Education has been a significant part of the Restoration of the gospel. In one of his messages, President Eyring traced that history.
“From the time of Joseph Smith to our own day, you can see evidence that conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ brings a desire to learn. Joseph Smith, as a very young man, translated the Book of Mormon from plates inscribed with a language no one on earth understood. He did it by a divine gift of revelation. But he later hired a tutor to teach him and other leaders of the Church ancient languages. Joseph Smith had essentially no formal schooling, yet the effect of the gospel on him was to make him want to learn more so that he could be more useful to God and to God’s children.
“When the Latter-day Saints were driven from Missouri by mobs, they built a city called Nauvoo on the banks of the Mississippi River. In poverty and living in the frontier, they still formed a university. . . The curriculum included languages (German, French, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew), mathematics, chemistry and geology, literature, and history. . . .
“When the Saints in Utah were still struggling to produce enough food, they started schools. They felt driven to lift their children toward light and to greater usefulness by education. That drive is more than a cultural tradition. It is the natural fruit of living the gospel of Jesus Christ. You see it today across the world as missionaries . . . who have planted the good word of God and have served faithfully invariably have awakened in them a great desire for self-improvement. And with that comes a desire to learn more and to gain greater skills” (“Real-Life Education,” New Era, April 2009, 2–8; see also “Education for Real Life,” Ensign, October 2002, 14.)