Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Alexander, John C., DavidH, and Anonymous,

Alexander says: Gary, thanks for this reminder. As a member of the Elder's Quorum Presidency I'm always at a loss as to what to do on the first Sundays of the month, when we've been left directionless as to what to teach since there is no manual, no assigned talk from one of the Bretheren, and no specific instructions from our Bishop. Now I feel comfortable in canceling class for that Sunday, since I anything I could come up with, no matter how true, inspiring, or important in my own eyes, is by definition uncorrelated.

R. Gary responds: It appears to me that the handbook doesn't indicate a manual or any particular conference talk for first Sunday class instruction. Specific instructions from the bishop aren't called for either. Actually, the handbook appears to specify an uncorrelated lesson on the first Sunday:

"A member of the elders quorum presidency or high priests group leadership teaches on the first Sunday. He uses the scriptures, the teachings of latter-day prophets, and approved Church materials. Melchizedek Priesthood leaders use this meeting to teach the doctrines of the gospel and help brethren become actively engaged in their priesthood duties. (Section 7.8.1.)

I'm pretty sure cancelling class on the first Sunday is not recommended.

John C. says: R. Gary, You continue to ignore just about everything I've ever written on Sunday School. That's fine, actually, because why should you care.... [But] I feel like [you] should ... read, in particular, this post.

R. Gary responds: I'm quite certain Brother McConkie was not trying to supersede the handbook with what he didn't say. I'm not sure how that would work anyway.

DavidH says: Gary, I think most local leaders of the Church agree with you, and would prefer not just that lessons and talks, but also members' supplemental reading be restricted to

R. Gary responds: I myself have never heard it said by anyone that members' reading should be restricted to Really? And you say that's what "most local leaders" would prefer?

DavidH says: When I taught our high priest group from the Joseph Smith manual about the First Vision, I sent around several days in advance an email with links to various articles in the Ensign about the multiple versions of the First Vision, as well as a number of articles from other sources like Dialogue, Journal of Mormon History, FAIR commentary, FARMS commentary, including pieces on how the First Vision had been treated (or not mentioned much) in early Church history. I also included 10 or so questions, tied to material in the manual, that we would discuss on Sunday. I did the same for a number of other lessons in the manual. Those who wanted to read the additional material could (and a lot of brethren did), or they could read the manual only, and be ready for our discussion on Sunday.

R. Gary responds: I don't think the content of email is discussed in the handbook, only the class discussion. I'm sure you will continue to use good judgement as high priests group instructor.

Anonymous says: On Christmas Day, you chose to write a post on Correlation??? So is Jesus birth of less importance than correlation?

R. Gary responds: I spent several weeks researching and writing my post. It was posted on Christmas day. So what?

My wife and I have nine children and 36 grandchildren. We visited most of our grandchildren in their homes between the 24th and 27th. Yesterday (the 28th) the entire family of 52 gathered at a local meetinghouse for a meal, a talent show, and to exchange gifts. I feel just fine about the way I celebrated Christmas, thank you.

Anonymous says: And what's with all the Benson stuff lately? Aren't there other things to write about?

R. Gary responds: Ezra Taft Benson is a recent Church President. There's nothing wrong with remembering him and his teachings once in a while.

Thank you all for your comments.

Your blogging friend,