Quote of the Day

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Changes

Here is some interesting evidence about the Wikipedia editor I have previously discussed.

In late February, I had a back-and-forth with Ibinthinkin about the Oliver DeMille article. He kept insisting that LaSalle University was not a diploma mill at the time DeMille got his law degree there. I won't bore you with the details (follow the link if you want them), but it came down to whether or not DeMille got the degree before 1996.

He agreed that before 1996, in its early years of operation, it was a diploma mill. After, he said, it was a normal correspondence school. I had seen plenty of documentation saying he got the degree before 1996.

As I browsed my GWC material for the evidence, I found convincing stuff in DeMille's mea culpa blog entry. But don't bother following that link, looking for what I found. You see the blog entry has been changed, removing any mention of a time line associated with LaSalle. I discovered this when I went to the live site, hoping to provide Ibinthinkin with a link to view.

Luckily, I copied the original entry, and present the relevant section below, juxtaposed with the revised version (click to enlarge; changes highlighted in gray):



Some key quotes that were removed:

- "...my experience was during the first years of operation..."
- "...an unwitting fool in an apparent scam."
- "...they had been shut down as a diploma mill, and my understanding is that it was warranted."

The date of the original blog post (4-10-2009) has not been changed, nor can I find any indication that he has disclosed the changes.


So at the time Ibinthinkin was arguing that there is no evidence DeMille attended before 1996, DeMille made changes to his blog entry that obscure any time-related facts.

Draw your own conclusion.

I don't understand why acknowledging LaSalle as a diploma mill is such a big issue. DeMille has no problem acknowledging TIBS as such. But there it is.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

The actions of the GW crowd are becoming more and more absurd to the point of comedy. The best thing the school could do would be to totally disassociate themselves from DeMille and Brooks. The institution might stand a fighting chance if it didn't have to constantly deal with the founders' revisionist history and efforts to establish legitimacy.

Anonymous said...

I have had enough and can no longer stay silent. Mr. “Anonymous” who calls himself TRGW, you really should consider the depths of hypocrisy your little witch hunt has led you into. First of all, consider the reason you claim you started this libelous blog of yours, namely to share what you have discovered about George Wythe University and its founders. In your March 16th entry you actually use the words “constructive criticism.” Oddly you only seem to share negative things. Have you ever found anything positive? Has anyone ever told you that GWU effected a positive change in their life? Is it even possible in your limited “tunnel vision” world view, that perhaps there are more people that have been positively effected than not? Has it occurred to you that GWU is actually sharing the principles of freedom with thousands of people and in some small way they may actually be accomplishing their mission to move the cause of liberty?

Contrast that to what you are doing, tearing down an institution dedicated to making America a better place. Seriously, what are your motives? What is your endgame? I just don’t see your “greater good.” In your opinion, do you actually believe that the world would be a better place without GWU in it? There are thousands who have been positively effected by GWU and it’s message and yet you never seem to mention them or their experiences. How is that “constructive?”

On March 16th you took the time to mention a school that you do support. A school based in comparable principles “and constitutionalist roots.” Interestingly you had to go more than 1700 miles to find one. You all but confess that there is nothing better servicing the entire western United States. That is probably why your relative didn’t spend her college savings at Hillsdale, right?

Speaking of which, why doesn’t your so called relative who “blew through her college savings” speak for herself? Why doesn’t she actually take the effort to identify what specifically was such a waste of her time and money. Is it because she is afraid that someone will point out the reality of the situation; that one gets out of something what one puts in. Is it possible that while she was playing the role of victim, her fellow alumni were taking responsibility for their own education and having an incredibly fulfilling liberal arts experience? Who is the villain that made her choose to attend that unaccredited institution? What is the name of the person who forced her to go there? Nobody did. She went of her own free will and as you so plainly point out, she did little to show for her time and money spent there.

Was she perhaps more interested in boys than her studies? Cause that kind of thing can happen. What a waste. But she’s not the first. I have many friends who have attended many different universities who have nothing to show for their time there. I understand that less than half of all accredited university students ever make it all the way to graduation. The world is full of bitter failures like your relative. I just don’t see any of them taking time and effort to discredit the reputation of the institution that they failed to reap anything from. I’m just curious to know which of the George Wythe University’s required authors did your relative fail to learn anything from? Was it Plato? Tolstoy? C.S. Lewis? Stephen Covey? Tocqueville?

The fact is, I personally know over a hundred people who have benefitted greatly from their GW experiences including myself. The reason I don’t affix my name to these words is because of your very interesting reasons for remaining anonymous yourself. You claim that you don’t want these words to “define you.” And yet you go to great lengths to define others by slandering their names so loosely throughout your blog. Wow, what a revelation; Oliver, Rachel, Andy and Shanon are not perfect. How profound and original.

[…these comments are continued below…]

Anonymous said...

