The 2010-2011 Relief Society/Melchizedek Priesthood Course of Study:Taking A Break From The Prophets

By July 24, 2009

Well, a friend tipped me off that it appears we will be taking a break from the Teachings of the Prophets series we’ve had over the last few years as the Relief Society/Melchizedek Priesthood course of study. The new curriculum for two years, 2010-2011, will be the [fanfare] Revised Gospel Principles Manual [fanfare fades abruptly].

I heard from a friend who had seen a draft of a Lorenzo Snow manual last year that looked well on its way, so I wonder why the detour.ย  Perhaps Church leaders would like to make sure the whole church is firmly based on, well, “the basics.”

In the past we’ve had courses of study from the following:

1998-1999, Brigham Young

2000-2001, Joseph F. Smith

2002, Harold B. Lee

2003, John Taylor

2004, Heber J. Grant

2005, David O. McKay

2006, Wilford Woodruff

2007, Spencer W. Kimball

2008-2009, Joseph Smith

And therefore, the teachings of the following departed prophets remain to be studied:

Lorenzo Snow

George Albert Smith

Joseph Fielding Smith

Ezra Taft Benson

Howard W. Hunter

Gordon B. Hinckley

If you’re like me, you’re going to be enjoying the Joseph Smith lessons with renewed fervor in light of the foregoing.ย  Enjoy!

Article filed under Miscellaneous


  1. It actually sounds like a good idea to me. I think the Joseph Smith book was a bit boring (and since Joseph Smith is anything but boring…that say a lot).

    Revisiting the gospel basics might lead to some good discussions in my quorum. There is some benefit to changing things up. Additionally I think we could really use a refresher on the basics.

    It will be interesting to see what the President Benson book contains. Imagine the excitement when the President Hinckley edition comes out.

    Comment by Chris H. — July 24, 2009 @ 6:59 am

  2. oh my freaking heck.

    This makes me want to start my own course of study out in the parking lot.

    The manual?

    This one.

    Anybody in?

    No, seriously. I don’t want to criticize Correlation’s choice of SS material. But if you could choose any book to study during that traditionally boring hour, what would it be?

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — July 24, 2009 @ 7:16 am

  3. BiV,

    Will this be in the Church parking lot or… let’s see… the Maverick parking lot?

    Maybe the new Givens book will be out in time for next year, I could go for that as a course of study.

    Comment by Chris H. — July 24, 2009 @ 8:15 am

  4. Are we sure it’s just a detour?

    Comment by SC Taysom — July 24, 2009 @ 8:36 am

  5. I’m sure someone has already thought of this, but doesn’t think mean that people who attend the gospel principles SS class will hear the lessons twice?

    Comment by Julie M. Smith — July 24, 2009 @ 8:48 am

  6. Interesting, this is Monson’s first manual choice since coming into his position, right?

    Comment by matt w. — July 24, 2009 @ 8:52 am

  7. Also, Gospel Principles is a great manual, but what will the new members study in Gospel Essentials. 2 hours strait out of the same manual seems problematic…

    Comment by Matt W. — July 24, 2009 @ 8:59 am

  8. The good news for me is that next year, when our ward switches back to the early schedule, I’ll still get to listen to the Tabernacle Choir broadcast a couple of times a month … ’cause there’s no way I’m going to get up, get dressed, take the trouble to walk all the way to church, and sit in a room where a RS teacher passes out slips of paper with quotations from Gospel Principles for people to read aloud, and then insists we answer her catechism (“So how many members of the Godhead are there, according to this paragraph? And Jesus Christ is the son of Whom [as if the teacher would use the right form of that pronoun]? And what do we call the third member of the Godhead? And what does it mean to believe in them? Okay, who’s got #2?”)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 24, 2009 @ 9:09 am

  9. #4, Steve, I only assume it’s a detour given the info about a Lorenzo snow manual and just the oddness of starting a series like this and leaving it undone…but who knows?

    I guess it could be a good opportunity to slip in a little doctrinal development, I mean, unfolding.

    Matt and Julie, I thought about the redundancy too. I have to believe someone thought of that and provision will be made for it, but who knows.

