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.

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?


Anonymous said...

I am a particularly big fan of the Doctrine and Covenants/Pearl of Great Price study year and am looking forward to insightful gospel doctrine classes this year. I’ve followed your blog for a while and have enjoyed your perspectives and think I would enjoy your class.

Since I see no one has replied on this subject, I’ll throw in my two cents on adding information to the class not in the manual. I love it. I love pondering the deeper doctrines of the gospel. I love chapel sessions where the temple president shares something particularly insightful. I think it is ok to a certain level and have done it myself.

I also feel Gospel Doctrine class is one step up from the new convert class for a reason. We have been taught not to cast pearls before swine and although uncomfortable to write it, there are some well behaved and good intentioned members of the church whose knowledge of the gospel would place them at a 'swine' level in testimony and gospel knowledge and experience. This does not mean that additional materials should not be brought to the lesson, but that it should be done in consideration of the audience.

I should also mention that someone visiting your ward or who goes from your ward to another ward should not feel as if they are sitting in a different class for a Sunday. Other venues such as Institute classes and classes offered at church universities offer classroom experiences where participants learn some of the broader and doctrinally 'deeper' topics and you may encourage your class members to participate in these if they can. When you get to a gospel principle that you may have studied in one of these classes or through personal studies of The Great Apostasy, Doctrines of Salvation, Jesus the Christ and other resources, I would suggest pointing the class at the original source and recommend those interested investigate further. Those with ears let them hear, that is, if they are willing to go looking.

Dallas said...

Anonymous, thanks for your comment, I am glad you have enjoyed reading posts here. I am flattered that you think you would enjoy my class. Feel free to comment on anything you want. It also helps if you leave a name so we can recognize who you are. I try not to scare anybody away, yet sometimes I feel that I might come off a bit harsh. The joys of misreading inflection via the internet.

I am hoping to be able to post some more topics the more I teach. It really has been beneficial for me to teach because it is forcing me to study more than I have been. I am definitely a big fan of what you said by, “Those with ears let them hear, that is, if they are willing to go looking.”

Robby C said...

Hey Dallas, I was just thinking that you could incorporate blogging into your class. You could use this blog or set up one specifically related to your Gospel Doctrine class. You could hint at things, ask poignant questions, or briefly touch on topics that you may not want to completely discuss in class while you’re amongst the “swine”, but then tell the class that if they wanted to do some additional discussion they could go to the blog.