John Fry – The Religious Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder

In this episode of The Shaun Tabatt Show, Shaun sits down with Dr. John J. Fry to discuss his new book A Prairie Faith: The Religious Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

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Resources related to this episode:

For more on Dr. John J. Fry and A Prairie Faith, visit FaithofLIW.com. For more on Trinity Christian College, visit trnty.edu.

Episode 923: John Fry - The Religious Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Episode Page: ShaunTabatt.com/923

Shaun Tabatt:  It's time for another episode of The Shaun Tabatt Show, a podcast where I connect you with thought leaders from across the globe, digging into some of my favorite topics like personal development, marketing, spirituality, and pretty much any other shiny object that happens to catch my attention. Today, my special guest is John Fry, and we're going to be discussing his brand-new book A Prairie Faith: The Religious Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. John, it is truly an honor, sir. Welcome to the show.

John Fry:  Thanks very much.

Shaun Tabatt:  Well, John, this is the first time you and I are getting to meet on camera today. I know you're gonna be absolutely brand new to my audience, so let's start this out by having you share a little bit of the John Fry origin story. Give us a little bit of context for background, and education. What are a few things we should know about you?

John Fry:  Sure. So, I was born in Pittsburgh, and I grew up on a farm about an hour north of Pittsburgh in Western Pennsylvania. I went to, Geneva College, which is a small Christian liberal arts college in Western Pennsylvania to get my bachelor's in history. I got a master's in history from Duquesne University, which is in Pittsburgh. And then I came out to the Midwest and got a PhD in American History from the University of Iowa.

For the last 20 years, I've taught at Trinity Christian College, which is a reformed liberal arts college in the southern suburbs of Chicago. I've written 2 previous books. My first book was about farmers in the Midwest and what they were reading at the turn of the 20th century (The Farm Press, Reform and Rural Change, 1895-1920). My 2nd book is called Almost Pioneers, and it's about a couple from Iowa who've homesteaded in Wyoming during the nineteen-teens. And, my 3rd book, Prairie Faith, just came out last week.

Shaun Tabatt:  And, I'm curious, how did you stumble into doing an extensive amount of writing and research on Laura Ingalls Wilder? You share a little bit of that in the book, and it wasn't like you grew up reading these books. So I find it fun that you kinda fell into the space.

John Fry:  Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean, growing up, it was my older brother and me, so there's mostly testosterone in the house. We did not grow up reading the Little House books. But my wife got me to read them shortly after we got married in the early nineties. And I was really taken with their really attractive portrait of family flourishing and the straightforward prose. And, at that point, I was actually in grad school at Duquesne University. In Pittsburgh, most history students were doing urban history or, like, labor history, and I wasn't really interested in that.

And my wife said, why don't you do some writing about Laura Ingalls Wilder? And so I wrote several papers at Duquesne that got me into farm newspapers, which was my dissertation project at Iowa. I then sort of did a sideways movement to write about Laura Gibson Smith in Wyoming. And then when after that book came out, people started saying, you know, what do you wanna write about next? And I said I wanna do something on Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Shaun Tabatt:  And for this latest book that just came out, for like, I always like to hear, like, what, for you, what was the why? Why did you need to explore this topic further? Because you talk about in the book, there were some other books that have tried to explore the faith life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Why was your contribution needed to this conversation?

John Fry:  Yeah. So, yeah, there's other biographies that have addressed, her faith in, you know, in in the course of telling Laura Ingalls Wilder's life. One of the best ones is by, a scholar named John Miller, who I actually got to know in the nineties. He's a good friend. And, he sort of argues that, Laura was a very committed Christian. Christianity was very central to her life and worldview. But as I read, or as I read the Little House books, if you read the Little House books, not all the descriptions of the church in them are positive. Some of them have a real negative edge.

And that got me wondering what's the best way of explaining this. The other layer in that is, that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote handwritten manuscripts of each of these books and then handed them off to her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who typed them and edited them as, she went along. And they together actually created the books that got published. And at when they were writing them in the late twenties and early thirties, Rose was an agnostic. She had pretty much rejected, the organized church and Christianity, sort of had some cultural pulls towards Islam. Actually, she had traveled to the Middle East. And I thought, what's really what's the story? Who's writing what in in these books? And I thought, maybe I can contribute to that by trying to tease that out.