[…these comments are a continuation from above…]

You know who else wasn’t perfect? Joseph Smith. Boy did he ever make mistakes. Did you know that he was actually guilty of some of the crimes they incarcerated him for? It’s hard for many “critics” to see the good that came from the organization he founded through all of the personal flaws and mistakes of the founder. There are boatloads of evidence against him. Way more than your puny, selective, one-sided “evidence” against GWU. The early financial books of the LDS church are very disorderly.

Are you aware that quite a bit of the anti-mormon literature is true? You probably think the world is a better place because of the truths (mixed with personal opinions) that the anti-mormons share. Like you, they do “it as a service.” Granted, many of them admit to not having read the Book of Mormon. Hey, that’s kinda similar to your admission of not reading Thomas Jefferson Education or any of the other books DeMille has written. Or the unstated fact that you’ve never sat in on a George Wythe University class. Your opinion might have some credibility if you were a GW graduate, but you’re not even an GW attendee.

I personally believe that DeMille’s writings and the school that he founded have all come through inspiration from a higher source. I now, very seriously, challenge you, TRGW, to apply the exhortation in Moroni to the truths taught by GWU and TJED; “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost [TRGW] may know the truth of [GWU & TJED].” Keep in mind that Oliver never claimed to have written the most correct of any book.

With deep sincerity, TRGW, I challenge you. You claim that you are a church going mormon. I assume you mean temple worthy. Can you honestly say that you have prayed to learn God’s will regarding your little blog here? Has God sanctioned your efforts? Because I think if you actually were to pray about this with sincerity and honesty, that God would tell you to delete this blog that you have dedicated to discrediting good members of the church who are doing everything in their power to fulfill their most holy covenants. That instead, you would dedicate your time and energy to the building up of Zion, as these people have done.

I testify to you, Mr. TRGW, that I have prayed and I have been assured, dear brother, through the power of the spirit that both the efforts and the motives of the people you slander here are lovely, of good report and praiseworthy. Would to God, that we would all seek after these things.

The next words you utter on this blog had better be an answer to this challenge. That if, somehow, you are actually encouraged by the Lord to continue your assault of this great cause, that you will come back with much more conviction and sense of purpose. You will then be obligated to doing everything in your power to stop the spread of GWU principles. Most likely you will have to shed this pathetic shroud of anonymity and with the sanction of God, you will finally have the courage to “define yourself” by the words you write here.

I’m calling you out, coward, with the knowledge that God is on my side. You hide behind half truths as did the Pharisees and Scribes who accused Jesus. You know not what you crucify. But you are not beyond redemption. You can undo the harm you have done. The Spirit can tell you how. It is my prayer, that you will be humble enough to listen.

The Real George Wythe said...

I'm glad you commented, Anonymous @ 8:49.

Here is my response:

George Wythe College is not a church; Thomas Jefferson Education is not a religion; and Oliver DeMille is not a prophet.

See here.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting how you avoid every one of the questions above. More interesting is how you didn’t mention the challenge at all. You have once again proven to be a coward. You wouldn’t dream of taking this to your knees for fear of what you might learn. Your pride blinds you. Again, I will ask… what does God think of your little blog here? Or, in your opinion, is he silent about anything outside of the church? Pray brother. Pray always. About everything. Then heed the instruction that follows. And in the future, don't put words in other people's mouths... it makes you look foolish.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous Kool-aid Drinker,

It is funny that you call TRGW a coward, when you mask your identity as well.

I echo TRGW's comments: TJED is not scripture, Oliver DeMille is not a prophet, and GWU is not a church. If I were to take your challenge, it would be the same as asking God if the Pope is a true priesthood holder, the Catholic church is true, and if the chatechism is true.

Do you make it a practice of asking God which toilet paper is the right one for you?

Do you ask God which gas station has the best gas?

Do you ask God if a journalist is telling the truth?

Or, do you make your own decisions?

I think that it is pretty clear that GWU has very questionable mentors who have consistently masked their phony credentials, revised their histories, and demonstrated that they have no fiscal restraint (think about the Monticello campus...).

I think BYU is a great example of a conservative school that is in perfect line with constitutional principles. Indeed, BYU is led by prophets, and I believe that it is not necessary to ask God if BYU is a great place to send kids where they will get an excellent undergraduate education. BYU is accredited too...for a reason.

GWU has failed to gain accreditation, yet it charges tuition to people on failed promises and failed hope of impending accreditation. Don't you see a problem with that?

I for one see no reason to pray about this school. I think anyone can use their God-given brain and "study this out in their mind".

I have done so. I question my own motives from time to time.

I have come to the conclusion that individuals like you who come troll for posts, ask people to pray about whether or not GWU is true, and if DeMille is manna, have unresolved issues. It only reinforces my belief that GWU is a cult, DeMille is a false prophet, and TJED is seriously warped.

Anonymous said...

