United Brethren has retired.

Sunday School

Following on from the discussion about reverence and the length of meetings...Maybe it’s just me, but Sunday School is not my favourite part of church. It’s nothing to do with the teachers – the ones in our ward are good. Maybe I’m just a little bored of the same curriculum, and the lessons being pitched at a fairly low level. I know this is to accommodate all members, but I consider myself fairly intelligent, and it’s just not grabbing me.

Personally, I could live without it all together – I’d rather attend an adult Institute, where the scriptures are approached a little more thought-provokingly. I want to be challenged, to be made to think about things, to hear about world history at the time etc. Give me context!

I’ve taught Gospel Doctrine myself, and it was hard to try and make the same old material interesting and new to the class. Am I the only one who feels like this?

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Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 23, 2004 5:38 PM) 

You want a challenge, try and map the thought processes of Hugh Nibley.

That aught to keep you busy for a while... then look up all of the words in Neil A. Maxwell's talks.  

Posted by Jake


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 24, 2004 12:49 PM) 

Speaking of which, it seems apt to insert to of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite Nibley essays here.

"God is not pleased with us for merely sitting in meetings: "How vain and trifling have been our spirits, our conferences, our councils, our meetings, our private as well as public conversations," wrote the Prophet Joseph from Liberty Jail,—"too low, too mean, too vulgar, too condescending for the dignified characters of the called and chosen of God.""(footnote omitted)

"...Joseph Smith commends their intellectual efforts as a corrective to the Latter-day Saints, who lean too far in the other direction, giving their young people and old awards for zeal alone, zeal without knowledge—for sitting in endless meetings, for dedicated conformity and unlimited capacity for suffering boredom. We think it more commendable to get up at five A.M. to write a bad book than to get up at nine o'clock to write a good one—that is pure zeal that tends to breed a race of insufferable, self-righteous prigs and barren minds. One has only to consider the present outpouring of "inspirational" books in the Church that bring little new in the way of knowledge: truisms and platitudes, kitsch, and cliches have become our everyday diet. The Prophet would never settle for that. "I advise all to go on to perfection, and search deeper and deeper into the mysteries of Godliness. . . . It has always been my province to dig up hidden mysteries—new things—for my hearers." "(footnote omitted)

I can say that my favorite Sunday School teacher ever (Bro. Kocherhans) consistantly inspired me to look at the scriptures in new ways and to question my assumptions. He did not, however, stick closely to the lesson. 

Posted by John C.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 24, 2004 1:20 PM) 

would anyone include 'Standing for Something' in that list of so-called inspirational books that Nibley mentions? I read parts of it and it seemed all to 'cliche,' but then, I'm not sure who the audience Hinckley was writing to. It seems like the church has officially come 180 degrees from where it started in this regard.  

Posted by anon


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 24, 2004 1:25 PM) 

Well, it's all in how you do it. Nibley is not calling (I don't think) for a probe of irrelevant, but interesting doctrine. The scriptures define the "mysteries of godliness" as faith in Christ. This is anything but banal and there are interesting ways of teaching such a marvellous principle. Anon, Standing for Something is for non-LDS and as such it does a great job introducing the Prophet to the wider world. 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 24, 2004 8:24 PM) 

Rebecca, I agree that most classes are pretty much stuck in first gear, because shifting to second gear would leave a few sheep behind (and we just can't have adults thinking Sunday School is above their level). The result (which is not often noted) is that the true focus of the curriculum is not the scriptures, it's the class members. It's not what Ether 1-6 says (next week's lesson), it's how class members can use Ether 1-6 to become more devoted, more faithful, more obedient Mormons. And the following week will be about how class members can use Ether 7-12 to become more devoted, more faithful, more obedient Mormons. And so on.

I'm often happier just sitting in the foyer reading, but you do that every week and you start thinking, "This is silly. Why don't I just sit at home and read?" And so on. 

Posted by Dave


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 24, 2004 8:42 PM) 

I pinch my babies bum so he cries and I can sit in the corridor. 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 24, 2004 9:54 PM) 

Wait a second, aren't we supposed to discuss how to apply the scriptures in life? Isn't that one of the major reasons we are told to study in the first place? For that matter, amongst those who want to know about issues of scriptural context and to guess at original intention, don't we want this primarily so that we can understand how to best apply what the scriptures say in our life? What is wrong exactly with scriptural application?

Also, could the talking-down-situation be fixed if we cycled in and out of the true Sunday School basics course (Gospel Essentials) every few years? If nothing else, it is good to be among people who are fresh in testimony. 

Posted by John C.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (May 27, 2005 3:15 AM) 

One of my Mottos is FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT...... I dont always get excited to go to church or the temple and think OH GOODIE....lol but I know there are times I REALLY didnt want to go and I drug my feet or my mood wasnt right or.... 1 million excuses. But its funny because when those times were the WORST and its the LAST place I wanted to be..... there was something in that place I needed to hear. I needed that transition to a new level in my life. And yet another trial to face.... UGG... 

Posted by janice


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