What is a Vanguard group?

 A Vanguard group is a community of youth and mentors who seek to apply the Vanguard Method to their studies.

What is the Vanguard Method? 

The Vanguard Method is a set of true educational principles applied to a scholar group to:

(1) Encourage faith in God as their ultimate mentor and source of truth through the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ

(2) Help them find value in their own unique mission, introduce them to various communication styles, and encourage them to gain the skills, talents and gifts necessary so that they may communicate that mission to the world

(3) Helping them come face-to-face with greatness as they study the world, history, people, and science in order to prepare them to become future leaders* in society.

(4) Creating an environment of love, respect, decency, trust, and confidence

(5) Teaching service-oriented leadership

*Leader: someone qualified to lead others in the home, community or world

What are those educational principles and how are they applied? 

1. Principle: To live higher, happier, more fulfilled lives, we first seek principles and evidence of their truth through our and others revelation, reasoning, experience, observation and experimentation. We then obediently apply those principles to all areas of our lives. This is the purpose of education, the ability to provide for a family will be one of the outcomes but not the aim.

Method: We focus on one principle each month and see evidence for that principle throughout our studies that month. Core class includes a book each month and memorization of a scripture and/or poem/thought that helps us get a deeper understanding of the principle. We seek to apply that principle to our lives and find evidence of its truth as we do so through a monthly project or personal goal. As we progress, we also learn how to find our own principles in our study and test their validity.

Scriptures: D&C 6:7-8, D&C 130:18-19

2. Principle: Choosing an education blessed us with the Spirit and we will desire to gain more. The light and truth we gain will cleave unto the light and truth we have.  Force often creates resistance to this process. The light that others share helps this process.

Method: We choose to become members of the scholar group when we are ready to challenge ourselves to get the education we need. Once we are in the group we choose our level of engagement beyond the “core” class by preparing for and attending Journeyman and Master classes. The purpose and content of these levels should be prayerfully considered by each group each year. Experienced/older youth will help mentor, inspire and lead others through serving in the core class.

Scriptures: Abraham 1:2, Matthew 7:8, 2 Nephi 2:26-28, Luke 22:32

 3. Principle: We are each blessed with gifts, talents and potential strengths in our weaknesses that enable us to fulfill our unique work on this earth.

Method: We practice using our unique voice by choosing from a variety of inspirements for a way to share our insights.  These inspirements give ideas for sharing that include a variety of communication styles such as writing, music, art, logic, speech, activities, visual presentations, etc. We may also write our own inspirements. We challenge ourselves to gain the skills, talents and gifts to be able to share our message in a way that will change hearts.

Scriptures: D&C 6:11, Daniel 1:17, Ether 12:27

4. Principle: Putting forth effort to prepare for class invites the Spirit to teach us as we share our insights and listen to others share theirs. The Spirit is the ultimate teacher.

Method: All are expected to come prepared to class having read, listened, watched or observed the material assigned for that week’s discussion.  Mentors rarely lecture, but rely on the Spirit to teach the youth while they guide the principle-centered activities and discussion as the youth share what they learned and applied with one another.

Scriptures: D&C 130:20-21, 2 Corinthians 9:6, D&C 84:110

5. Principle: Agency allows the knowledge given to us to turn to understanding if we choose to act to invite the Spirit to take that knowledge into our hearts.  That understanding turns to intelligence as truth is applied to our life and becomes part of our character.

Method: Inspirements are invitations to act on the knowledge we receive. They include ideas for applying those truths to our personal lives. Actions such as raising our hand to contribute or taking notes in a way of our choosing (drawing, writing, symbols, graphs) during class and in preparation for class, we show our willingness to be taught and the Spirit is invited to personally teach us what we need to know.  We also have a reflection journal and are given time each class period to write and reflect on what we learned that day and how we might apply it. As we make and keep any of our personal goals, we are given the opportunity to report the evidence of our personal experience with that truth when appropriate.

Scriptures: D&C 93:36, 2 Nephi 28:30, D&C 88:40

6. Principle: Exposure to true principles in a variety of disciplines prepares us to find truth in everything around us and we become life-long learners who are interested in truth wherever it is found. We should use our limited time and resources on the best books, media and other sources, containing concentrated truth for our profit and learning

Method: We are exposed to four schools of thought that allow us to see the world through those different lenses and experience a holistic view of ourselves, others, God and His creations. We call these lenses Leadership Academy (principles of government and self-government), Geo-Conquest (principles in history and geography), Imaginative Arts (Principles in imaginative literature, music and art), and Eureka (Principles in math and science). We use classics (books, people, art, nature, other media) to learn in these areas.

Scriptures: D&C 88:78-80, 118, D&C 93:53

7. Principle: Learning and inspiration flourishes in an environment of love, respect and service.

Method: We teach and exemplify love, respect and care for each individual.  We seek to invite the Spirit through prayer, music and devotional in class. We serve one another by coming to class prepared to teach and edify each other through sharing thoughts and insights through an inspirement of our choosing. We may plan service projects for those inside or outside our group. We also serve one another by being aware of and thoughtful with each other.

Scriptures: D&C 88:119-126, D&C 136:32

8. Principle: Stewardships help us grow through strengthening our characters with the weight of responsibility.

Method: Mentors and youth are given leadership and mentoring responsibilities in the group.  We are given training to succeed and freedom to learn from our mistakes in these stewardships. Leadership operates on the principles of prayer, council and trust.

Scriptures: Alma 17:2-3, Mathew 25:23

9. Principle: The Word of God is the measuring stick with which to measure potential truth.

Method: We seek to apply the Principle Approach to education by using the 4R method, Word Studies and Timelines to teach the youth to measure all theories against the Word of God and to see things from a Christian-history perspective while also seeking to understand and learn from other perspectives through original works.

Scriptures: 2 Timothy 3:15-17, 2 Nephi 9:28-29, D&C 11:22,24 Bible Dictionary: Education

— by Karen Bates