Shaun Tabatt:  And in terms of research, primary sources, historical sites, museums, what was some of the ground you traversed, so to speak, to get ready to write this book or in the midst of the writing process?

John Fry:  Yep. Yeah. So, it's interesting. So Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter, Rose, is a fascinating woman. She was a journalist and a writer in the early 20th century. Ended up writing a biography of Herbert Hoover at one point, one of Charles Lindbergh. So her papers are actually all at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, which is in Eastern Iowa. And as part of her papers is a bunch of correspondence between her and her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, as they were writing these books. And some, TypeScript drafts of the, of the Little House books and, some other materials from Laura.

So I went there, and that's where I sort of launched, the project. I originally thought the project was gonna be an article. But after, presenting a paper at a conference in, in the fall of 2016, I had been working on this for 8 years. I had 2 publishers come up to me and say, "Hey, would you be interested in writing a full biography of Laura that pays particular attention to her faith?" And I said, "Well, I guess I could think about that." And I think both publishers wanted to have, a book on Laura Ingalls Wilder given her popularity, you know, continuing popularity. I ended up going with Eerdmans. I went, there's a small archives in De Smet, South Dakota, where, the Ingalls family lived, where Laura lived during her, adolescence and her early marriage. There's also, a collection down in Mansfield, Missouri, where, Laura and Almanzo lived most of their, adult lives.

And then I did some research in the University of Missouri archives. The University of Missouri has collections in Columbia, where the main University of Missouri is, and also in Rolla and Saint Louis. And I went to those sites to look at their materials.

Shaun Tabatt:  One of the gosh. I, there are so many places I wanna go. Let me I'm gonna move around in my notes from my original plan. One of the things you tease out in the book is that it seems like Laura, in terms of a few of the things you said, that she was almost uncomfortable seeing or hearing other people share their experiences with God. Can we say that impacted her writing, or is that more of an anecdotal comment that we see in a few places?

John Fry:  Yeah. So, it comes up in one place. So before, Laura and Rose actually started writing autobiographical children's fiction, which is what the Little House books are, Laura sat down and wrote a memoir of her early life and gave it to Rose. Their hope was that they could, get it published, maybe by a magazine who would serialize it. And, she called it, Pioneer Girl. They weren't able to get any publishers interested in it, and then they ended up taking material out of that memoir to write The Little House books. The memoir itself was not published in its entirety until 2014, and actually came out in a large annotated edition. It's a beautiful book.

In that book, Laura mentions that she would go to prayer meetings. And one of her friends, this was a male friend that she mentions in other parts of it, would, testify at the prayer meeting about sort of his spiritual life, and those things made her uncomfortable. And, she said the things between a person and God should be just that, between him and God is, is a comment. And I think that helps to explain why she really doesn't talk about Christianity an awful lot, in the Little House books and other things. But I don't think it means that she didn't have a deep faith herself and it wasn't an important part of her life.

Shaun Tabatt:  And one of the things that was new to me was that Laura wrote for the Missouri Ruralist. She was writing articles for the newspaper before she stepped into writing her autobiographical stories. What was the sort of content she was contributing at that stage of her life?

John Fry:  Yeah. The Missouri Ruralist, articles and columns are pretty fascinating. She started in early teens, with sort of feature stories about some of her neighbors. Actually, and what was going on on her own farm, her and Almanzo's own farm, Rocky Ridge, in South Central Missouri. And, you know, talking about growing apples and, saving people saving women, especially farm women time on the farm. So there are feature articles, then she became the editor of their women's department. Farm newspapers in the early 20th century often have a women's department that would collect, material from other newspapers, other farm newspapers about labor saving devices, about, taking care of chickens, and, other sort of female contributions to farm income. And Laura wrote wrote some of those, but then she often just sort of did an advice column.

It wasn't that she was answering people asking for advice, but talking about how she thought that farm women could live better on the farm, in different areas, in often sort of moral, engaging moral things about disagreements with neighbors. And sometimes addressing larger public issues. She wrote during World War one and addresses, some of the challenges of living during the war and also fighting a war. And then she also does talk about Christian ideas and Christianity itself at times.

Shaun Tabatt:  And let's now jump into maybe what we would describe as some of the things we can know about Laura's spiritual life based on your research and the writing you examined. First, let's jump into her kind of her her younger pre-adult years. Talk to us a little bit about the religious spiritual influence in her home. That does come across quite a bit in the books. What can we know for sure from what she shares from that part of her life?

