New Sunday School - Not.

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DarkJedi
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Re: New Sunday School - Not.

Post by DarkJedi » 05 Feb 2019, 12:50

On Own Now wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 12:19
DarkJedi wrote:
04 Feb 2019, 09:59
I have made note of those positive things, OON. And I agree, the stuff, especially church leader quotes, is way ahead of the old manual which was way out of date. I like no BRM (whom Givens regularly throws under the bus in his books) and even Talmadge and JtC was not all great - I don't miss it. I like the home materials, and I like the teacher manual because it does allow for tons of freedom. My main complaint is with the logistics of the class itself - it is impossible to have group discussions in a class of 75 people and my ward is small. Yes, the teacher can do more small group stuff, etc. but that will get old pretty fast also. It also not her fault, and I think she did a decent job at trying yesterday - she seem surprised at where the time went.
75 people would be impossible. If I were in a situation like that, I'd ask the bishop to have more than one GD class, to keep the numbers down. When I was teaching GD in my BYU Singles Ward in the 1980's we had more than one GD class (I think three). I think 25-30 per class would be ideal.
I'm thinking bigger wards have an even bigger issue with this. A ward I visit often has more than twice the attendance we do and likewise only has 1 GD class all crowded into the chapel (although I haven't been there for SS since the 2 hour block was implemented). I agree, I'd be all for 25 or less in a class. Alas, our bishop is not very open to "suggestions" that are not his own ideas, even from other ward leaders (which I am not). And, no stretch of the truth here, he just got around to calling two teachers per youth/Primary class in January - yet we have several good people sitting around who have been without callings for months.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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SamBee
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Re: New Sunday School - Not.

Post by SamBee » 05 Feb 2019, 14:42

The obvious answer is to split it into discussion groups.
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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mom3
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Re: New Sunday School - Not.

Post by mom3 » 05 Feb 2019, 15:38

I knew I was going to struggle even before we made the transition. I really did use my 2nd hour to get other church stuff done. Between new building and new program, that element is in transition for me.

Size is a huge deterrent to meaningful conversation. 2 different women tried to bring up interesting points, but the teacher had a goal of getting through the 2 weeks of lessons, and anchoring the meeting on repentance that he nearly ran over the comments/questions. That is a teachers fault. I think it also stems from having to cover large swaths of material. He is the same GD teacher we have had for 2 years and I mostly like him as a teacher but not this week.

Once we moved into the repentance section all the old timers came out of the woodwork to chastise everyone for everything. From late term abortions to really not repenting but just acting like you were. Even the Relief Society President was mumbling about the way the lesson was going. We were literally holding the Day of Judgement in class.

And Open Mic Sunday is now "Children's Hour" in my ward. The whole dang blasted thing was kid after kid "burying" their testimony. A visitor would think we were a cult and that they were pawns in the game.

I like my ward, but I seriously think we are going to struggle with the multiplicity of changes we are going through and it's not going to be pretty. I may have to be out of town a lot.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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nibbler
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Re: New Sunday School - Not.

Post by nibbler » 05 Feb 2019, 16:56

DarkJedi wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 12:50
I'm thinking bigger wards have an even bigger issue with this. A ward I visit often has more than twice the attendance we do and likewise only has 1 GD class all crowded into the chapel (although I haven't been there for SS since the 2 hour block was implemented). I agree, I'd be all for 25 or less in a class. Alas, our bishop is not very open to "suggestions" that are not his own ideas, even from other ward leaders (which I am not). And, no stretch of the truth here, he just got around to calling two teachers per youth/Primary class in January - yet we have several good people sitting around who have been without callings for months.
It's pretty crowded in our SS. The chapel is full. Any more and we'd have to consider opening an overflow. I bet people struggle to hear someone at ground level, the person giving the lesson should probably have a mic.

I think part of the idea of getting rid of all the secondary SS classes was to reduce the burden on smaller wards, less callings to staff. It may make sense for a smaller ward to continue to hold one class and it may make sense for larger wards to break the class up.

One challenge with having two competing GD classes would be people gravitating to the class with their favorite teacher. Maybe people's favorite teacher comes out in the wash, some prefer person A's style, other people prefer person B's style, but it could be an issue if you get a really good teacher in one class and a real bore in another. I imagine they'd have to do it by assignment. People assigned to a specific class.
Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.
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dande48
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Re: New Sunday School - Not.

Post by dande48 » 05 Feb 2019, 19:09

nibbler wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 16:56
One challenge with having two competing GD classes would be people gravitating to the class with their favorite teacher. Maybe people's favorite teacher comes out in the wash, some prefer person A's style, other people prefer person B's style, but it could be an issue if you get a really good teacher in one class and a real bore in another. I imagine they'd have to do it by assignment. People assigned to a specific class.
Hurt feelings aside, is this really a bad thing? In our current system, we generally call "whoever comes to mind", irrespective of personal talents, desires, and capabilities. "Whoever the Lord calls, he qualifies", and all that jazz. But too often we end up with people in callings they don't want, or aren't qualified for. Making things worse, when people don't do a good job, since God called and "qualified" them, it's because they were lazy or didn't have enough faith, instead of not being cut out for the position. It also makes them practically "immune" to criticism, and all you can do is wait it out.

