75 years ago today - Aug 9, 1944

Reading standards committee ... is to pass upon and approve all materials, other than those that are purely secular, to be used by our Church Priesthood, Educational, Auxiliary, and Missionary organizations in their work of instructing members of the Church ....

To meet the required standards for use by Church organizations, such materials must:

1. Clearly set forth or be fully consistent with the principles of the Restored Gospel.

2. Be wholly free from any taint of sectarianism and also of all theories and conclusions destructive of faith in the simple truths of the Restored Gospel, and especially be free from the teachings of the so-called "higher criticism." Worldly knowledge and speculation have their place; but they must yield to revealed truth.

3. Be so framed and written as affirmatively to breed faith and not to raise doubts. "Rationalizing" may be most destructive of faith. That the Finite cannot fully explain the Infinite casts no doubt upon the Infinite. Truth, not error, must be stressed.

4. Be so built in form and substance as to lead to definite conclusions that accord with the principles of the Restored Gospel, which conclusions must be expressed and not left to possible deduction by the students. When truth is involved there is no place for student preference or choice. Youth must be taught that truth cannot be blinked or put aside; it must be accepted.

5. Be filled with a spirit of deepest reverence. They should give no place for the slightest levity. They should be so written that those who teach from them will so understand.

6. Be so organized and written that the matter may be effectively taught by men and women untrained in teaching and without the background equipment given by such fields of learning as psychology, pedagogy, philosophy, and ethics. The great bulk of our teachers are in this untrained group.

Courses on "comparative religion" have no place otherwise than in the Post-Graduate School to be established at the Brigham Young University and there only for the purpose of developing and demonstrating the truth of the Restored Gospel and the falsity of the other religions of the world, and thereby build the faith and knowledge of post-graduate scholars. The subject is one for careful, prayerful study by the mature mind, not for the framing of the thought and belief of the youthful mind.

... All texts written and lessons prepared are to bear the name of those who write or prepare them.

In the preparation of all these materials prime consideration should be given, by those undertaking it, to our own Church history and doctrinal literature. In the rather recent past these sources have been too little considered. Sectarian views and doctrines have had too large a place and consideration; the paganistic theories and tenets of the so-called "higher criticism' have not been without their influence; none of these have a place in our Church. They should be wholly eliminated from our literature.

... The discussion of mysteries and of doctrines upon which there is not a recognized accepted view, should be avoided. The aim should be to present the simple truths of the Restored Gospel in as plain and understandable a way as possible.

[Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)]

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