Be sure to check out my new blog “The Second Coming of Christ” for an in depth look at prophecies related to the Second Coming and discussions about getting spiritually and physically prepared.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Breaking the eternal cycle

Just as a precursor to this post, this isn't the most in depth doctrine or insightful topic, but it has been puzzling me nonetheless.

Lately it seems like whenever I go to solve a problem, I am only creating more problems. For instance, as spring approaches here in Southeast New Mexico I am trying to get my sprinkler system to work. I was out of the country last fall when my sprinkler system was no longer needed for the winter, but it was showing some problems when it was put to rest. So as I attempt to fix a sprinkler head, or a valve, it seems like for every one problem I fix, I find two more problems some where else in the sprinkler system.

It is not limited to just my sprinkler. The same at work. Like a good time manager, I make a list of things to accomplish, prioritize, start with the most important and work on it. However while working on it I find more problems that trump what I am working on and by the time my 12 hr shifts are over, I leave with nothing fully accomplished with more problems then when I started the day.

The previous two examples are ones where negative things have created more negative. I believe there is a balance to all things. Therefore I am believing that this system will also work for the good. Hopefully my belief, will increase to hope, which will increase to faith, which will increase to knowledge. (My take on a hybrid between Alma 32 and Moroni 7) For example if I attempt to go out and perform one good act, like share the gospel with my neighbor, it might create more good than intended. As members of the church we tend to butter people up before this, I don't know why, so I might make a batch of cookies to take some to the neighbor. Having made too big a batch. I end up taking cookies to more neighbors. I might loose the nerve to bring up the gospel, but I have spread the good of the cookies around. Which would lead to more buttering up and more possibilities of neighbors to share the gospel with. At the end of this buttering up phase, because of the propagating effects of the good, I might never share the gospel with the person I intended to in the beginning, however I might end up with a couple families who are interested in the gospel when I only intended to share it with one.

Is this a viable option? If so, now all that is left for me to do is break the eternal cycle of exponentially growing problems, and start the eternal cycle of goodness. Hopefully I will accomplish this.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Gospel Doctrine what is it?

So I have never really been a big fan of Sunday School in particular Gospel Doctrine class. I have always found some way or another to get out of going, whether it was clerking duties years ago or recently helping my wife in the nursery. I mean I have tried to go, but i just would get so frustrated with the trite phrases, that really made no sense like "once a Bishop, always a bishop" or "The world changes yet the church has never changed because it is lead by God." I think you can see where this post is going, if I were to say I just got a calling again in the ward. Yep, Gospel Doctrine Teacher.

So as I am trying to be a good teacher I started to read the Lesson Manual. This is a passage I found interesting in the introduction:

"This manual is a tool to help you teach the doctrines of the gospel from the scriptures and Church history. It has been written for youth and adult Gospel Doctrine classes and is to be used every four years. Additional references and commentaries should not be necessary to teach the lessons."

I have always enjoyed the supplemental information a teacher can bring to a class. If I wanted to learn from the Manual I could read it by myself. So I was a little disappointed. However the next paragraph gave me a way out:
"Elder M. Russell Ballard said:

“Teachers would be well advised to study carefully the scriptures and their manuals before reaching out for supplemental materials. Far too many teachers seem to stray from the approved curriculum materials without fully reviewing them. If teachers feel a need to use some good supplemental resources beyond the scriptures and manuals in presenting a lesson, they should first consider the use of the Church magazines” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1983, 93; or Ensign, May 1983, 68)emphasis added." I can carefully read the lesson first and consider the Church Magazines first, but then I can move onto Words of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

I really want them to know the sing-sang phrases of the church are most of the time doctrinally wrong. Part of me wants to teach "fringe" doctrine. Like none of us are really going to make it to the Celestrial Kingdom immediately after this life, and that is OKAY and part of the plan. However, I don't want to offend people, and also I want to keep my membership in the church. So after thinking about it My real goal is to help the members of the audience feel the spirit and have a desire to come closer to the lord. So here are my real questions:

1) What is Gospel Doctrine?

2) How can knowing this doctrine bring people the spirit and desire to change?

3) What are some things that you would want out of a good Gospel Doctrine class?