Friday, October 12, 2012
About four years ago, I noticed as I studied the scriptures, I would learn things so precious to me that I wanted to share them in Sunday school class when we covered those portions. I’m not quite sure why it was so important to me to share those things; I just knew that if those things helped me understand, they would help others too. In Sunday school, I would look forward in anticipation to the moment when that particular block of verses would come up in discussion so that I could share what I had learned. However, I soon learned that far too often the time was taken on other verse blocks and the opportunity for me to share never arose. This was disappointing, but I was not discouraged. I just went looking for other possible venues to share. (I don’t have kids, so no easy victims there. My husband listens kindly, but an audience of one seems so limited!)
I tried the Ensign a little bit, but they didn’t bite, whether it was because my writing was too lengthy, or too badly done, or too “out there,” I never quite knew. It was at this point that I conceived the idea of becoming a seminary teacher (or institute teacher). I supposed that since seminary classes met each week day, they could go in a little more depth than Sunday school classes. I thought that surely I could find some way there of sharing the things I had learned.
When I took seminary preservice classes, I was told some interesting things that clarified for me how church curriculum and CES curriculum is set up. I learned that the church designed it so that every four years, members at every age would go through the entire standard works and cover the basic principles of the gospel. I learned that the church knows there is only a limited amount of time in classes, so the decision was made to focus on basic foundational principles so that members can at least gain the fundamentals.
What does this tell us? This means that we can’t say that we will learn everything we need to know at church. It means that we can’t say that something never (or hardly ever) discussed in church is not a legitimate principle. It means that if we are not doing our own reading and our own studying, we won’t get beyond the basics. We need the basics, but we need more too. And going back to the basics for a review helps us best when we have been learning more.
I am grateful that the church has designed its curriculum the way it has because of how well-rounded it is. And I am also grateful that I can blog because it gives me an outlet to share many things I’ve learned from my own study of the scriptures.
I also learned that seminary/institute curriculum was flexible with plenty to teach, but that I was expected to stick to it. In preparing for my student teaching sessions, I found that I was far too often frustrated because I was torn between duty to teach the curriculum (of which there was more than sufficient to cover the time) and my desire to share my own thoughts and insights. It was a near constant internal war with myself every time I had to prepare a lesson. This didn’t make for peace of mind, I can tell you. I learned a ton, but it wasn’t necessarily sharable according to curriculum. Ultimately, it is probably a good thing I was not chosen to teach seminary or institute. It meant my blogging could continue, and it meant I didn’t have a constant war of duty-to-curriculum versus desire-to-share-extra going on.
I am also grateful for the internet because of all the people that share their thoughts about the scriptures; it means that it is possible to seek out more knowledge and perspective. Sometimes revelation comes in the process of seeking and studying the matter out with as many perspectives as you can find. Sometimes we find out a passage has meaning for us when we read (or hear) how it has meaning for others.
How have you been benefited by sharing your perspective of gospel principles in church classes and online? Do you or have you in the past sometimes found yourself overflowing with things to share without time or a place to share them?