Sign in to follow this  
jb789

Role of Sunday School in learning/progression

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

I have a question about the role that Sunday School plays in our learning/spiritual progression. Just to clarify, I have a strong testimony of the truth of the Church and the Savior, and the Book of Mormon, (I served a mission as well, have had many callings, etc).

Over the past 2-3 years I seem to be getting less out of Sunday School (gospel doctrine, elder's quorum) meetings. This is primarily due to having been a member of the church my entire life, and it seems the lessons are continually repetitions of the same material, year after year.

I understand the need of the church to keep the material doctrinally basic (the milk) because the church is growing and there are so many new members. For example, as a missionary we teach very basic principles of necessity, this is completely appropriate for where the young members and investigators are at.

However, it seems to me, at a certain point in our personal spiritual progression, lessons learned through church sunday school classes become less pivotal in our development. Indeed, for myself, the temple and personal study/revelation have been much more instructional.

So, my question is, does there come a point in one's spiritual journey, where one's development will come more from personal revelation and study, and thus the very basic lessons presented currently in Sunday School will be less helpful? I enjoy attending sacrament meeting and feeling the Spirit there, but often I feel time spent in sunday school is very unproductive because the lessons don't seem to be helping me to progress.

Often an argument is that we aren't preparing ourselves before attending the meetings, yet I read scriptures and pray daily, attend the temple regularly, fulfill callings (2 at this time), etc. It has dawned on me that perhaps the time comes in one's progression when the role of the church meetings and basic level of gospel instruction there plays less of a role in one's development (like in school, when one learns what is taught in grade school, they move on to new instruction, etc). I don't say this out of any pride, rather, I am completely honest in acknowledging this.

Am I correct in thinking that there comes a time when the majority of one's instruction won't come from church lessons, but rather from personal revelation and experiences?

Thanks =)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Do you read and study the lessons in advance? What are you doing to make them more interesting for you? Do you contribute meaningfully to class discussions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At times (not always) I have studied the lessons in advance, I do contribute comments when I have something worthwhile to mention, and always follow along with the scriptures we read, etc.

However, I wouldn't be honest with myself if I didn't pose this question - that perhaps in one's development spiritually, the instruction given in Sunday School may begin to play less of a pivotal role in one's development.

This really is my question - if I am correct in understanding that to a point, church lessons will be of great aid, but eventually one must learn more from personal revelation, their own experiences, etc. Even the scriptures indicate this, with Abraham stating in Abraham 1:2 -

"having been myself a follower of brighteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great cknowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge..."

The endowment also hints at this, that when we are "true and faithful in all things", greater understanding and light may come, through revelation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

I hope that will happen throughout life as we continue in our meetings, study, temple attendance, etc. We study each of the standard works every 4 years, and a different prophet every year or two. That's pretty spread out. Even if we went over the same lessons more frequently, I'm pretty sure I could learn at least one new thing from the lesson or a comment every time. If not, I'm probably being reminded of something I needed to remember. I hope I never allow myself to get arrogant or complacent enough to think I know everything there is to be said in the whole of church curriculum. I can't imagine even getting to the point of suspecting as much. But yes, naturally personal revelation comes in as a part of continuing to learn through repetition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, thanks for your comments, you make good points. I hope I don't come across as arrogant in any way - I truly do not mean or think this - I'm just honestly thinking about this lately.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think your question is out of arrogance at all. I can understand the situation.

For me, I've changed my focus of why I attend these meetings.

I attend the Gospel Principles class in my ward. The reason I go there, is to help in missionary efforts. It's not my calling, but I enjoy it.

Does your ward offer a family history class during Sunday School? There are other ways to spend the 2nd hour, if that appeals to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, my ward doesn't have the family history class the 2nd hour, good suggestion though. I can see what you mean about changing the focus of attending the meetings, might take me some time to figure that out but I suppose as the years go on our purpose/reasons for attending church and classes each week can shift/evolve.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all,

I have a question about the role that Sunday School plays in our learning/spiritual progression. Just to clarify, I have a strong testimony of the truth of the Church and the Savior, and the Book of Mormon, (I served a mission as well, have had many callings, etc).