    Comment by Jared T — July 24, 2009 @ 9:16 am

  10. #5 and #7:

    My guess is that the Sunday School will adapt.

    Comment by Chris H. — July 24, 2009 @ 9:19 am

  11. Correlation is a lot like McDonald’s: No matter where you go, you’re guaranteed to receive the same bland, tasteless food.

    Comment by Mike Parker — July 24, 2009 @ 10:53 am

  12. I think this is actually quite good. The old Gospel Principles manual is the most outdated publication in the church – chock full of anachronism.

    Comment by J. Stapley — July 24, 2009 @ 11:21 am

  13. #11: At least at McDonalds you can get a decent fountain Diet Coke. If we added that to priesthood hour, I would be happy not matter what text we are using.

    Comment by Chris H. — July 24, 2009 @ 11:49 am

  14. Although a lifelong member, I just finished attending the gospel essentials class for about a year and a half. It was far better than the gospel doctrine and Elder’s quorum because of the teachers, class members and the small classroom setting. Even though the manual was fairly simple, the discussion was not. Conversly, even though the teachings of the Prophets manuals are arguably more sophisticated, the lessons were generally more staid and formulaic. This causes me to wonder whether a manual really sets the tone for a class as much as the teacher and the participants and the class size. I somehow doubt the quality of lessons will change with the new manual because everything else will remain the same.

    Comment by Sanford — July 24, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

  15. Could go either way, depending on how much the manual has been revised/rewritten.

    Comment by Ben — July 24, 2009 @ 12:19 pm

  16. To echo Sanford’s comments in 14:

    At least in my ward, where we have lots of new members in Gospel Essentials and great ward missionaries teaching the class, the lessons out of Gospel Principles tend to be much more engaging than the lessons out of the Joseph Smith manual. GP tends to take lessons in more breadth, and to cover topics generally not in the rest of the curriculum: we did Work and Personal Responsibility this past week, and it included detailed spelling out of the place of work in gospel culture–something that tends to be touched on only tangentially outside of Priesthood Session.

    And as for the duplication: considering new members here are baptized the day they come to church the second time, I don’t think the repetition would be a bad thing, as long as care was taken to make sure the same lesson wasn’t taught back to back. But I concur with #10–the Sunday school can adapt pretty easily.

    Comment by Rob T. — July 24, 2009 @ 1:04 pm

  17. Okay, some of you — especially Rob T. — are making me waver in my determination to apostatize. I’ve used the JS manual as a refuge, reading it when the class catechism gets to be too deadly dull, and I find it hard to believe that a Gospel Essentials manual would have anything novel, or anything as beautifully written as some of Joseph Smith’s letters, to serve as a refuge.

    But maybe the breadth of the topics will be more easily grasped by amateur teachers who don’t know what to do when faced with a block of Joseph Smith’s 19th century language. Maybe they’ll have a chance of actually teaching something or leading a real discussion, rather than retreating to the “Will Reader #2 please read? Okay, everybody, what does that say?” method of verbal sleeping pill.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 24, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

  18. BIV, I am all for your alternate manual choice. A course of study on Mormon women would be my proposed option, and your book would fit perfectly with that.

    Comment by Elizabeth — July 24, 2009 @ 1:41 pm

  19. Maybe they will solve the problem of Gospel Principles (Revised) in RS/P’hood and Sunday School for some- by ditching Sunday School.

    or more likely, they’ll get Gospel Essentials to work from the back of the manual, and the rest to work from the front.

    or something ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by Anne (U.K) — July 24, 2009 @ 2:56 pm

  20. My wife just bought one of the revised at the distribution center for me. I’ll start reviewing it soon.

    Comment by Matt W. — July 24, 2009 @ 3:20 pm

  21. er.. revised Gospel Principles Manuals, that is..

    Comment by Matt W. — July 24, 2009 @ 3:20 pm

  22. I go to Sunday School and listen to people talk about their lives and try to sort out how to live and what to believe about themselves, their relationship to Deity, and their community. I kind of like it. The manual doesn’t seem to have much effect on that one way or the other. It’s more about commitment and trust of the people involved (and keeping the class size <30 or so).
    I go to scholarly conferences or relax with a book in a hammock to start my mind on fire.