Other Churches have plenty of ways to "quality control", and maximize their effectiveness, including relying on volunteers to cover congregational responsibility, to voting in leaders. I'm sure there are problems with this approach as well, but I think a similar approach will tackle many of the problems we face. Democracies can be pretty messed up, but they're a heck of a lot better than oligarchies.
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Rumin8
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Re: New Sunday School - Not.

Post by Rumin8 » 05 Feb 2019, 22:52

I think there is a lot to be said for smaller, more intimate study classes. I’ve mentioned in another thread I’m a participant in a special Sunday school class with no set curriculum. People at first were wondering why we were all meeting in the bishops office. Word got out that it was an alternative SS class. I thought people would not want to attend because it appears like a class for current and potential apostates.

Not so. People are asking the bishop and other class members how they can get into the class. Less because of serious issues they wish to explore and more because they find the other class boring, overpopulated, and bland.

While I have serious reservations about being in this class, I will take it over the regular class. My heart hurts for those of you struggling with the changes.
"Moderation in all things, especially moderation." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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mom3
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Re: New Sunday School - Not.

Post by mom3 » 06 Feb 2019, 10:12

Last night, as I sat in a Stake Meeting, I realized one of the other reasons I am cringing. This new set up is Proof Texting at it's best.

The guy giving last nights spiritual thought finally shed the light on it. He was recounting the lesson topic, then tying it to Enos in the BofM, from there to loving Christ. You really had to follow the bouncing ball on his delivery to catch the point.

It was then that I realized another of my struggles. Instead of us reading straight scripture and sharing what we learned, the program has a set intent for us to learn, then the selected scriptures that support (or appear to support) the objective. So if I am home studying John the Baptist, I don't get to use my take away, or I can use it until SS class, when it will be re-engineered to "repentance".

Oh yeah, and the Michael McClean video will top it off, because it's about... gay people and faith crisis."

There was no room for aha's or uplift. Just mass information dump, posturing, and tongue wagging about the world getting evil. I can watch the news at home for free.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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DarkJedi
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Re: New Sunday School - Not.

Post by DarkJedi » 06 Feb 2019, 10:45

mom3 wrote:
06 Feb 2019, 10:12
It was then that I realized another of my struggles. Instead of us reading straight scripture and sharing what we learned, the program has a set intent for us to learn, then the selected scriptures that support (or appear to support) the objective. So if I am home studying John the Baptist, I don't get to use my take away, or I can use it until SS class, when it will be re-engineered to "repentance".

Oh yeah, and the Michael McClean video will top it off, because it's about... gay people and faith crisis."

There was no room for aha's or uplift. Just mass information dump, posturing, and tongue wagging about the world getting evil. I can watch the news at home for free.
And that has been one of my main issues with SS for the last 37 years - I'm not allowed to interpret and understand for myself, I have to comport with "the church's" interpretation. I think this is exactly opposite of what Joseph Smith (and his church contemporaries and immediate successors) thought and taught. I actually had some high hopes that "home centered, church supported" might remedy that, especially considering the somewhat vague and open ended nature of the materials. I honestly do believe it still can happen, and maybe it's a matter of culture shift, but that means it has to really be home centered and the church supported part has to allow for those differences of interpretation/understanding. I don't see that happening in the very near future in my own ward. Yeah, the foyer class is smaller these days, but I think I am going to end up remaining a foyer rat unless something else gives.

I will again re-emphasize that I have been thoroughly enjoying my personal study this year. I wish that there was a way to really freely and openly discuss and share insights and understandings with others. I'm not saying we all have to agree or see things the same way, it would just be nice if there was that free exchange of ideas and open thought.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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nibbler
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Re: New Sunday School - Not.

Post by nibbler » 06 Feb 2019, 12:05

Home church can still give people all those opportunities but yeah, church church isn't going to do a whole lot of validating. We just have to be content with our progress privately. :smile:

This does creates an issue though. If I feel like I need to remain silent each Sunday I don't have a voice. If all we're doing is regurgitating, there's not much on the receiving end either. In the absence of giving or receiving what am I doing? Taking up space?
Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.
— Laurence J. Peter

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DarkJedi
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Re: New Sunday School - Not.

Post by DarkJedi » 07 Feb 2019, 06:49

The topic came up in stake council last evening. The original concern expressed was that people the missionaries are teaching no longer have their own class and feel kind of lost and maybe overwhelmed in the large class sizes all of our wards are seeing now and the experience is therefore less personal for them. The question was asked if there could be a second class. The SP replied that in the training her got from the area presidency they were very emphatic about not having a separate class for those taking discussions or new members. They did not say there could not be two GD classes, but the SP said he would rather not have two classes for fear that one of them would turn into a gospel essentials class. There was actually a fair amount of other discussion surrounding the issues we have discussed here, but in the end the presidency said we're in the growing/learning phase with the new program and we need to give it a chance - teachers might need to use different strategies (such as small groups), small groups outside class are encouraged (and the WML/EQC could facilitate groups of people taking lessons/new members), discussion should stay focused on the core principles of the gospel, and don't forget that the program is really home centered.

So no real solution is coming from the stake level or above, and it sounds like in our stake two classes is not going to happen. I've come to some peace with it because I have not been a participant in SS for many years anyway and I can sit in the foyer (or even the back of the chapel) and do my own thing anyway - which is what I have been doing all along. There is no requirement I participate or even listen, and I don't go to church for SS.

Just curious because every unit here is using their chapel for SS because that's the only space large enough. What's happening in places where multiple wards use the same building and the chapel is being used for another SM?
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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