John Fry:  Sure. So, Laura's family began attending a congregational church when the family moved to Minnesota. Laura would have been around 6 years old. Before that, they, observed the sabbath in their home. They didn't, do things. They didn't attend churches. They weren't close enough to a church in either Wisconsin or Kansas where they lived, but they read the Bible. They sang hymns.

Laura's father played the violin when they sang all kinds of different things and hymns on Sundays. But then, congregational churches in Minnesota, in Iowa where they live briefly, and then in South Dakota. Certainly, Protestant morality was taught in the house. Obey your parents, love your sister, be kind to others. And some indications that her parents and her older sister Mary became members of the church in DeSmet, South Dakota, the congregational church. No evidence actually that Laura ever became a member. But there are certainly commitments. They attended weekly, mainly Sunday school and morning worship services. There was an evening service, but they didn't attend that.

Shaun Tabatt:  And in terms of habits, kinda spiritual practices, I mean, at at one point, Laura's memorizing Bible verses to be competitive and kinda try to win a contest, prayer, Bible reading. What can we know about habits, spiritual practices from that point of her life?

John Fry:  Yeah. No. Absolutely. So, a daily prayer, it sounds like, before they went to bed. She, she did have this experience when she was 11 years old. And, so the the family went to the congregational church in in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, but she also went to the Methodist church in the afternoon. The Methodist, so the congregational church had its own building. The Methodists met in a meeting room above the grocery store, basically.

And so she went to two worship services because the Methodist church was having a contest for young people to memorize two Bible verses a week, and then recite them all at the end of the year. So, basically, learned 104 Bible verses. Laura and one other person, actually, it's the young man that she talks about in other places testifying, were able to do that and, won a reference Bible as an award. During that year, Laura's family was close to poverty most of her upbringing. And, at times, she had to work outside the home for money. And, at one point, she was staying with a family whose husband was often far from home, was traveling, and so she stayed with the wife and kids. So she was away from her own house at age 11, many nights, many evenings. And she talks about saying her prayers and having an experience of the divine, basically, that she, felt a comforting presence and thought that must be what people call God.

And, so, you know, in her and she even though she was reticent to talk about it, she mentions that she didn't like people who talked about this. She remembered it for 50 years when she was writing her memoir, and so that comes into her memoir, both of those stories when she was writing it in 1929.

Shaun Tabatt:  And if we jump further ahead into her adult married life, which the bulk of she was in Mansfield, Missouri. What can we know about her spiritual life practices in that, adult stage of her life? And it spans many decades.

John Fry:  Yep. So most of her adult life, they lived, in this farm close to Mansfield, Missouri. They moved there in 1894. Almanzo died in 1949. Laura died in 1957. She was a couple days past her 90th birthday. There was no congregational church in Mansfield, so they went to the Methodist church. They attended the Methodist church.

All of the evidence points to the fact that they never became members of the Methodist church. It's hard to exactly know what to do with that. But they were committed. I think methodism for her was a way of sort of believing in what the Bible taught in the gospel, But there weren't as many particular beliefs, that might have been required. If she had gone to the Baptist church, there's a Baptist church in town. There's a Presbyterian church in town. She says, multiple times in different writings that she didn't buy predestination. That would have been sort of stock and trade for the Presbyterians there.

And, pretty strict Sundays, observance for the Presbyterians as well. She went to the Methodist church. Although it's interesting. So, one thing, one of the taglines, I guess, for the book is that, unlike John Miller who saw it, Christianity is very central to her life. I see Christianity as important, but not actually central. There were her neighbors who were much more sort of committed to the church and its activities than Laura and Almanzo were.

Shaun Tabatt:  In the book, you kind of talk about Laura has sort of 2 worlds, her literary world, the fictionalized versions of her stories, then kind of the actual, historical world that she lived in, so to speak. In terms of, obviously, Little House on the Prairie TV show, books, just epically popular, for most of us when when we were growing up. I would love to hear just in terms of questions you get asked when you speak or just you know, we we all have this most of us have a very popular level view of Laura and her life based on the fictional stories and the TV show. What are some of the questions you get asked, the things that surprise people most? Because we have a very Hollywoodized idea, I think, of who Laura is and what her life was like.