    Comment by smb — July 24, 2009 @ 3:30 pm

  23. I have to admit, if I was still LDS, I’d be carrying a pre-revision copy of the manual with me each week, hunting through both texts in order to analyze just what changes were made. It could be a fascinating illustration of what directions the LDS church is taking under Mr. Monson.

    Comment by Nick Literski — July 24, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

  24. Elizabeth,
    Did you check out the table of contents? It really would fit, wouldn’t it??
    So cool. Meet ya in the parking lot.

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — July 24, 2009 @ 3:32 pm

  25. I’m telling ya’… the solution to this problem is to serve in Primary!

    I have missed almost all of the Prophets series.

    Comment by Coffinberry — July 24, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

  26. oh kaaay.

    Why are we doing this exactly? I mean why not just use it in Sunday School for everyone?

    Sheesh. I am disappointed to see that is the case. Even with some pretty good teachers in my Elders Quorum I fear they will still be handing around the book and saying, can you read paragraph one….

    Ugh cannot say that I am looking forward to this.

    Comment by JonW — July 24, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

  27. Jon,

    “Even with some pretty good teachers in my Elders Quorum I fear they will still be handing around the book and saying, can you read paragraph one?.”

    That happens in my quorum on occasion with the Teachings of the Prophets manuals. How would this be any different, let alone worse?

    Comment by Chris H. — July 24, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

  28. I think it’s a good idea for everyone to review the basics – and I expect many people will be learning some things for the first time.

    Comment by Trevor — July 24, 2009 @ 6:36 pm

  29. On a more serious note, how many of you remember 1980, when we switched from a September-August teaching year to a January-December program (also switched to the block schedule and killed off week-day Primary). IIRC, the youth/adult manuals switched off schedule for a time, and used the (then new?) Gospel Principles manual. I remember thinking that it was about returning to basics.

    It’s been some 30 years since the Church as a whole focused on the basic principles. A generation. And when you think about it, there were only some 4,639,822 members of the Church then. Even if you assumed (certainly a wrong assumption ) that every member then alive are still alive and active today, that would still mean some 9 million current members did not go through that re-set cycle.

    I suspect it is a good thing.

    And it will probably underscore the importance of developing better teacher training protocols.

    Comment by Coffinberry — July 24, 2009 @ 6:41 pm

  30. I apologize for being so obsessed with this.

    We had a pair of team teachers in GD this year who taught the Word of Wisdom as if we were all investigators hearing about it for the very first time. It was ghastly. It wasn’t meat. It wasn’t even milk. It was some shadow of a homeopathic dilution of the memory of milk.

    I’m envisioning the same sort of thing every other week for two full years (you all did catch, didn’t you, that we’re scheduled to use this gospel primer for two full years?) precisely because we don’t now have teacher training protocols of any kind, good, better or best.

    Lessons on gospel basics don’t have to be themselves basic lessons given in words of one syllable. But they too easily can be, and they too often will be. And my anticipatory headache is back.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 24, 2009 @ 7:51 pm

  31. Doesn’t the concern about redundancy imply that church lessons aren’t already redundant?

    Comment by Steve M — July 24, 2009 @ 9:14 pm

  32. Chris,

    The difference is most of the stuff in the Teachings of the Prophets is relatively new quotes. In some respects reading that was at least original.

    I read the last Gospel Principles manual a couple of times, taught it once or twice. They are great for sunday school, in fact maybe teaching it to the whole sunday school program makes sense.

    But to have one class teaching it and then go into it again in Priesthood or RS? Pass.

    This is where I agree with Ardis. Bad teachers will only make it worse. In our ward there are two separate guys teaching in Elders Quorum. Both decided to sit rather than stand (cardinal rule mistake to me) but both do their best and I generally enjoy their take on it.