Over the past 2-3 years I seem to be getting less out of Sunday School (gospel doctrine, elder's quorum) meetings. This is primarily due to having been a member of the church my entire life, and it seems the lessons are continually repetitions of the same material, year after year.

I understand the need of the church to keep the material doctrinally basic (the milk) because the church is growing and there are so many new members. For example, as a missionary we teach very basic principles of necessity, this is completely appropriate for where the young members and investigators are at.

However, it seems to me, at a certain point in our personal spiritual progression, lessons learned through church sunday school classes become less pivotal in our development. Indeed, for myself, the temple and personal study/revelation have been much more instructional.

So, my question is, does there come a point in one's spiritual journey, where one's development will come more from personal revelation and study, and thus the very basic lessons presented currently in Sunday School will be less helpful? I enjoy attending sacrament meeting and feeling the Spirit there, but often I feel time spent in sunday school is very unproductive because the lessons don't seem to be helping me to progress.

Often an argument is that we aren't preparing ourselves before attending the meetings, yet I read scriptures and pray daily, attend the temple regularly, fulfill callings (2 at this time), etc. It has dawned on me that perhaps the time comes in one's progression when the role of the church meetings and basic level of gospel instruction there plays less of a role in one's development (like in school, when one learns what is taught in grade school, they move on to new instruction, etc). I don't say this out of any pride, rather, I am completely honest in acknowledging this.

Am I correct in thinking that there comes a time when the majority of one's instruction won't come from church lessons, but rather from personal revelation and experiences?

Thanks =)

I have never understood that the Church is our primary teacher. The responsibility to teach rests first with the parents/family. Second with the Church. So from the beginning we should be learning more outside Sunday meetings than inside them. Also keep in mind that a big purpose of our fellowship is to strengthen one another. If you are firm in your testimony, you need to attend as much to help others learn as to continue your own development. Everyone has a different experience in life, and each lesson in Church classes/quorums presents opportunity for members to lift one another and share those experiences which are unique to them, but still "connect" with others. For me, it's simply a learning experience everywhere, as it seems that the more I learn, the more I realize there is to learn, even from the repetition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Often an argument is that we aren't preparing ourselves before attending the meetings, yet I read scriptures and pray daily, attend the temple regularly, fulfill callings (2 at this time), etc.

The context of those comments, at least for the lessons part of Church, are we aren't preparing ourselves for the lessons. It doesn't matter how often you are reading your scriptures, attending the temple, and fulfilling callings. If you aren't cracking open and studying the lesson material (such as Teachings of the Presidents of the Church) then you aren't preparing for the lesson. Likewise if you read the Book of Mormon chapters, and never looked at the student follow along manual, for the lesson three months ago.

Here is the thing, and I suffer from this as well, if you feel like you can't get anything out of the lessons then try to contribute to them. Look upon it as an opportunity to share your understanding and insight to those who may lack it. And I'll be honest the point of Gospel Doctrine seems less to teach me the scriptures as if I'm sitting in a class room preparing for a test, but to bring the Saints together so that they can discuss the scriptures with each other. Insight and understanding can come from those sitting in the class around us and if we've decided, "Eh, 101 level stuff, I know all this crap." then we tend to close ourselves off to it. Likewise we tend to tune out the specifics of the most important teacher, who is the same if we're talking at home study or at Church,: The Holy Spirit.

Now I'm certainly not perfect, it is easy to lose focus on this. I should know because I do all the time.

Edited by Dravin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I disagree with the premise that just because someone has been attending church all their life that they don't get anything out of it. I believe it was Pres. Kimball who, in his 80s said that he still learned something every time he went to the temple.

It's been my experience that I learn more and gain more when I am an active participant in the lessons, whether as an instructor or as a member of the class. The times I have come away with less is when I have sat quietly in the class doing and saying nothing, adding nothing to the discussion. Those are the times I have sat back waiting for someone else to feed me instead of actively seeking to be fed spiritually.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all,

I have a question about the role that Sunday School plays in our learning/spiritual progression. Just to clarify, I have a strong testimony of the truth of the Church and the Savior, and the Book of Mormon, (I served a mission as well, have had many callings, etc).

Over the past 2-3 years I seem to be getting less out of Sunday School (gospel doctrine, elder's quorum) meetings. This is primarily due to having been a member of the church my entire life, and it seems the lessons are continually repetitions of the same material, year after year.