John Fry:  Yeah. No. That's a great question. So in in some ways, I sort of see 3 worlds. Right? So there's the historical world of Laura Ingalls Wilder as she lived, and that's what I'm trying to get at. I'm a historian. But we always have to reckon with these other 2 worlds, the world of the Little House books, as you read the Little House books, and then the world of the television series, which is a very different world even from the, the Little House books. And it's difficult because the Little House books, they're really well written.

The prose is incredibly inviting. It sort of describes the psychological states of a young girl, and then she grows up over the course of the books. And the last 4 books are really young adult fiction, written before young adult fiction was really a thing. And when you read those books, it sounds like that was just the way things happened. That was what happened to her when she was growing up. And it's always difficult to sort of realize that those are fiction. Laura combined characters. She changed events.

She left things out. She put things in that didn't happen. She and Rose collaborated on these together. And so Rose had an impact on what was in the Little House books. When I first started doing sort of historical research, I really had it was difficult for me to pull myself away from thinking, well, the Little House books say this. This must be how it happened. And so I try to be kind, when I speak or when I talk to people who have read and loves those Little House books. And well, it's not exactly, how it happened.

So I get, you know, so I get questions about, Jack the dog, who's a beloved character in, the Little House books. It's actually the only character in the Little House books who dies, whose death is described. Even though the historical Laura, her parents had a son who died in infancy. But Laura doesn't write about him in the books. Jack, in the actual story of Laura Ingalls Wilder's life, is traded along with some horses for some different horses early on and and doesn't go into the 4th sort of chapter of her life. And so I have to say, yeah. Well, it didn't exactly happen that way. And so I, you know, I try not to kill people's dreams and things like that.

I think there's a place for fiction that engages us about what's possible. And I think there are some historians who get angry at Laura Ingalls Wilder for sort of painting a past that's not exactly the way things were. I don't get angry at her. I think that, you know, there's fiction and then there's history. Let's try to tell the story about if you're writing history, tell the story as accurately as you can.

Shaun Tabatt:  Well, I'm just sad I have to say goodbye to their good old bulldog, Jack. Might have to cross that out of some of the, children's illustrated versions that we have here in the house. Hymns come up quite a bit in the book. Like, did, what's Laura's relationship to hymns in terms of just, I just think about it because hymns tend to be more theologically rich compared to the average worship song that we might encounter in a church today. Any worthwhile significance you saw in her relationship to hymns throughout her life?

John Fry:  Yeah. Absolutely. So hymns actually come into the Little House books a lot. Particularly, The Long Winter, which is the the 5th book oh, 6th book, I guess. And, it's about their experience of the hard winter of 1880-1881. And, sort of the hymns are sort of framing for some just really, really difficult times, and they express, you know, trust in God even in the middle of that. There's a great book called the Laura Ingalls Wilder or no. The Wilder's Ingalls Wilder Songbook.

Probably don't wanna try to buy it because it's very expensive. It's a scholarly book, but it has all of the all of the songs that are mentioned in the Little House books and the actual music. So it's a it's a large book, and they're, you know, sort of separated out by, different types. And so all of the hymns that are mentioned and most of the hymns that are mentioned in the Little House books are in The Long Winter. Laura held on to a hymn book that they had or a songbook they had when she was growing up, so she and Rose could look them up and get the lyrics when they wanted to in include lyrics in the Little House books. Some of them are, you know, about thanksgiving. Some of them are about God's goodness. Some of them are about creation.

So a number of them are about Heaven. So, there's another author who sort of engaged, Laura's Christianity named, Stephen Hines, who had several books where he sort of takes Missouri Ruralist articles and combines them with Bible passages. And he's engaged some of the material about hymns in the book.

Shaun Tabatt:  And here's kind of a left turn for a moment before we wrap up. I'd just love to get your perspective as somebody who spent a lot more time thinking about Laura Ingalls Wilder than the rest of us probably have. I find it curious and intriguing that all of the places that the Ingalls family tended to put their feet down for a time, there's a historic site. They've preserved this. We've preserved that. And so, did these books and the TV show just so much capture the heart of people in America that people felt this was worth preserving, because it's not like you can just go to Walnut Grove or this place or that place. It's a journey if you wanna hit up all these historic sites that we've attempted to preserve. Like, why do you think that we have to have that physical representation? It's just intriguing that there's so many places that they've tried to preserve the story.