    Look I think we should cover the basics, often the lessons contain them anyway. But to be honest, I am already tired of thinking about the Coke and Pepsi nonsense that will come up with the WOW discussion.

    Comment by JonW — July 24, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

  33. What is also interesting is the paralleling of the course with Old/New Testament for Sunday School.

    But remember, this manual is used less than half of the Sundays over the next two years.

    Comment by Coffinberry — July 24, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

  34. Because I am definitely pro Pepsi, silly Coke drinkers ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Comment by JonW — July 24, 2009 @ 10:46 pm

  35. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by Chris H. — July 24, 2009 @ 11:04 pm

  36. #30: mmmm, homeopathic milk. mmmm. (making Homer Simpson noises)

    Comment by smb — July 25, 2009 @ 12:11 am

  37. I got the new manual and reviewed it here.

    In short, it’s almost the same as pre-revision.

    Comment by Matt W. — July 25, 2009 @ 12:55 am

  38. I reported in High Council and Ward Council that several brothers in our ward refused to go to priesthood because the classes were sooooo boring. We sit and read a manual that I’ve read before. Or we sit while the instructor reads a conference talk to us that I heard and read before. I can see why the brethren are sooooo bored.

    Now I’ve been released from the High Council and called to teach Seminary. Sweet, now I can use SS/PH time to prepare lessons.

    Comment by Floyd the Wonderdog — July 25, 2009 @ 6:24 am

  39. I mentioned this to a few people in a discussion last night, and they seriously doubted the accuracy of your information, but a look at the church website (lds catalog) confirms your post:

    This book provides an overview of gospel principles. It was revised in 2009. It is used for personal study and for the Gospel Principles class during Sunday School. In 2010 and 2011 it will be used for Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society instruction on the second and third Sundays of each month.

    I sometimes taught investigator classes out of the Gospel Principles Manual while I was on my mission, and whether or not the manual is anachronistic as J. mentioned above, it is one of my favorite manuals that I’ve ever taught out of. I much preferred it to the missionary discussions at the time. If the teachers follow the format, the lessons have the potential to be much better than most Relief Society lessons I’ve heard in the past few years.

    Unless the teacher entirely jettisons the lesson in favor of something of his or her own creation or intimidates the class into not responding and sharing honestly, the lessons require extensive class participation, and if class members are willing to respond and share, the lives of the members contain many touching examples of gospel living and learning.

    I think it has the potential to be a great couple of years.

    Comment by Researcher — July 25, 2009 @ 9:59 am

  40. re 8 & 30:
    When I’m asked to teach a subject which everybody in the class already understands, I take a different approach. I ask the class questions like:

    “How would you teach this topic to your children? Or to a new member or investigator?”

    “What have you found are the biggest challenges in teaching or living this principle?”

    Then we get some interesting discussions. I suggested this approach to my friend who was about to teach high priests a lesson on a very familiar topic, and it worked for him.

    Maybe you can suggest this to your teachers & leaders.

    Instead of thinking of the class members as empty vessels into which I will pour my knowledge, I find it’s better to treat them as colleagues who may have interesting life experiences dealing with these topics.

    Comment by FMaxwell — July 25, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

  41. I know you mean well, FMaxwell, but you just touched a raw nerve — fully 75% of our RS discussions are not about living a principle, but on how we can support our husbands while they live that principle and how we can teach that principle to our children. As someone without family who is marginalized enough as it is by our overwhelming focus on traditional families, it’s all I can do not to start gouging out eyeballs when the teacher resorts to that yet again.

    You’re right, of course, that a lively discussion depends very much on the skilful use of questions by the teacher. Few church teachers, bless their hearts, have that skill.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 25, 2009 @ 4:31 pm

  42. Re: “bless their hearts” in comment 41:
    This, from the Urban on “bless your heart”:

    1: phrase used by Southern women to excuse themselves for speaking ill of someone else (“She’s as ugly as a mud-fence, bless her heart.”)

    2: an expression of sympathy or pity (“Well, bless your heart, that must have been terrible!”)

