EQ/RS Lessons

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startpoor
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EQ/RS Lessons

Post by startpoor » 29 Nov 2013, 09:46

Hey everyone,

I was newly called to be the EQ teacher in my new ward. I decided to be upfront with the EQ presidency and told them I don't believe we are the one true church. They seemed okay with that and called me anyway. I have a lot of questions about carrying out this calling and some general questions about the lessons. If there is another thread I should read on this subject, feel free to point that out. But here are my questions:

What resources do you use to prepare your lessons. Also read as: how do you make the crap from these manuals interesting and thoughtful? I used "Engaging Gospel Doctrine" podcast last week and it helped a lot. Are there any good resources specific to the teachings of the presidents of the church manuals?

When teaching, do you try and withhold bias? Do you try and teach to a presumed bias the class has? Here's an example from my first lesson: It was a tfot by Pres. Monson on faltering/finishing during a bout of suffering. My bias is that you can't judge someone if they lose their faith after a life shattering event such as the death of a child, or some other horrible thing. However, the lesson was all about the expectation that we keep our faith and use the event to make our faith stronger. I asked at one point if this was a fair expectation and got some wide eyes and a bewildered "YES!" from someone. I had questioned an apostle!

In two weeks a lesson from the manual on JS is being taught, but thankfully, not by me. Is anyone teaching this? How are you planning to present it? I can't help but notice that not only do the lessons dodge touchy subjects, but also make it difficult to comment in a way that makes touchy subjects relevant, ie, discussion questions like: "how had the gospel as restored through JS helped you find meaning in this life."

Does anybody know who the next manual is going to be about?

For those who teach, do your wards know your feelings about the church? What has the response been?

Sorry for all the questions, feel free to respond to any question above. Sharing experiences is much appreciated as it will help me in my calling.
Happiness (n.) The state of being in compliance with Mormon norms, regardless of one’s actual resulting emotional state

George, Sr.: Faith is a fact. No, faith is a facet. I almost said faith is a fact.

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nibbler
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Re: EQ/RS Lessons

Post by nibbler » 29 Nov 2013, 15:16

I was Elder's Quorum instructor before my current calling. Most of the time I was in that calling was during that two year stint where they asked us to teach out of the Gospel Principles manual. I'd try to ask questions that got people thinking; at the time I was in the process of deconstructing my faith so quite often I'd just ask the quorum the same questions I was asking myself. :shh: I always got very good answers from very intelligent people. It was a great experience.
richdunn wrote:When teaching, do you try and withhold bias?
Yes and no. I didn't hold back as I was legitimately interested in how members of the class would answer my questions. At the same time I didn't frame my questions in a context that would challenge the church or its leaders, I tried to frame it in the context of understanding the reasons behind the commandments and more importantly how to overcome the challenges of the "natural man" to live true principles.
richdunn wrote:My bias is that you can't judge someone if they lose their faith after a life shattering event such as the death of a child, or some other horrible thing. However, the lesson was all about the expectation that we keep our faith and use the event to make our faith stronger. I asked at one point if this was a fair expectation and got some wide eyes and a bewildered "YES!" from someone. I had questioned an apostle!
I asked those sorts of questions all the time, though I'd soften them up a bit. That particular one never came up but maybe I would have first played up the sentiment that it was 100% natural to have a faith crisis and then ask... can you imagine if you lost a child and how difficult that would be? How could we survive that event without becoming embittered? How could we turn an event like that into an experience that built us up as opposed to one that tore us down? What direction would we take going into the future? How difficult of a path would that be? etc. I realize that this isn't the same line of questioning but my experience is that it generated some good discussion. I wouldn't even get into the expectations of people external to the life shattering event looking in to judge the person that was going through it. Maybe my goal would have been to ask questions that are aimed at putting everyone in the shoes of the person going through the life altering event to hopefully make them less likely to judge...

I don't see myself as a good teacher, I have difficulties in communicating thoughts, but I often got positive feedback from people in the quorum... but it was a very nice, intelligent and humble group. Besides, people always say "that was a good lesson" if nothing more than to be polite. :| I really did take every opportunity that I had to teach them as an opportunity to ask a question related to something I wanted to learn about the subject at hand. I'd ask the questions and draw on the experiences of the quorum to learn new things. It was my little secret, looking back I guess that was a bit selfish of me but it did generate discussion.