John Fry:  Yeah. No. That's a great question. So the first, historical site was in Mansfield, Missouri. By the time, Laura died in 1957, she was very famous because the Little House books were incredibly popular. Little House books came out in the thirties and early forties. So all of them sold well. They then were reissued.

A new edition was put out in 1953, which is the ones that you may be familiar with, the yellow binding or the blue binding with the Garth Williams illustrations in them. Incredibly good sellers even in the forties and fifties. So she was famous when she died and, immediately, the people of Mansfield, some of the boosters and the head of the newspaper thought we could draw people here, tourists, if we saved her house as a historic home. And so that's what they did. Rose actually paid it off. Laura had actually, Laura and Almanzo had actually sold it in what an arrangement, what we would think of as a sort of a reverse mortgage. They sold it to a neighbor who paid them monthly to help support them as they aged. Rose bought the farm and gave it to the local committee at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Association.

And they started taking people through on tours immediately. That continued into the sixties. Some other sort of towns, decided that it would be great to capitalize on the the popularity of the books. It's my understanding that the real popularity started coming with the TV show, though, in the 1970s. So these historic sites, there's one in upstate New York where Almanzo grew up. And there's, as you mentioned, one in Minnesota. There's one in Wisconsin. There are two in South Dakota.

All of these places. There's one in Kansas, The Little House in the Prairie. And even though what I've already mentioned, you know, the TV show was very much Michael Landon's vision of the past and Michael Landon's vision of Laura's life and and the West. In some ways, the TV show takes issues that they were facing in the 1970s and then deals with them, with people who lived in the 1870s. But that really continued the popularity. It gave even more popularity to the books and to people. Once again, when you read the books, it is the prose, it is very direct. It's like, this is just what happened, and there's something about them that has made people want to go and be where those, you know, where Laura was when she was growing up and where she later thought about what happened to her.

Shaun Tabatt:  And in terms of the reader's journey with the book, takeaway, I mean, you you take us into some unique places, if you know, in terms of if we've only read kind of the the fictionalized stories. Like, what do you, how do you want to impact the reader? What do you want them to take away from their experience with this book?

John Fry:  Sure. So, I mean, what I always want to do for my students who who are studying history is to try to say, we want to try to love our neighbor as ourself, including our neighbors who live in the past, which means trying to be as accurate as possible about who they were and what they thought. And we often sort of try to read things back into the past, I think. And we make assumptions. And, we need to let the people in the past be who they were and not who we want them to be. So that's one thing. I also was really intrigued by how Laura and Rose's collaboration shaped what's in the in the Little House books in general, and then also how they treat Christianity. It turns out, I was able to look at all of the original manuscripts, the written manuscripts that Laura wrote, and then there's some intermediate drafts, and then the final books.

Rose at times took sort of straightforward and positive descriptions of Christianity and made it more negative as far as I can tell, which might make sense in terms of somebody who had sort of rejected Christianity. But interestingly, Rose also included prayers and Bible passages and other engagements with Christianity in the book that Laura hadn't put in her original handwritten drafts. So in some ways, Rose still knew scripture, and she, knew or she believed that this would provide a deeper engagement with the people in the past. And I think she was right. Really, both Laura and Rose combined, there's you know, scholars disagree on how to understand Rose's role in in the writing of Little House books. I see it as a collaboration. The Little House Books would not be what they are today, you know, what they ended up being if it weren't for either of those women. And, so people are sort of interested in Little House books.

There's, I think I have some new things to say there about the collaboration between Laura and Rose.

Shaun Tabatt:  And, on the one hand, you know, when they first shopped Pioneer Girl, it just it fell flat. Nobody would pick it up. At the time when they re-pitched, reworked it, and they actually got published, like, what was Rose at that time already somewhat of an accomplished novelist or author in that stage?

John Fry:  Absolutely. Yeah. So for instance, her biographies of Hoover and and Lindbergh came out in the nineteen teens. And then she went to Europe, actually, for the Red Cross. She was. this was right after World War one and the Red Cross was doing projects across Europe. And so she was writing material for them to include in their magazine, in their fundraising sort of circulars. She traveled throughout Europe and, as I mentioned, to the Middle East and then was writing fiction.

It was very popular in the twenties and thirties. She got paid some very large amounts to publish fiction in the Saturday Evening Post, which was incredibly popular at the time. Some other magazines, McCall's. And, so, she was an old hand at getting things published and she really helped Laura to get the Little House books published.