    3: a polite way to respond to an ignoramus, particularly male, who showers upon you flattering but unwanted compliments (“drunk fella says: ‘I think you’re beautiful! Even if you were ugly, I’d STILL think you were beautiful!'” recipient: “…bless your heart.”)

    So, Ardis, which “bless your heart” were you using?

    Comment by Hunter — July 25, 2009 @ 5:19 pm

  43. Bless your heart for asking, Hunter.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 25, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

  44. Ardis (43) – you crack me up. I share your frustration with the quality and focus of Church lessons but I suspect it’s for different reasons. You are usually such a fierce defender of the Church institution that I find your candor and anger here eye catching. It seems like I have heard you opine before that lessons are not about an academic type exploration of ideas and gospel concepts (major paraphrase). So what works for you? I don’t want to thread jack but could you tell me what a good class experience looks like for you and how a lesson manual impacts that? And I am talking more about you as a participant and not a teacher — I have no doubt that you could teach any manual and make it rewarding for those in the seats.

    Comment by Sanford — July 25, 2009 @ 7:30 pm

  45. Sanford, what works for me is a class that is tailored to me and to other class members, to our peculiar circumstances and stage in life, and not always to the ideal generic young Mormon family. In the case of me and 99% of the rest of my ward, with our peculiar demographics, that means adults, as many single as married, none with children in the home older than infants, for the most part lifelong members of the Church, with a heavy seasoning of converts from throughout the world who are surprisingly well grounded in the Church — I can think of only four ward members whose understanding is so basic that they need a Gospel Essentials class, which is in fact provided.

    I like discussions to focus on how the gospel can or should be expressed in *our* lives, not lives of generic church members. That means we need to include questions, examples, and illustrations geared to the life circumstances of 70- to 93-year-olds, lots of them, people whose lives are winding down but who aren’t ready to be put on the shelf, as well as for the newlywed half of our ward. (Most manuals are written for people preparing for the prime of their life, not those taking stock of their past and measuring its worth.) I like discussions that draw on the fabulous variety of achievements and life experiences among our ward members.

    I also like it when we focus on the problems that active Latter-day Saints may be prone to, and not always those that we think of as being “those other people — the ones who are shacking up and taking drugs.” I like it when a lesson assumes we already know the basic facts inside and out, so that we spend our time focusing on the implementation, or the nuances, or how those facts play out in 2009 in downtown Salt Lake City. I like it when we focus on living the gospel ourselves, not preparing other people to live it. I like it when illustrations are new, not the same tired stories that have been used to death in Conference and recyled manuals. I like it when teachers focus on the gospel principles conveyed in a talk or lesson, and don’t think they have to give us the exact words of the text — especially when that means a talk we heard in Conference only a few weeks ago.

    Most of the manuals are written for an audience that is far too general — the same manuals are used for children, young adults, and aged widowers; for the newly baptized and those returning from their third missions after 70 years of active leadership; for people throughout the world regardless of native culture. The *gospel* is for everybody, but manuals don’t work well when they’re one-size-fits-all unless a teacher is gifted and can adapt them.

    In order to include our newlyweds in full activity in our ward, even though they’re apt to be here for only a semester, most of our teachers are drawn from that demographic (we don’t have a Primary or YW/YM to give them callings). These tend to be very inexperienced teachers, who don’t know what to do other than follow the manual word for word. If they don’t read it to us themselves, they pass it out in dibs and dabs and have class members read it to each other. I can read myself. I don’t need anybody to read to me. I need thoughtful teacher preparation, and meaningful class participation. I need teachers who can adapt the bland has-to-be-suitable-to-literally-every-person-in-the-world lesson manuals to the lives we’re living here and now. And since we have no teacher training program in the church anymore, combined with our calling of young adults as teachers, added to a manual intended for investigators, that adaptation is not something I can routinely expect.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 25, 2009 @ 8:24 pm

  46. Sorry, Jared, for first monopolizing your conversation and now for barfing all over the screen.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 25, 2009 @ 8:26 pm

  47. Ardis, I don’t know how Jared feels, but I’m sure most of us would say this: barf away!

    Comment by E — July 25, 2009 @ 8:48 pm

  48. [wiping screen]

    No problem, this was only meant as a short news notice anyway, I didn’t have anywhere particular I wanted discussion to go.