I understand the need of the church to keep the material doctrinally basic (the milk) because the church is growing and there are so many new members. For example, as a missionary we teach very basic principles of necessity, this is completely appropriate for where the young members and investigators are at.

However, it seems to me, at a certain point in our personal spiritual progression, lessons learned through church sunday school classes become less pivotal in our development. Indeed, for myself, the temple and personal study/revelation have been much more instructional.

So, my question is, does there come a point in one's spiritual journey, where one's development will come more from personal revelation and study, and thus the very basic lessons presented currently in Sunday School will be less helpful? I enjoy attending sacrament meeting and feeling the Spirit there, but often I feel time spent in sunday school is very unproductive because the lessons don't seem to be helping me to progress.

Often an argument is that we aren't preparing ourselves before attending the meetings, yet I read scriptures and pray daily, attend the temple regularly, fulfill callings (2 at this time), etc. It has dawned on me that perhaps the time comes in one's progression when the role of the church meetings and basic level of gospel instruction there plays less of a role in one's development (like in school, when one learns what is taught in grade school, they move on to new instruction, etc). I don't say this out of any pride, rather, I am completely honest in acknowledging this.

Am I correct in thinking that there comes a time when the majority of one's instruction won't come from church lessons, but rather from personal revelation and experiences?

Thanks =)

Perhaps it is normal that the repeated lessons cause us to drift away from further benefit. I have been a member for twelve years and don't look forward to the lessons as much as I did earlier in my development but I continue to go because I enjoy witnessing the development of others, especially investigators.

The class meetings have become less about my growth and more about the growth of others. I look at my attendance as a service to others.

P.S. - LDS teaching is not the milk of the gospel; we have the meat of the gospel and serve up the wedding feast of the bride and bridegroom. There is more to digest in the Articles of Faith than exist in all the creeds combined. Most Christians are still nursing on salvation by grace, while we offer a baptism of repentance and the gift of the Holy Ghost at the hands of His Priesthood. Even these basics which they lack are a full platter.

Edited by Bensalem

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps through your preparation for those classes and your comments during them you will be assisting someone else's growth.

That is after all Heavenly Fathers 'work and glory' to assist others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Am I correct in thinking that there comes a time when the majority of one's instruction won't come from church lessons, but rather from personal revelation and experiences?

Absolutely yes!! We've been taught this by the brother of Jared, Nephi, Jacob, King Benjamin, King Mosiah, Alma, Amulek...Mormon, and Moroni in the Book of Mormon. We were meant to receive instruction by personal revelation and especially experiences! It is the entire point of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

However, it seems to me, at a certain point in our personal spiritual progression, lessons learned through church sunday school classes become less pivotal in our development. Indeed, for myself, the temple and personal study/revelation have been much more instructional.

So, my question is, does there come a point in one's spiritual journey, where one's development will come more from personal revelation and study, and thus the very basic lessons presented currently in Sunday School will be less helpful?

I doubt it. We have been commanded repeatedly to "meet together oft" and to "fellowship with the Saints". Certain very deep aspects of our testimony come only through private introspection and revelation received alone, but much of our testimony (= revealed truth) comes through group study and worship. And even considering the private revelation, much of that is set up to be received by meeting in quorums and other bodies of Saints.

Certain groups within the Church vastly undervalue the worth of communal worship. They think they have somehow "outgrown" it. This is a sure indication that they don't understand the purposes of group worship and, very probably, have not experienced for themselves that value. Some who have been fortunate enough to live in truly wonderful wards know the value from our own experience, and not from any innate spiritual virtue, so I don't necessarily blame or condemn those who have not had this experience. But I do reject the idea that, once we get sufficiently spiritually mature, we can leave behind all that childish Sunday School stuff. No, I don't believe we ever outgrow it.

I enjoy attending sacrament meeting and feeling the Spirit there, but often I feel time spent in sunday school is very unproductive because the lessons don't seem to be helping me to progress.

Then perhaps your focus in the class should be less on what you're getting out of it and more on how you can help everyone else get as much out of it as possible. For example, if you were a Primary teacher, would you complain that the lessons are too simple and that you're just not being spiritually fed? Or would you take joy in teaching the children -- and, surprisingly, often find yourself in a spiritual feast? Take that same attitude with Sunday School or quorum meeting.