Yet again, my questions remain unanswered and my challenge untested. It truly is noteworthy that the critics of GWU remain anonymous while simultaneously slandering the good names of its supporters. Hypocrisy. I at least have taken my challenge. As a reminder, I am not asking anyone to pray to find out if Leadership Education is true. That would be absurd. The freedom of speech assumes that one thinks before they speak.

Anonymous said...

Weren't the Federalist Papers originally signed anonymously?

A GWU student who has grown to mistrust GWU.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an interesting conversation I’ve stumbled upon. This blog is finally getting worthwhile (well maybe that's a stretch). To the person who just commented, I seriously doubt that the lives of the contributors to this blog are at risk as were the lives of the signers. No, I agree with the wordy blogger above that they are just afraid to risk their reputation, while they don’t give a second thought to discrediting the reputation of people with names.

I am interested in hearing TRGW’s answer to the purpose and endgame of this blog. It seems like it started out criticizing GWU as an educational institution and now it appears to just bash on Oliver DeMille. It’s funny that a couple of you use the term “prophet” when describing him. For fun I just visited his new website www.oliverdemille.com and noticed that he doesn’t link to GWU. Perhaps since he is no longer president, he has left GWU to be managed and operated by its current administration.

Oh, and for the record, BYU was an educational institution for over 60 years before they had any accreditation. Hillsdale College took over 80 years. It’s very possible that GWU can do it in roughly 20 and without the financial backing of an entire religion. That says something.

While Dr. DeMille has left his children a growing educational legacy, TRGW will be remembered by his own children as the man who tried in vain to stop him. Perhaps this Blog should be renamed “The Real DeMille” since it has less and less to do with the current GWU. Hey, everyone is entitled to their anonymous opinion. ; )

- An Amused Reader who has grown to mistrust TRGW

Anonymous said...

I can't believe this statement:

"Oh, and for the record, BYU was an educational institution for over 60 years before they had any accreditation. Hillsdale College took over 80 years."

It is so obvious. BYU and Hillsdale were around long before accreditation was a practice in the USA.

Oh, and for the record, I didn't know how to use the internet until after I was in high school. What a dope I am!

Anonymous said...

You are so right. Long before the concept of “proper” accreditation was thought of, both of these schools were fully functioning. If you go back and study their school histories, you’ll see that huge changes (and sacrifices) needed to be made in order to bring their educational systems in line with the desired accreditation. You’ll discover that before accreditation, they used more classics and followed a more individual and mentored class approach. Now they are more textbook and professor oriented (I know this having been a student at both institutions, the textbooks from both still cluttering my bookshelves).

While it is true that Hillsdale has retained much of its Leadership model, BYU has become more and more conveyor belt in its approach, teaching to tests and preparing its students through career training (which is a great thing if that is what you are looking for). Some might argue that these were changes for the better, but I’m sure the administrations that had to make those decisions had to really weigh the benefits of accreditation against what they would be losing. Hard choices indeed, but when you have to look mainstream you’ve got to do what needs to be done, no matter the cost. For these reasons, I’m aware of several students seeking a more classical approach that have left BYU for GWU and found it both more challenging and more rewarding.

I think where you and I agree is that GWU is not for everyone. I sure love it.

Anonymous said...

Amused Reader,

How is TRGW discrediting the reputation of people with names? What is the difference between criticism and bashing? I see this blog as criticizing both the founder and GWU when it is merited. Your criticism of BYU and TRGW could be seen as bashing by some.

Mistrusts GWU

J.L.L said...

The anonymous poster defending GWU is a good example of some of the problems with people in this movement. She turns GWU into a religious movement, and she uses all sorts of insults and attempts at manipulation as a response to criticisms of GWU.

She says your relative had a bad experience at GWU because she was distracted by boys. She says, "The world is full of bitter failures like your relative" when she doesn't know her story beyond what you have briefly mentioned. So while accusing you of not providing enough information to draw a conclusion, she herself draws several.

I had written how TJEd and GWU had become embraced as religious to some people, and that they defend the ideas in the movement by making comparisons to Joseph Smith and anti-mormonism. This is very dangerous. They have elevated DeMille and Brooks to be religious leaders, men who represent God's will, who are persecuted for being good and speaking truth.

They also use what they claim is a witness of the Spirit that TJEd and GWU are true, and that is suppose to shut down further criticism, else you'd be speaking against the Holy Ghost. This is a method of manipulation to stop further criticism. This works for things of the Spirit, matters of faith. It does not work for things that of academics that can be defended in other ways. If DeMille discovered things of history and education then we should be able to learn those same things, too, through studying the same things. But if the anonymous poster bears her testimony, then she feels that this is not something one can learn through study, but something that must be revealed by the Spirit. And so you cannot criticize it. It's a serious confusion and mixture of religion and educational theories that aren't revealed by God or his authorized servants. Doesn't mean they're wrong, but it does mean you ought not treat them as such or use testimony as a way to defend them. It's getting in the realm of blasphemy to use the Spirit as a way to defend a secular idea, and indicates a desperation of having no other way to refute criticism.