The Teaching of Presidents of the Church manuals are an interesting thing... They got introduced at the very trail end of my mission. People didn't know how to teach out of them then and they don't know how to teach out of them now. The overwhelming majority of lessons I've sat in on that have come out of that manual have been simple start reading from the beginning of the manual with an occasional pause to ask "In your own words, what is President _____ saying?"

When teaching out of ToPotC manuals I've tried to find a quote or two out of the manual to share and just teach the principles from other sources like scriptures, history (world or church, positive or negative examples), etc. Hard manuals to teach lessons out of.
The new beatitude: "Good luck..."
- Maynard James Keenan

GBSmith
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Re: EQ/RS Lessons

Post by GBSmith » 30 Nov 2013, 10:01

richdunn wrote:
Does anybody know who the next manual is going to be about?
Joseph Fielding Smith, a person who saw nuance in the gospel.

startpoor
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Re: EQ/RS Lessons

Post by startpoor » 30 Nov 2013, 10:46

nibbler wrote:I asked those sorts of questions all the time, though I'd soften them up a bit. That particular one never came up but maybe I would have first played up the sentiment that it was 100% natural to have a faith crisis and then ask... can you imagine if you lost a child and how difficult that would be? How could we survive that event without becoming embittered? How could we turn an event like that into an experience that built us up as opposed to one that tore us down? What direction would we take going into the future? How difficult of a path would that be? etc. I realize that this isn't the same line of questioning but my experience is that it generated some good discussion. I wouldn't even get into the expectations of people external to the life shattering event looking in to judge the person that was going through it. Maybe my goal would have been to ask questions that are aimed at putting everyone in the shoes of the person going through the life altering event to hopefully make them less likely to judge...
I like that line of questioning much better than what I used. Way better to get people in the shoes of others. That must have been an interesting experience teaching during a faith crisis. I feel like when just starting out, before refining one's approach ie, via talking to people at staylds, we tend to make embarrassing mistakes. I taught primary during my crisis, and I kept teaching the kids that the church had a lot of responsibility for its persecution, and at one point I told them it wasn't known whether or not JS ordered the attempted assassination of Gov. Boggs, rather than outright denying it.
nibbler wrote:I don't see myself as a good teacher, I have difficulties in communicating thoughts, but I often got positive feedback from people in the quorum... but it was a very nice, intelligent and humble group. Besides, people always say "that was a good lesson" if nothing more than to be polite. :| I really did take every opportunity that I had to teach them as an opportunity to ask a question related to something I wanted to learn about the subject at hand. I'd ask the questions and draw on the experiences of the quorum to learn new things. It was my little secret, looking back I guess that was a bit selfish of me but it did generate discussion.
I don't see anything wrong with that. Selfish or not, at least you put thought into it, and gave them a different experience. I think most people want to learn more of the nitty gritty. I recently heard an active member in my extended family say "I don't care about polyandry or treasure digging, I just want people to teach the real history" or something to that effect. I think she had just read Rough Stone Rolling, or attended a Bushman lecture.
nibbler wrote:The Teaching of Presidents of the Church manuals are an interesting thing... They got introduced at the very trail end of my mission. People didn't know how to teach out of them then and they don't know how to teach out of them now. The overwhelming majority of lessons I've sat in on that have come out of that manual have been simple start reading from the beginning of the manual with an occasional pause to ask "In your own words, what is President _____ saying?"

