked into the servers at the Sutherland Institute. There I found drafts of what appears to be a new hymnal. I can’t tell from the files I found whether publication is imminent; nor can I discern the intended distribution. The new hymnal could be just for in-house pep rallies — devotionals, they probably call them. Or perhaps it’s for public sale, aimed at the limited but well-financed subset of Mormons who think actual Mormonism is too concerned with things like freedom and kindness, and not nearly righteous enough.

To make a long story short, I discovered that they have rewritten all or part of some familiar Mormon and other Christian hymns to suit their higher principles. I grabbed some samples to share with you. You’ll see some evidence of their preoccupation with quivers full of children, and also their odd idea of religious freedom, which includes incorporating their religious principles into civil law, and being spared the presence in the workplace or neighborhood of anyone who makes moral choices of which they disapprove.