Ideas for "meaty" classes/discussion groups at church

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Ann
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Ideas for "meaty" classes/discussion groups at church

Post by Ann » 24 May 2015, 17:45

I would like to talk with someone about classes or discussion groups where difficult topics could be discussed. Is this "a thing" in any of your wards/stakes? Any suggestions on who exactly I should talk with and how to start the conversation? If I want to start a home-based group, how would that go over? (In that case, I see it being a bookgroup format.) What are the possibilities if we're talking Sunday School hour?
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

amateurparent
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Re: Ideas for "meaty" classes/discussion groups at church

Post by amateurparent » 24 May 2015, 18:02

http://www.millereccles.org

Miller Eccles is one such group. They are in California and Texas.

From their website:

"We welcome differing viewpoints and aim to provide opportunities for honest inquiry and expression in an open, accepting environment of good fellowship. In such an atmosphere negativism and destructive criticism do not easily flourish. We seek to foster brother and sisterhood amid diversity."

I have been to two of their meetings. The discussions were NOT controversial. I walked away feeling like it might as well have been another gospel doctrine meeting. They did go into meatier subjects, just didn't delve into anything of real controversy.

But I only attended two .. The rest of their meetings could be real rippers.
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

dash1730
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Re: Ideas for "meaty" classes/discussion groups at church

Post by dash1730 » 24 May 2015, 18:10

Many years ago, while living in SLC, I was a member of a discussion group which met monthly in different members’ homes. SLC had a good number of thoughtful people who our well-connected group could call on for a presentation. The discussions were often heterodox though always respectful, like StayLDS and "meaty". However, it was nothing that any Bishop would likely countenance in his building, and especially not competing in the same time slot as standard SS lessons. OTOH if the discussions lean closer to the orthodoxy, then Saturday or Sunday night firesides is the format you could follow.
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Ann
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Re: Ideas for "meaty" classes/discussion groups at church

Post by Ann » 24 May 2015, 21:10

These both sound interesting, but not workable given my location.

SS hour has alternatives to GD class already, and I wondered if the church has experimented with, I don't know, some kind of "Gospel Questions" class.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

amateurparent
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Re: Ideas for "meaty" classes/discussion groups at church

Post by amateurparent » 24 May 2015, 21:39

I think the church would see such a class as too big of a threat. Gospel Essentials class for new members and investigators is the closest thing you are going to find. I just cannot imagine a ward sanctioning a class that allowed real and serious questions about doctrine and history.

The talk is always about giving milk before meat. Then meat is never offered. Or if meat is offered, you are expected to just be grateful for a bite -- and never question what kind of animal it came from, how it was prepared, or if the cook washed their hands.
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

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NewLight
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Re: Ideas for "meaty" classes/discussion groups at church

Post by NewLight » 25 May 2015, 04:31

Unfortunately, I really cannot see you having success at this, much less IN church. The expressions of the leaders is that our official meetings need to be "faith promoting" and that, as we know in this forum means to stick to what the church has released as it correlated material. I think many members are not ready for nuanced discussion of the gospel and people feel threatened by it, which saddens me personally.

I wonder if over the decades as the younger crowd grows up, that the need for such a class won't grow - I think it will. Just my two cents.

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nibbler
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Re: Ideas for "meaty" classes/discussion groups at church

Post by nibbler » 25 May 2015, 04:50

Any class that is either billed or even perceived as meat will attract everyone, ready or not. I think it's the human condition to convince ourselves that we are ready for the meat, regardless of whether we really are. I'm just saying that if there were an additional SS class that people thought was more deep than their regular class everyone would end up attending and it would become another gospel doctrine class.

I'd love for some sort of get together outside Sunday services where people can get together, I've heard of very few such meetings. I believe Bill Reel hosted one in Arizona?

People are already holding meetings to discuss what I'll call "faith without filters" but they're outside official channels of the church. It's more along the lines of a book club or something. The concern there is what happens when (and let's face it, this is a real possibility) a member hears about the group, doesn't understand the group, tattles to their SP, and everyone is brought up on disciplinary charges for forming an apostate group... just for wanting to discuss the things that there should have been space to discuss in church meetings. :crazy:

There's a gap, it would be nice for the church to provide some sort of official support, but one obstacle is that the culture associates far too much stigma with "doubters." It's a real need that everyone is afraid to address.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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SilentDawning
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Re: Ideas for "meaty" classes/discussion groups at church

Post by SilentDawning » 25 May 2015, 07:37

I agree -- the way to approach this is outside of formal church channels. Nothing stops you from inviting people over for a discussion, or personal study. In fact, I think the Church Handbook specifies that controversial topics are for personal study. It is highly unlikely that leaders would permit this within church boundaries.

We had a GD class that went a bit unorthodox, and it led to our Bishop going into the class and telling everyone to stick to the lesson manual. The SP's wife was in the GD class, complained to him, and then our Bishop got it full barrel.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Ideas for "meaty" classes/discussion groups at church

Post by Curt Sunshine » 25 May 2015, 07:38

I comment.

Seriously, that is my approach to making classes meatier. I think about the topic and how to frame my comments in a way that isn't offensive to most traditional members. I have the advantage of over 40 years of learning how to do so without causing doctrinal fights, but it works most of the time now.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

startpoor
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Re: Ideas for "meaty" classes/discussion groups at church

Post by startpoor » 25 May 2015, 08:58

I have been wondering the same thing myself. I think it depends on your leaders. I was once invited to a book club by my bishop of all people to discuss crucible of doubt. The discussion was open and refreshing. But there's no SS group. I really like the name "gospel questions." I think a class covering the gospel topics essays or teaching from crucible of doubt would be great classes. For pure church history, mormonism in context is a great website that has lessons already set up with teaching materials. Good luck on this. I Plan on Talking to my bishop about this soon.


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