Education: The Healer

His devout Methodist father had expressly forbidden him to read the book, but 13-year-old William Ernest Hocking of Joliet, Ill. could not resist the temptation. A usually obedient boy, he sneaked Herbert Spencer's First Principles out to the haymow, read with horrified fascination the book's conclusion that whatever Supreme Power might lie behind the universe, it "is utterly inscrutable." When he had finished, young Hocking realized that "father was right: the damage was done. I had started out life with a perfectly sound brand of orthodox religion. Now, I had lost it all....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!