A deeper look into the scripturesBy: Stephen Marsh
The Sunday School curriculum is a success in one way — it does return us to the scriptures instead of commentaries or instead of the time when entire years could go by with minimal scriptural references (Ardis could give you links to those days). But …
So, what would you do with the curriculum?
I’d like to see the same focus on a book of scripture every year, but with deeper focus on parts. So, extracts from the Old Testament, for example. Maybe the story of Zipporah (ok, maybe not). In the New Testament, maybe two or three months on the complex midrash that is Hebrews. Next time the New Testament comes around, focus on other parts. But study with more depth. I think we’ve already done almost twenty or thirty years of touching things lightly, pretty much the same every year. When we cover the D&C, how about a discussion about how rejecting polygamy (both polygany and polyandry) affects those who have had spouses die and who have then remarried and been sealed to the new spouse. Telling a man or a woman that being married twice is downright evil and diseased (or so the conversation seems to go) and unholy and that their love is doomed and rejected of God and (modern, enlightened) man.
Or how about a month spent on D&C 121 and the core lessons from that chapter? Another month spent on how the saints were warned against speculating in land, warned against squatting on land and not buying it and how the Kirkland Anti-Banking Society was brought under by embezzlement by a small core of men who were determined to speculate on land values?
For the Book of Mormon, how about discussing the feminist portions of it? For at least a month?
You could do amazing things if the Church as a whole engaged in deeper study of the scriptures each year.
The same is true for Relief Society and Priesthood. Deeper focus, studying entire essays and speeches, sometimes for more than one lesson. One year on deep history for the Relief Society. Perhaps another year with selected talks from the BYU Womens Conferences (think about it, if we want to reach President Hinkley’s goal of more leadership from the women in the Church, deep study and reflection is a way to do it).
So, what would you do if you had a chance to change the curriculum? Why? Why not?