She obviously writes in anger, yet calls you a coward and demands that use ask the Spirit whether the things taught by GWU are true. Again, this is dangerous ground to be on.

Common manipulation tactics are to make a person pointing out problems be made to feel like they have done something wrong just by doing so. Nice people wouldn't accuse people of such things. So-and-so is such a good man but you are accusing him of terrible things. No one is perfect, but you are required to forgive all men; in fact the greater sin rests on you if you don't forgive (my personal favorite that has been used directly on me about a different issue).

These are all attempts to make you feel bad about even pointing out problems, period. It's manipulation via guilt trip. Baseless accusations are wrong, but accusations of wrong doing in the public sphere with evidence is not wrong. In fact, sometimes it is the duty of the individual to do so.

So the anonymous poster is perhaps an extreme example of people in this movement. It is religious to them, it is truth that you can't convince them otherwise, and as such they will defend it at all costs. Criticism of it as akin to anti-mormon accusations. This poster bears her testimony of it, calls you a coward, demands you respond...it's scary to me. And definitely not what the Founding Fathers did.

J.L.L said...

These tactics are commonly used in TJEd to get people to join the movement, and stay in the movement. They try to take people's existing convictions of religious truths and graft in these TJEd ideas, or rather to get the individual to accept TJEd ideas are part of those existing religious truths. And then when people start to doubt or question, they try to make people think that they are then questioning all their religious convictions. This is what I wrote on my blog. This is what is so insidious about it: trying to confuse people about what is part of their religious convictions, ie, what has been witnessed by the Spirit. And that's the only way people would get on board and stay on board with it.

Lucy 4 Dewey said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Mistrusts GWU and J.L.L. above. I’ve had my share of TJEDers trying to convince me to pray about things unrelated to official church doctrine. It’s so true that God gave us reason so we wouldn’t have to weary him day and night over petty or secular things. Next thing DeMille and Brooks will be telling us is that we need to pray before an election or about what career path we should choose. Their circular arguments always seem to end with “taking it to the Lord” as if that can somehow validate the truth in everything. I, like Mistrusts GWU, make my own decisions. I don’t just ignorantly let god dictate my every action. As my colleague J.L.L. so eloquently said, I refuse to be manipulated like that. Please TRGW, keep up the good work. We must not let the likes of DeMille and Brooks spread their message unchallenged. You’ve got my support.

Felidae said...

I remember my days at BYU when the occasional Pharisee bore testimony of something inappropriate -- most often revealing some obscure personal obsession at the fringe -- while the rest of us would cringe and look at the student sideways. Every time they drifted close to their pet topic again, we collectively rolled our eyes, often literally.

As an adult taking George Wythe classes at my convenience for a number of years, yes, I've seen a few of these embarrassing students who misuse religion this way, but probably no more than I did at BYU or community college before that.

In fact, my observation at GW is that the occasional religious zealot is often bluntly challenged on the spot, both by other students and by faculty -- and with more consistency than I noticed at BYU and WSU. Those few who persist become isolated -- just like anywhere -- and tend not to graduate.

What I see overall is that the few remaining "DeMille and Brooks" groupies (a rapidly dwindling minority) are withering in their little bubbles while the bulk of students and alumni seem to have moved beyond them in their study that they began at GW.

Unbalanced zealots like the one who posted on this blog typically squander the legitimately good points they actually have -- just like they do in class. Case in point.

At its core, GW simply introduces students to a basic classical liberal arts education -- like many such schools -- and along with those institutions there's nothing magical or inherently religious to it -- not even its mission. If we are mature, we recognize this and appreciate the good that such an education brings no matter where you attend, but are also objective enough to appreciate the criticisms of TRGW about DeMille and Brooks -- who frankly are irrelevant to the long-established tradition of the liberal arts core as taught all over the world. I attend solely to engage in rigorous discussion with faculty and students UNLIKE the one who posted here.

The Real George Wythe said...

Well said, Felidae.

Lucy 4 Dewey said...

Felidae,

I see only 2 flaws in your argument. The first was where you claimed that the above “unbalanced zealot” actually had “legitimately good points.” I see neither legitimacy nor goodness in the craziness written there and I defy you to list what “good points” you are referring to.

Second, you claim that you only attend GWU so that you can engage in rigorous discussion. Was rigorous discussion not available at BYU, WSU or any other school you could have chosen? You imply that such could be found “no matter where you attend,” but your choice of GWU shows a deeper, undisclosed reason for attending.