Shaun Tabatt:  Well, I think that's just an interesting distinction because one might assume, yes, she was popular because she coasted on her mother's coattails, so to speak, but she, in her own right, was an accomplished popular author long before her mother's books ever came on the scene.

John Fry:  Yeah. And that's interesting because she never actually wanted to be associated with her mother's book, mainly because they were children's fiction. She sort of saw herself as the novelist, as the artist. And at times, even after Laura died, Rose sort of said, "My mother just wrote what happened to her when she was growing up. She was not writing fiction." I'm the one who wrote fiction is sort of the implication. And then, that of course, you know, ironically contributes to this idea that, the Little House books are not really works of art. They're just what happened, when in fact they were. They were shaped by both Laura and by Rose.

Shaun Tabatt:  And I can say from my experience reading A Prairie Faith, I very much enjoyed it, a fascinating and engaging read. Somebody gets through that book and they want to go kind of further into this more historical aspect of understanding and wrestling with Laura's life, are there other books or resources you'd recommend alongside your book?

John Fry:  Sure. So, you know, a very short book is Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life. The author's last name is Hill, Pamela Smith Hill. That's, the so Hill is a writer, and so she was addressing this. She wrote this for the South Dakota State Historical Society. It's a small book. It's a quick read. It's, really good.

People interested in sort of a longer, history. John Miller's book, Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder, which came out in the nineties. Still really pretty good. The longest read is actually the most recent biography of Wilder before mine. It's called Prairie Fires. The author is Caroline Fraser. If you want all of this sort of minute details, you know, Fraser has all of them. I don't agree with some of, you know, Fraser's overall interpretations, but it's a wonderful book. She's, you know, intensely researched, read everything that I read, and more, about Wilder's life and Rose as well.

Shaun Tabatt:  And, I remember when Pioneer Girl came out, that annotated edition, and how insanely like, it was hard to find sometimes. Any thoughts on why that struck a chord? I mean, I feel like it kind of revitalized interest in Laura to some degree when that came on the scene.

John Fry:  Sure. Yeah. Well, that's another that's excellent. It came out in 2014. The editor of that book is actually Pamela Smith Hill. That and, the notes, there's almost as many pages of notes in that book as, you know, pages of manuscript. Lovingly done, and lavishly illustrated. It's a big book.

And you're right. It just, for some people who hadn't been sort of in the know about Laure Ingalls Wilder, that, sort of told, you know, people were going on to radio and saying, oh, did you know did you hear that, you know, Laura actually worked outside the home when she was a child? That wasn't another thing. She has these other, descriptions. So, yeah, that's a super book. There are several books that have come out since then, from that it's also the South Dakota State Historical Society that published a book called Pioneer Girl Perspectives. They published a book about there's 3 different drafts that, Rose and Laura worked on to try to get that published. And, I think it's called Pioneer Girl: The Revised Texts, if you're really, really into it. Big books, neat stuff.

Shaun Tabatt:  And in terms of people connecting with you, finding out more about the book, all the things, where do we best discover you on the web?

John Fry:  Sure. So, the best way is to go to the website for the book, which is FaithofLIW. So just straight on out FaithofLIW.com. I'm gonna put in a plug for Trinity Christian College as well. Their website is, trnty.edu. So it's Trinity without the i's, trnty.edu. There are so many schools named Trinity. We're a liberal arts college in the South Suburbs of Chicago.

John Fry:  We offer over 50 majors in the arts and sciences and education, business, social work, and nursing. We're actually doing some creative things to try to help students get out without a lot of debt. We've reset our tuition. And, we also have reworked their schedules. So there are very few classes on Wednesdays. Students can use that to do co-op. We are really encouraging students to do co-op, which helps them reduce their tuition as well, or get rest, do their homework, and other things to help college students be well today. So that's trnty.edu.

Shaun Tabatt:  And we'll make it easy like we do with every episode. We'll have links in the description in the show notes to any websites that have been mentioned as well as links to any of the books that we've talked about throughout the episode. It's time to bring this episode of The Shaun Tabatt Show to a close. Many thanks for being a part of my conversation with John Fry. Once again, our book today was A Prairie Faith: The Religious Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. And John, I want to say thank you so much for sharing with us today. It's been an honor and a pleasure to have you on the show.

John Fry: Thank you,

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