What's new: 'Called to Teach' is an educational gem

By Micah Klug

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, June 11 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

Updated: Wednesday, June 11 2014 4:50 p.m. MDT

"CALLED TO TEACH: The Legacy of Karl G. Maeser,” by A. Legrand Richards, BYU Religious Studies Center and Deseret Book, $32.99, 320 pages (nf)

In “Called to Teach: The Legacy of Karl G. Maeser,” author A. Legrand Richards dives deep into Maeser’s professional career as an educator and teacher. Richards says that “Called to Teach” was not intended as a biography of Maeser’s family life, but as a historical, educational and philosophical study.

Maeser’s professional accomplishments and his connection with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are thoroughly discussed. Emigrating from his native land of Germany after joining the LDS Church, Maeser faced forces of opposition, oppression and persecution. Richards provides historical background information on political conditions where Maeser lived. He also introduces the reader to several people who influenced or made impressions on Maeser’s life, whether directly or indirectly.

Maeser will always be known for being the spiritual architect of Brigham Young University and of the educational system of the LDS Church, Richards says. Maeser’s philosophy as a teacher was based upon principles centered on Jesus Christ. Previous pupils of Maeser, such as James Talmage, Bryant Hinckley, Benjamin Cluff and George Sutherland are highlighted in their discussions about their former teacher.

Maeser held the belief that teachers were messengers from a Heavenly Father, and as such, should act accordingly with the highest standards of moral duty and integrity. He spent his life perfecting these attributes within himself and inspiring others to live them as well. He always felt his specific divinely appointed mission in this life was to strengthen the education of Zion, Richards writes. Maeser’s work and legacy still continue today.

Richards is an associate professor of educational leadership and foundations at BYU. Richards received a Bachelor of Science at BYU, a Master of Education at Harvard University, and a doctorate in philosophy at BYU. He and his wife currently reside in Utah.

Micah Klug graduated with her bachelor’s degree in health care administration from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She currently resides in Rexburg, Idaho.

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