Felidae, you have come to this blog, claiming to critique GWU in order to capture the interest of these truth seeking readers, when secretly your every underlying message screams of your support and proves you to be merely another missionary to “the cause.” You are too quick to throw DeMille and Brooks under the bus in order to defend the GWU of 2010. Don’t you realize that you can’t separate the school from its founders; they are one and the same.

That is the message of TRGW and I couldn’t agree with him more.

The Real George Wythe said...

Felidae,

See my post here for my thoughts on what George Wythe can do to shake itself from its past and have a real impact on society.

TRGW

The Real George Wythe said...

Lucy,

See my warning to you here.

TRGW

Felidae said...

@Lucy: Even the most misguided of people can make “legitimately good points” on occasion, no matter how much we disagree with them the other 90% of the time. I believe TRGW even does a decent job of acknowledging this among GW supporters.

Your second point assumes that I take GW classes in place of attending elsewhere. I actually graduated from BYU over a decade ago and I'm quite pleased with that experience. Although I graduated at the top of my class, I attribute that largely to being a few years older than my peers. This does, however, remind me of the "legitimately good point" the zealot made: Many people, in fact, finish college with very little to show for it. By contrast, others may reap enormous rewards in a seemingly vacuous learning environment. So yes, it's mostly up to the student. Perhaps the main difference between my own experience and that of TRGW's relative -- regardless of institution -- can be summed up in the advantage of age. That said, none of us is really in a position to judge his relative's motivation to learn.

My "deeper, undisclosed" reason for bothering to take GW classes is that after BYU I remained intrigued with the classical liberal arts canon, which is quite a bit broader and deeper than basic General Education requirements. The GW extension courses were convenient and affordable compared to going back east to one of the better schools, so I gave it a whirl. I found the discussions surprisingly engaging and rigorous, and even at BYU I didn't mind helping the occasional fringoid open his eyes to the broader world. Same goes for the classes I've attended on campus at GW.

As for imagining the school and its "founders" as one and the same, I hate to burst your bubble but perhaps you are making the same mistaken assumptions as the religious zealot. As TRGW stated a few posts back, GW is not a church and TJED is not a religion. As a mere school it is subject to evolving over time. I've watched it do so quite a bit lately and a number of things are becoming clear.

First, Dr. Schulthies is the current provost and he and Groft have have altered the curriculum considerably. If TJED was ever the administration's gospel, today it's not even a catechism. It may be a pedagogy for a few homeschoolers in your circles, but GW itself has moved on, focusing instead on the same approach you'd find at any liberal arts school. Beyond classes in which it's deconstructed alongside other pedagogies, the term TJED is rarely even spoken today.

As for Brooks, he's almost universally dismissed at this point -- no longer even connected to the school -- even a pariah in the eyes of many students and faculty. The only people you hear supporting him are the few lingering oddballs who haven't yet caught on. Nearly everyone I know at the school has washed their hands of him.

As for DeMille, he is only known by former and older students. I rarely even hear his name mentioned anymore, and students are as likely to challenge his ideas as anyone elses. His little TJED thing certainly has its groupies, but from what I see, GW parted ways with it some time ago and TJED is now veering off on its own with no support from the school that I can see.

What will GW look like two years from now? It's hard to say precisely, but given the large effort underway to align curriculum with other schools for transfer credit, we can hardly look to former leadership to make any guesses.

Anonymous said...

Wow Felidae, you make some really good arguments for people considering attending GWU. Thank you.

J.L.L said...

But Felidae, the only reason GWU (and TJEd for that matter) attract any number of people is exactly because of the zealousness. Take out the "greatness," "principles," and testimony-bearing and hardly anyone would join up. People do not look at GWU and TJEd and thing that there is really good instruction. People like the messages of destiny and greatness and want to partake of that. They are selling a dream. Without the dream and glory, the whole thing would fall apart.

I just want to throw out one other thing: TJed has nearly ruined homeschooling in Utah. I just learned of yet another family that gave up on homeschooling because they got way into TJEd, were "failures" at it (meaning they didn't get the promised results), and now are sending their kids to public school. Now, there's nothing wrong with sending your kids to public school. The point is that the reason they are doing it is because TJEd ruined their homeschooling experience. I realize this is an anecdote and no one can really confirm what I am saying, but this is where I am coming from.

There used to be an LDS Homeschoolers Conference in Utah until it turned TJEd and then disappeared. I know so many families that have tried TJEd and given up on homeschooling entirely. I know so many people whose impression of homeschoolers is from people doing TJEd, and it is not positive.

And let me say this: it is easy to be in the "Love of Learning" phase. It's easy to let your kids just wonder at the world and explore and not require them to do anything, delaying any difficult academics until later, "when they are ready." It's hard to help a kids succeed and achieve and progress. I'm not talking about being pushy. But this is why so many TJEd "experts" only have younger kids. All the "experts" have it all figured out...and their oldest is like 9. Yet people pay them money for their "expertise" and have them talk at their conferences. When will people learn to use a little discernment.