    But, I will say that I’m glad to hear so much said on this thread on the preparation a teacher has to make. So often when there is discussion of a boring class the finger of guilt is pointed in the direction of the hearer for not being spiritually prepared or being negative, etc. So little is said about the preparation the teacher must make. Case in point. One night I was flipping through the channels and came across John Bytheway’s “The Best Three Hours” on BYU TV. Talk about barfing all over the screen. I was so disgusted by his over the top and awfully cliched berating of the hearer for not enjoying every church meeting (and without a single mention of the teacher’s (speaker’s) responsibility). And his was only the most recent of many other examples. [wiping mouth, reaching for the Scope]

    Comment by Jared T — July 25, 2009 @ 9:15 pm

  49. Yes, yes, yes. Class members have to be willing to participate, but there isn’t much any class member can do when a teacher asks “Which article of faith doesn’t start with ‘We believe’?” and then goes on to the next chatachistic question without so much as following up with “Why do you think that’s so?” or if a teacher simply strings together quotations from a talk without ever inviting class participationl.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 25, 2009 @ 9:24 pm

  50. thank you for the input on what a good lesson should be – for while there, you guys were looking pretty scary to this not very confident and non-academic RS teacher!

    Comment by namakemono — July 26, 2009 @ 7:45 am

  51. Lessons don’t have to be polished or academic. I think Ardis is pointing out, at great length :), that the number one most important thing that a teacher can do is (prayerfully) consider the needs and situations of the class members. And then adapt the lesson.

    Another important point: draw on the knowledge and experience of the members.

    Also: provide examples from your own life or the lives of your family or the lives of the members of the church (once again considering the members of the class and being aware of their situations) rather than use tired old stories.

    To illustrate the importance of Ardis’ point, I will mention a Relief Society lesson last week. It was a Joseph Smith lesson about spiritual gifts, and the teacher chose to dwell almost exclusively on the gift of healing, which resulted in a sister whose daughter recently died from leukemia leaving the room weeping. Perhaps a moment’s thought about the class members would have taken the lesson in an entirely different direction.

    Comment by Researcher — July 26, 2009 @ 10:41 am

  52. I see what you mean. However, some of the earlier comments seemed very dismissive of teachers who can`t/don`t deliver a high level lesson – something I can`t do either, so my lessons tend to concentrate on the basics (ie Gospel Principles level lessons, maybe). For me, teaching RS with all the “senior” sisters (not so much as in age but as in length of time in the church) is truely intimidating, so the positive comments about preparation etc were appreciated.

    Comment by namakemono — July 26, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

  53. namakemono, preparation and keeping the needs of the class in mind goes a long way toward a good lesson. But when the teacher doesn’t think things through, the manual can make a big difference. Example:

    In our ward, the JS lesson based on Joseph’s letters to Emma was “taught” by the teacher passing out paper and instructing us to write love letters to our husbands. More than half of us are widowed or never married; I wonder how many of the others could be romantic on command. But the time wasn’t a complete waste, because I could read Joseph’s letters in the manual and enjoy them.

    If a teacher using the Gospel Principles manual is unprepared or does something equally thoughtless with the lesson on repentance, say, there isn’t much of a refuge for me in the manual. That lesson presents the trite formulation of the “R’s of Repentance: Recognition, Regret …” in little more than a bullet list, in the same words we’ve heard a hundred times since we were seven years old.

    While I’m sure there’s much for me to learn about every topic covered in the manual, the manual itself is so barebones and shopworn that there’s little there to engage or inspire, unlike the JS manual. A lot is going to depend on the teacher in this case.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 26, 2009 @ 6:20 pm

  54. “the same words we?ve heard a hundred times since we were seven years old”
    this is why I find it so indimidating teaching RS – as an adult convert, I haven`t heard it all that many times at all, especially as this is my first time in RS, let alone trying to “teach” something to sisters who know the gospel so much better than I do. (sigh) well, as they say, one of the purposes of callings is to help us grow, and I am certainly learning a lot. However, I can see that I need to make more effort in the preparation department! Thanks for the advice.

