Something new: fourth-Sunday lessons
Posted by jennywebb on January 10, 2012
I know that I have not been an active participant on this blog (other than reading) for quite some time. However, I am hoping to change that somewhat this year.
In my personal study of late, I have found it useful to study the Conference addresses as if I were preparing to teach them as a fourth-Sunday lesson. By this I mean that I have tried to focus my notes around a central theme from the talk that I feel would make an interesting and useful discussion and that would allow the Spirit to testify to specific truths and principles. I have also tried to include questions that I want to ponder further. (Personally, I tend to reflect on something better if I come up with such questions.) After some consideration, I have decided to post these notes here in the hope that they may prove useful over time. I realize, however, that there are a few potential problems with this plan.
1) The talks that I choose to study have been up to this point the ones being taught in my fourth-Sunday RS class. Given the nature of the fourth-Sunday lessons, they will not, of course, necessarily be the ones chosen in your ward. I realize therefore that the usefulness of these notes is somewhat hit-and-miss. I hope to mitigate that problem partially by posting weekly rather than monthly.
2) Given the focus of the Feast blog and Feast wiki, the question arises as to how scriptural these posts will be. I answer this in several ways. The first is to point to the quasi-canonical status of the current conference talks. We believe in continuing revelation. We believe in prophets, seers, and revelators. The talks given in the general conferences are held by the general membership as that most current version of an ongoing divine dialogue between God and his children. While not canonized scripture, they are not simply nice thoughts either. It is my belief that by reading these talks carefully they may yield fruits similar to that of reading scripture, and thus it is worth our time and attention here on Feast. I hope that reading these talks will contribute to the larger project of how we read and teach scripture.
My second answer would be simply to note that given my personal interests in reading and scripture these notes tend to focus on questions of scripture. That is, my own questions tend to center around how a general authority reads a certain passage of scripture, or the ways in which the speaker expands upon a scriptural theme, image, motif, etc. Additionally, I believe that as I study and write with the Feast audience in mind that I will tend to bring out this scriptural focus in my notes.
Finally, I would just add that I am interested as well in the “how.” That is, how do we teach lessons from conference talks? How do we develop meaningful discussions and questions from these talks? In my experience, the ways in which these fourth-Sunday lessons function and are taught varies widely, and I’m interested in continuing the excellent pedagogical discussions held here at Feast with specific regard to the teaching of conference talks.
I hope that these posts will be useful, and I thank the Feast community in advance for providing one of my favorite spaces on the internet!