Lucy 4 Dewey said...

Excuse me Felidae, but does GWU no longer believe in the following ideals; mentors not professors, classics not textbooks and quality not conformity? Sounds a lot like TJED to me. Have they changed their 5 pillars? And didn’t your University President just give the keynote address at the biggest TJED annual meeting in SLC? Didn’t he speak alongside Shanon Brooks who gave the keynote youth address? Out of curiosity, what are you currently calling the education model at GWU? Leadership Education? Does your GWU mentor follow the inspire not require and you not them initiatives? I’m not sure catechism is quite the word you were looking for.

Lucy 4 Dewey said...

Try: Status Quo

Felidae said...

I suspect you are right, J.L.L. about the reasons many people have attended GW. I was introduced by a friend rather than the cheesy MLM-styled pitches on "greatness." Finding hyperbole distasteful, I was never impressed by either Brooks or DeMille. Had I met them first, I would never have signed up.

Despite them, the quality of classroom instruction and discussion, however, is actually not bad for the most part--sometimes even quite good, but that depends on your instructor. Again, the odds for better or worse are about the same as anywhere.

It's probably also true that many students have lacked discernment when choosing GW. Since I already have a BYU degree, accreditation wasn't a factor to me, but I have personally advised some students to go elsewhere. Still, I've seen others do quite well and proceed to graduate school. From my understanding about the path to accreditation, it's probably advisable for many students to wait a bit though.

As for TJED, I agree that it's far too prone to ending in a train wreck. Is it really that dominant in the homeschooling world though, even in Utah? I don't see much of a future for it at GW in any case.

@Lucy: "Mentors not professors" is no DeMille invention. Take a look across the spectrum of liberal arts colleges. At St. Johns they're called "tutors." The Socratic method is basic to the breed, minor differences aside. Same goes for "classics not textbooks" -- the default method at any liberal arts school. (Yawn).... The list goes on; none are DeMille inventions. Look up Shimer College in Chigago, etc. etc. There's even some flexibility on textbooks at GW, since the faculty I've spoken with are not averse to using one occasionally anyway. It's only the TJED zombies who rigidly imagine the Koolaid they keep drinking is unique.

As for Groft speaking at the TJED forum, I believe BYU's Brad Wilcox spoke there too. If instead a TJED representative presented at a GW or BYU event, I might be more alarmed. I doubt we'll be seeing that in the future at either school though. You can't even find TJED links on the GW website anymore.

Lucy 4 Dewey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lucy 4 Dewey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Let me try this again a little more diplomatically.

I am aware that some of you may label me a religious zealot for these beliefs, but when doing so, be careful not to make generalizations or put words in my mouth. Remember that some of the greatest leaders in history were zealots. The truth is, I do have a religious conviction that both GWU and TJED have divinely inspired missions. They have proven of invaluable worth in my own life and the lives of many that I know.

I do not foolishly deny that mistakes have ever been made or that some individuals may apply the lessons learned from them in ineffective ways. No mortals are perfect. I do however see Leadership Education (including both GWU and TJED) as one of the many fingers working toward the left arm of good government and ultimately the building up of Zion. This is a concept that the American Founders felt religiously passionate about, as outlined in Skousen’s The Majesty of Gods Law. I believe BYU is another finger on that same hand, working toward that end. Perhaps this is something that Wilcox and Beck have come to recognize.

I see the LDS church as the right arm; the religious side of the Lord’s greater Kingdom (body). I don’t see the church as absolutely perfect in every way. I think the author of this blog would agree that even the LDS church has been guilty of a little obfuscation in its history. I think they view it as both regrettable and necessary for the progress of the greater good and they would only ever use it when they felt inspired to do so.

Governing the whole body, I believe that Christ is the head. Again these are just my own convictions, I do not speak for the entire community (to my knowledge nobody does).

I’m not sure where this blog fits into that metaphoric image. My first thought is that it doesn’t fit there. However, Peter and Paul disagreed on a few things as well, and the Continental Congress had to have its John Dickinson (that didn’t make him an enemy to liberty).

I do believe that a person can and should pray about these things. I have had answers to my prayers on the subject as have many of my friends. I certainly do not imply that everyone would receive the same answers to their prayers that we have received. I believe that it is only Satan who teaches that a man should not pray. And I strongly believe that Satan is opposed to the work of GWU and TJED along with any other good or uplifting thing.

Having said that, I do not believe that GWU or TJED is right for everyone. It is, however, right for me and many of my neighbors. I also believe that anyone who generalizes that it is wrong for all, is guilty of gross oversimplification. Only a fool would read DeMille’s books and claim that there was nothing of value in them. Like any books or counsel, I do not blindly follow anything. I take the good and apply it to the best of my ability to me and my family. And I allow all men the same privilege. Let them educate their kids how, when or what they may.

