135 years ago today - Jun 8, 1888

Until December, 1884 the "Mormons" held control of public schools in Utah. On December 29, 1884 Governor Murray issued a proclamation appointing a prominent "Gentile" mining man, William M. Perry as the first non-Mormon Superintendent of Public Schools in the Territory of Utah although L. John Nuttall had been elected in the fall of 1883 for a two year term to the same office. Utah now had two Territorial Superintendents of Public Schools.

On July 23, 1885 the Utah Commission spread upon their minutes their request, to the Secretary of Interior and the Attorney General of the United States, for a ruling in this dispute. The Attorney General ruled that the office should be appointive and upheld Governor Murray.

On March 13, 1886, Governor Murray issued another proclamation appointing Parley L. Williams, another non-Mormon, to succeed William M. Perry. There was not another Mormon Superintendent of Public Schools for Utah until after statehood in 1896.

Under these circumstances the First Presidency had announced in their Epistle to the Church on October 6, 1886:

"Our children should be indoctrinated in the principles of the Gospel from their earliest childhood. They should be made familiar with the contents of the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. These should be their chief text books, and everything should be done to establish and promote in their hearts genuine faith in God, in His Gospel and its ordinances, and in His works. But under our common school system this is not possible."

[The Church General Board of Education sent a letter instructing each stake to establish an academy for secondary education. From 1888 to 1909, 35 academies were established in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona, Mexico and Canada. The academy in Rexburg, Idaho, later became Ricks College and then BYU-Idaho.]

[Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes); Church News: Historical Chronology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]

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