When teaching out of ToPotC manuals I've tried to find a quote or two out of the manual to share and just teach the principles from other sources like scriptures, history (world or church, positive or negative examples), etc. Hard manuals to teach lessons out of.
That's the approach I'm trying to take. I thought at one point about teaching an uncorrelated history of the teachings of these prophets, but I soon ceased to see the helpfulness of that. It would be interesting though.
Happiness (n.) The state of being in compliance with Mormon norms, regardless of one’s actual resulting emotional state

George, Sr.: Faith is a fact. No, faith is a facet. I almost said faith is a fact.

startpoor
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Re: EQ/RS Lessons

Post by startpoor » 30 Nov 2013, 10:49

GBSmith wrote:
richdunn wrote:
Does anybody know who the next manual is going to be about?
Joseph Fielding Smith, a person who saw nuance in the gospel.
Ah, I get him and Joseph F. Smith mixed up a lot. Didn't Fielding write the origins of man book and start the church correlation program?
Happiness (n.) The state of being in compliance with Mormon norms, regardless of one’s actual resulting emotional state

George, Sr.: Faith is a fact. No, faith is a facet. I almost said faith is a fact.

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nibbler
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Re: EQ/RS Lessons

Post by nibbler » 30 Nov 2013, 12:35

richdunn wrote:I taught primary during my crisis, and I kept teaching the kids that the church had a lot of responsibility for its persecution, and at one point I told them it wasn't known whether or not JS ordered the attempted assassination of Gov. Boggs, rather than outright denying it.
Ok, I admit I'm a bit curious... how did that subject come up in primary? :smile: I joined the church later in life so I missed out on primary and YM, is church history a subject that is taught to some of the older primary students?
richdunn wrote:I thought at one point about teaching an uncorrelated history of the teachings of these prophets, but I soon ceased to see the helpfulness of that. It would be interesting though.
In recent years I think the manuals have done a better job with providing a focused narrative centering around a gospel principle. I may be remembering incorrectly but it seems like the early ToPotC lessons were just quote after quote after quote with no context given. Now that the lessons are more centered around a principle I think it may be a bit easier to go to other sources and only use an example/quote or two from the manual.

I was lucky in that I taught 2nd and 3rd Sunday EQ lessons for a little over two years and nearly all of that was during those two years where lessons came from the Gospel Principles book. Nearly zero church history, most lessons were on universal principles common to everyone, etc.

Good luck with teaching out of the new manual. I took a quick peek at it online, skimming the chapter headings. Some look like they would provide a good forum for people in our position:
  • Our Search for Truth
  • Love and Concern for All Our Father’s Children
I'd encourage you to post up questions about specific upcoming lessons in the future because based on the chapter headings, some of them look like they would be difficult to give... at least for me.
The new beatitude: "Good luck..."
- Maynard James Keenan

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SamBee
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Re: EQ/RS Lessons

Post by SamBee » 30 Nov 2013, 15:45

A tip for you. In EQ we now put the chairs in a circle or split into groups, this is much better than rows behind rows in my experience.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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mackay11
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EQ/RS Lessons

Post by mackay11 » 01 Dec 2013, 03:01

richdunn wrote:
GBSmith wrote:
richdunn wrote:
Does anybody know who the next manual is going to be about?
Joseph Fielding Smith, a person who saw nuance in the gospel.
Ah, I get him and Joseph F. Smith mixed up a lot. Didn't Fielding write the origins of man book and start the church correlation program?
Yes. He was also Elder McConkie's father in law.

It goes:

Joseph Smith
Joseph F. Smith
Joseph Fielding Smith

I sometimes forget that we've had 3 presidents called Joseph Smith.

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mackay11
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EQ/RS Lessons

Post by mackay11 » 01 Dec 2013, 03:23

From Wikipedia:
In early 1961, (Joseph Fielding) Smith reported preached to a stake conference congregation in Hawaii:

"We will never get a man into space. This earth is man's sphere and it was never intended that he should get away from it. The moon is a superior planet to the earth and it was never intended that man should go there. You can write it down in your books that this will never happen.[26]"

Earlier, Smith had written that "it is doubtful that man will ever be permitted to make any instrument or ship to travel through space and visit the moon or any distant planet".[27] At the 1970 press conference where Smith was introduced as President of the LDS Church, he was asked about these statements; Smith reportedly responded, "Well, I was wrong, wasn't I?"[28]
"Well, I was wrong, wasn't I?"

That single statement is something both the leaders and members of the church need to be more comfortable hearing and saying.

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SamBee
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Re: EQ/RS Lessons

Post by SamBee » 01 Dec 2013, 15:27

Oh dear! Don't the RLDS/CoC have their own series of Joseph Smiths too?
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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