I believe that these are the sentiments held by many of my colleagues. If this is a fanatic point of view, then so be it. I personally don’t see it that way. I’ve never heard a single supporter of TJED claim it was for everyone. But I have heard its detractors claim the opposite. The generalizations made by some of TJED’s critics show are real lack of understanding. There are a lot of good people in TJED. I’m sorry if you’ve only met the bad ones.

Anonymous said...

Cont. from above:

I think you would all agree that it is the bad ones who would be more prone to visit and comment on this blog. That is why I have such a problem with it. I’m sure TRGW is actually a decent fellow. It is just hard for me to see a difference between the approach and content of this blog and that of anti-mormon literature. They appear to be of the same flavor. But I could be wrong. TRGW, I truly am sorry that your relative didn’t get much out of her GWU experience. Please don’t assume that is the case with the rest of us.

I do not call myself a disciple of DeMille, but having sat at his feet and felt the spirit of his words, I am proud to be called his student.

Felidae said...

Let me just say as a GW student, Anon, that if you ever said anything in class resembling what you just penned above, you would be laughed right out of the room. I have no idea what planet you are from. You may seriously want to sign up at The Center for Social Leadership. I sincerely believe your views might fit in better there.

J.L.L said...

@Anonymous

Consider a man running a ponzi scheme (they exist so it's a valid circumstance). If someone points out the problems with his plan, are they acting like anti-mormons? Does it make sense for people who already have given him money to say "it may not be for everyone, but don't say it's not working for some people?" Would it be mean-spirited to write an article about the dangers of his financial scheme? Would it even be honorable for people to just keep quiet about it, and let more people give him money without understanding it?

What if people that are in the scheme come out and try to shame critics from commenting on the scheme? What if those people bear their testimony of the truthfulness of the financial plan? And challenge critics to pray about it (assuming they haven't)?

This is the position many of use our in. If we see TJEd\GWU as something like a ponzi scheme in that it is fundamentally flawed, perhaps you can understand our criticisms. And I'm sure you could also see why we might feel an obligation to speak out.

Felidae said...

Well stated J.L.L. And perhaps a bit more diplomatic that I.

Before we're hit by yet another tirade from left field, let me clarify a few things. Actually, the now self-proclaimed zealot (who has also indirectly associated himself with great leaders from history) would not "literally" be laughed out of class for manifesting his delusions. GW students tend to be more civil than that and most would in fact politely listen, then cringe, wonder if he's getting the counseling that could benefit him, and finally change the subject to spare him embarrassment.

But not always. Given the rough and tumble open challenges to ideas that are fair game at GW, a few of his points might prompt such a critique right in class.

Zealous student, please note the following:

1. Suggesting that part of GW's purpose is "ultimately the building up of Zion." Sorry, but GW students (and faculty) hail from diverse religious backgrounds. I'm personally aware of Catholics, Hindi, Evangelicals, Jews (non-Zionist) -- even Agnostics -- not to mention Latter-day Saints with multiple perspectives, plenty even from public schools. On this point you would be hammered.

2. "I see the LDS church as the right arm; the religious side of the Lord’s greater Kingdom (body)."
Besides being an irrelevant opinion, every GW faculty member I know would stop you dead in your tracks if you tried to leverage this in class in any way. A good number of students would too.

3. Suggesting that obfuscation (especially the kind propagated by DeMille and Brooks) may sometimes be necessary for the progress of "the greater good." Considering the many times that Bastiat's "What is Seen, What is Not Seen" is discussed in classes at GW, how can you possibly lean back on Nietzsche? I'd love to see you attempt to morally argue the ends justifying the means -- especially given the intense analysis that problem receives. In every GW class I've attended, you'd be eaten alive. I have to wonder, are you really even a GW student?

4. "Only a fool would read DeMille’s books and claim that there was nothing of value in them." Straw man. Nearly each of DeMille's ideas originated elsewhere -- so of course there's going to be "something" of value. That's not the point. If the peddling and packaging leads people to constrict their pedagogical view, cease exploring the landscape and never question the messenger, that's a problem.

As a GW student myself, I would urge you to never be "proud to be" anyone's student, but humbled by the privilege of being a participant in the great conversation of the ages. THAT is what a classical liberal arts education offers -- with no hubris -- and mentors coming and going all the while. Developing the ability to ask better questions should be our goal -- so we can navigate the pursuit of truth, wherever it lies. Beyond your chosen faith, hitch your wagon to no man.

Anonymous said...

Felidae, I think you need to do a little more research about the differences between the church and the kingdom.