Remember, it's the Spirit that teaches. If you have the Spirit with you, you will learn important things regardless of the setting. Focus on that rather than on what you perceive as the shortcomings of the class or the instructor.

Am I correct in thinking that there comes a time when the majority of one's instruction won't come from church lessons, but rather from personal revelation and experiences?

I think you are not correct in this supposition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all,

I have a question about the role that Sunday School plays in our learning/spiritual progression. Just to clarify, I have a strong testimony of the truth of the Church and the Savior, and the Book of Mormon, (I served a mission as well, have had many callings, etc).

Over the past 2-3 years I seem to be getting less out of Sunday School (gospel doctrine, elder's quorum) meetings. This is primarily due to having been a member of the church my entire life, and it seems the lessons are continually repetitions of the same material, year after year.

I understand the need of the church to keep the material doctrinally basic (the milk) because the church is growing and there are so many new members. For example, as a missionary we teach very basic principles of necessity, this is completely appropriate for where the young members and investigators are at.

However, it seems to me, at a certain point in our personal spiritual progression, lessons learned through church sunday school classes become less pivotal in our development. Indeed, for myself, the temple and personal study/revelation have been much more instructional.

So, my question is, does there come a point in one's spiritual journey, where one's development will come more from personal revelation and study, and thus the very basic lessons presented currently in Sunday School will be less helpful? I enjoy attending sacrament meeting and feeling the Spirit there, but often I feel time spent in sunday school is very unproductive because the lessons don't seem to be helping me to progress.

Often an argument is that we aren't preparing ourselves before attending the meetings, yet I read scriptures and pray daily, attend the temple regularly, fulfill callings (2 at this time), etc. It has dawned on me that perhaps the time comes in one's progression when the role of the church meetings and basic level of gospel instruction there plays less of a role in one's development (like in school, when one learns what is taught in grade school, they move on to new instruction, etc). I don't say this out of any pride, rather, I am completely honest in acknowledging this.

Am I correct in thinking that there comes a time when the majority of one's instruction won't come from church lessons, but rather from personal revelation and experiences?

Thanks =)

I think your perspective on this is a certain way because you are looking at the "milk" of the teaching in terms of doctrinal facts. Secular learning always has its limits. It is not the lesson material itself that is to help you "progress". It is the ability to recognize the truth, the spirit and to bring the spirit into the meeting that is important after a person knows all the facts.

If you really want to see this, teach gospel doctrine. I had a similar perspective until I was asked to teach gospel doctrine. Nothing like starting out with Isaiah the first time you are called, then you realize how little we know. But the one thing I recognized as a teacher is that as I taught I could see the 'patriarchs' of the ward helping with the lesson as they shared their testimony about any given topic and by doing so brought the spirit into the classroom. If I asked a fact related question in the lesson, they weren't the ones quickly giving the answer but they did provide personal testimony when that was asked for.

Maybe your role in Sunday School is no longer the receiver as much as it is the provider of testimony and the spirit. This is why we meet together and not just always study alone. I truly believe that one of the key characteristics of all those who make it into the Celestial Kingdom are those that care intimately about the progress of others. To develop that can be one of the biggest challenges of this life, more than learning facts about doctrine. This is one of the greatest commandments to love thy brother as thy self.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is a great reply, I think you are spot on in stating that the need to help others with their progression is very important (love thy brother as thyself) - I think this may indeed be the answer to my question!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hidden

Indeed it is essential to meet together oft, to fast and to pray, to partake of the sacrament, to mourn with those who mourn and so on. The Nephite and Lamanite saints understood this clearly. They also understood the the law of consecration. We as a latter day church as a whole do not. We as a whole still take the BoM for granted and remain under condemnation. We still need each other, yes. The role of Sunday School is basic education.

The gospel, however, allows for each of us as individuals to grow individually. The Savior knocks and we have but to open and receive him if we truly seek Him diligently and with a broken heart and contrite spirit. And we do not need to wait until after our mortal lives to do so. We are the fruits of his labor (Jacob 5) if we seek Him and receive Him and become partakers of salvation and laborers in His vineyard. Miracles and ministering of angels and visitations have not ceased and will not cease. This is a very individual and personal matter.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this