    Comment by namakemono — July 26, 2009 @ 6:30 pm

  55. Re 41:
    Ardis, I agree with your comments in 45, and apologize for stepping on a nerve in 40. As a divorced father, I know a bit about being marginalized in the church. My suggestion derived from my experience teaching elders quorum here in California, so asking them how they would teach something to their children is just a natural lead-in to a larger discussion. It’s only a conversational ice-breaker, not the main point of the lesson.

    If I could have a do-over, I would rephrase my suggestion as ask the class, “How would you teach such-and-such principle to X — X being anyone, a child or a nonmember friend, who’s never heard of it”. The focus should not be on X, but rather on “How would YOU explain this”.

    The important thing is to get the group to start explaining the topic, rather than sitting there passively. Then the teacher can focus on delineating the points which seem to more confusing or problematic.

    But it sounds like this technique has already been done-to-death in your R.S., even though it’s still fresh and new in my priesthood quorums. And any teaching technique which has been used to marginalize people should probably be retired.

    Comment by FMaxwell — July 26, 2009 @ 6:35 pm

  56. namakemono and FMaxwell, you’re both being very charitable toward me and my rants, and I know I need to be more patient and charitable toward the inexperienced teachers who are nevertheless brave enough to do their best. It’s time to stop now that your generosity has put me ahead!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 26, 2009 @ 6:43 pm

  57. #54 As someone who remembers his own days as a recent convert, trust me: if you infuse your lessons with the spirit of newness and freshness that the Gospel has filled you with, you’ll be fine. The fresh look that your eyes can bring to the subjects in the manual are very welcome. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by Bro. Jones — July 27, 2009 @ 1:12 pm

  58. Sorry I am so late to the party, but in regards to Ardis’s post #45, I would also like better teacher preparation for lessons. One problem we face, in addition to the basic manuals, is the explicit directive not to vary from the lesson manuals. This is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it prevents the teacher from reading a bunch of Cleon Skousen and tossing it into the mix. On the other hand, it prevents teachers from being very motivated to seek better or deeper or newer understanding of various lessons, etc.

    Comment by BHodges — August 4, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

  59. And to the sister who trembles at teaching those she believes are more experienced in the gospel: the perspective of a newer convert is actually quite fascinating to many members. You have the advantage of being able to describe how you went about repenting before you became a member for example, what you changed about the process when you joined, and what you brought with you from before. Things like that can really help your lessons be interesting and profitable.

    Comment by BHodges — August 4, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

  60. As a relative new HPG teacher, the Joesph Smith lessons were greatly enhanced by Joe Spencer’s commentary. Using a portion of his material really made our 3rd Sunday lessons interesting. I wish Joe would continue with the Presidents of the Church lessons.

    Comment by William J Woodward — August 28, 2009 @ 2:06 pm

  61. Has anyone considered there might be some economic considerations here? I would think with the economic downturn and the resulting decrease in tithing, it would cost considerably less to reformat the GP manual and get the members back to talking about the basics for a while, than to pay more archival / curriculum workers to finish combing through Lorenzo Snow’s sermons.

    I’ve been through the GP class a number of times and I agree, these lessons cannot be taught very effectively by simply reading them verbatim to the class. I currently teach the GP class in my ward, and have had some good experiences focusing on the passages of “additional scriptures” at the end of each lesson.

    Comment by A Curtis — September 8, 2009 @ 5:32 am

  62. Milk, milk, milk, and so little meat. I can’t really see this working in HPG. I want to teach the Seventies’ Course in Theology. All our discussions vary from the manual, and as the teacher the best I can do is try to keep the discussions on track. The class doesn’t keep to the manual, and now I don’t see how the teacher can either. I’ll be doing quite a bit of background in JD, church history, etc. for the next two years, it looks like.


    Comment by kbirok — September 13, 2009 @ 11:27 pm

  63. Comments are closed.

    Comment by Jared T — October 6, 2009 @ 12:23 am


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