“Some members of the Church have an erroneous idea that when the millennium comes all of the people are going to be swept off the earth except righteous members of the Church. That is not so. There will be millions of people, Catholics, Protestants, agnostics, Mohammedans, people of all classes, and of all beliefs, still permitted to remain upon the face of the earth, but they will be those who have lived clean lives, those who have been free from wickedness and corruption. All who belong, by virtue of their good lives, to the terrestrial order, as well as those who have kept the celestial law, will remain upon the face of the earth during the millennium.” Joseph Fielding Smith

“The kingdom that Daniel saw will push forth its law, and that law will protect the Methodists, Quakers, Pagans, Jews, and every other creed there ever was or ever will be, in their religious rights. . . . The kingdom that Daniel saw will actually make laws to protect every man in his rights, as our government does now, whether the religions of the people are true or false.” Brigham Young

Joseph Smith taught that during Christ’s millennial reign a republican form of government based on the inspired principles of the U.S. Constitution would be set up to govern all men, no matter their religion. He went on to explain that non-mormons would even serve as officers. It is important to note that not every latter-day saint will play a role in the kingdom and not every officer in the kingdom will be a latter-day saint.

Felidae, if you are unaware of these ideas, then you truly are unaware of the vision of your school, the very reason for its mission to create statesmen. They do not foolishly believe they will be the only source of such leadership, but they do labor, in their own modest way, to prepare to contribute. The ignorant may mock these worthy objectives, but some of us find them both noble and inspiring. Indeed, it is the culmination of everything Skousen lived for.

Might I suggest that you read Joseph Smith and World Government by Hyrum Andrus (it isn’t long) and determine if your own personal mission pertains (it doesn’t pertain to everyone). Then, just for fun, go ask your university president where he believes GWU fits in. Don’t get me wrong, the school has gone to great lengths to invite students of all faiths, and in doing so they have had to greatly tone down their LDS focus. However, there was a time when we discussed every academic subject alongside the scriptures and modern revelation. If only there were more educational opportunities like that.

Felidae said...

Anon, I know quite well what Groft thinks of GW's role. The reason that people like yourself are a dying breed at GW is that you have never learned to reason and communicate without relying upon leaders and writers of your own religious sect, not to mention the American Founders. Recall that at GW you have been constantly admonished to dig deeper in the original sources to the philosophers the Founders actually read, not just the Founders themselves and those who followed them. Remember? THAT is how one learns to think like them and to have any chance of becoming even remotely as effective.

After all, classical liberal education has never needed quotes from any Latter-day Saints in order to thrive. The schools committed to building statesmen are numerous, they just happen to call it "leadership." They also apply the basic classical liberal arts model -- classics and mentors -- (yawn... see St. Johns, etc.). There's nothing new here. DeMille simply rebranded something that was not well known in states like Utah. If you believe otherwise, and that GW is becoming apostate, perhaps you should consider leaving GW, partnering up with Brooks and creating your own school. That seriously may be a better match for you.

Anonymous said...

Felidae, whether you care to acknowledge it or not, as a current student at GWU, you are as influenced by DeMille as Aristotle was by Socrates. He might not be your teacher (you’re clearly not at that level yet), but he has directly indoctrinated every teacher you have there. You scorn the Center for Social Leadership, but you would be hard pressed to find a single article there that you completely disagree with.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and everyone has to move the cause of liberty in their own way. Since I have no idea how (or if) you are moving it, I would never presume to judge how effective you are being. Don’t show your ignorance by guessing at what you know nothing about. Personally, I pray every day that my study of the classical philosophers never diminishes my reliance on the teachings of the prophets and founders one iota. Where given the choice, I will pick the inspirations of god over the philosophies of men (including my own) every time.

It is so easy to quote or criticize the words and works of another. It is infinitely more difficult to stick your neck out and say or do something of original worth. It is very kind of the commenters on this blog, to continually compare the education model of GWU with the likes of Hillsdale, St. Johns, etc. I know they are not quite there yet, but I’m confident they grow closer with each passing year. What GWU has that the other schools lack is an awareness of and reverence for the teachings of the restored gospel. If they ever lose sight of that, then I will have to wonder just what it is they are trying to be effective at.

As for me… I think I’ve said my bit here and I feel that my time can now be better spent on more effective things elsewhere. I hope anyone reading this blog will not take the words of TRGW, Felidae or myself as any indication of what awaits them at GWU. It is after all a very individual experience, clearly better for some than for others. Good luck to all of you on your quest for effective statesmanship. Heaven knows we need more statesmen. They are the dying breed.

Lucy 4 Dewey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Felidae said...

Holy spam, Batman! Why this blog would allow Anon-of-zeal's duplicate post to sit on three threads is beyond me, but for unwary visitors I responded here:

In sum, divisions at GW are as inevitable as anywhere else, and faculty have their disagreements -- even major ones with DeMille. Factions being inherent to human nature is even a basic tenet that freshmen are introduced to in Madison's Federalist #10. Anon has either forgotten, or he naively ignores this reality in his imaginary world in which institutions remain monolithic and forever unchanged. Anon appears not only to be a relic from a from a bygone era, but one who will increasingly feel out of place at GW.