Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Teaching Gospel Principles

by Terri Wagner

I felt pretty secure teaching just about any age group and any lesson until I got called as the Gospel Principles teacher. I never realized how important it is to both stay focused on the general doctrine and accommodate a wide range of gospel knowledge. The questions can be extremely challenging. Not because I do not know the answer, but because I find it hard to explain it simply. Fortunately, the instruction manual gently suggests do not worry if you do not really cover the lesson, let the discussion flow in a natural direction.

Yesterday was one of those Sundays we all sigh over. I have spring allergies and a raspy voice, so I was counting on my class to carry the lesson as they usually do. For some reason maybe the same reason they were not inclined to talk. That meant I had too. The lesson was on keeping the Sabbath Day holy which is a tricky principle at best. Tricky because so many people here are in part member homes, coming from another religion, or have family situations where the Molly Mormon way won't work well. Wow, did you see how many "w" words I got in there? Ok back on track.

The lessons are written to facilitate discussion in a class filled with non members, returning members, and non members married to members. Half the time I'm taking time to gently correct the member who has not quite learned a certain principle is not necessarily set in concrete. For example, if you have to work on Sunday, are you exempt? No, you are not. The Lord kinda leaves up to you the individual to come up with creative ways to still keep the Sabbath Day. Fortunately I had a visitor who was in the medical field and offered up some fun ideas to both work and yet acknowledge the day for what it is.

I thought we would have a nice lively discussion on the fact that we are given guidelines about the Sabbath, but are cautioned not to become like the Sadducees and Pharisees of the Savior's day. That's really what I mean by tricky. I like the fact that Heavenly Father gives us the guidelines and we then can make choices that serve our families better. But I have found that coming from another religion, investigators are looking for hard and fast rules they can check off. I appreciate that. I sometimes wish there was a set of rules. Do this, don't do that...but then again I'd probably be the one that griped about the rules not giving me much freedom. It's a balance.

Please don't take all this as a rant about teaching this class. It has to do with making wise choices for you. On this blog, we have often discussed the pros and cons of writing on Sunday. After teaching this class, I stand pretty firm on the it's entirely up to your personal circumstances. Does that make me a situational ethics person? I'm not sure. Why do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I would love to be able to attend one of your classes Terri. I love your sense of humor...and the Spirit that you have with you. You are wise and I love you. On Sunday I write my thoughts and feelings about lessons. I try to catch up on journaling family/personal events. I write letters/notes to people I love. The same discussion has been had in my family about sewing/baking/picnics in the park. My personal feeling is that if the Spirit prompts me to whip something up to serve someone who needs a lift...I do it. Thanks for the great post. hugs~

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