Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Coming up in Relief Society and Melchizedek Priesthood for 2010 and 2011

Posted by joespencer on July 27, 2009

People who frequent this site and are interested in questions of teaching, especially in Relief Society and Priesthood, should go read posts at Juvenile Instructor and New Cool Thang about the course of study for 2010-2011. Rather than taking up the next in the series of “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church,” we will be giving ourselves to two years of study of the newly released revision of Gospel Principles, the manual that is traditionally used to teach new converts.

There is quite a bit of discussion about the ups and downs of this move on the posts linked the above (the first is an announcement; the second is a review of the first ten chapters of the revised manual). Here, I wonder if it wouldn’t be worth pursuing a discussion about the implications for teaching. What does this mean for what we’ll be doing over the next while?

Moreover, I personally want to ask whether it would be worth doing lesson notes posts for these lessons? They could prove to be immensely productive discussions, but I doubt too many people will be searching online for helps (which is what usually gets people to come to the site). Thoughts?

26 Responses to “Coming up in Relief Society and Melchizedek Priesthood for 2010 and 2011”

  1. While people may not be looking for notes to help them understand the doctrine in this book, posts with hints on actually teaching the topics would be helpful. Perhaps suggestions for questions that could actually start discussions, or ways to focus the lessons for wards heavy on newish converts vs. those heavy on long-time members? Suggestions on scripture stories or events from church history that might illustrate a lesson?

  2. J. Madson said


    I think that even if many people dont come here for lesson help, the discussion would be great. At a minimum I think there could be some more in depth discussion than we are likely to get at church.

  3. joespencer said

    Thanks, Ardis. I should have guessed from your (often marvelously impassioned) comments on the other threads that you would suggest this. :) I think that would be a good idea, though I don’t know if I’m the one to write the posts here. (We’ll definitely be talking about this “among ourselves.”)

    J., I agree with you on this point as well. If our primary aim is discussion, I think I’d be more happy to write up the posts, but I think we’ll have to see what comes from our talking about possibilities.

  4. Dennis said

    Some possible pros, in terms of teaching:

    1. Because of the focus on fairly general “essentials,” there is greater flexibility, lending to more relevant discussion and more elaborate scriptural usage.
    2. More immediately accessible and relevant to a common language of understanding among the Saints. Preparing lessons might be less of a technical chore for many teachers.
    3. Less time wasting by “mere reading” (here I mean reading to simply fill time).

    Possible cons:

    1. For mediocre teachers, the focus on essentials may turn into an incredibly tedious primary lesson. For overzealous teachers, this may seem like an invitation for unbridled speculation, complete with Journal of Discourses references.
    2. The “dumbed-down” nature of the lesson might, in the hands of a mediocre teacher, not challenge problematic assumptions of students. Moreover, some teachers may fail to prepare at all (leading to an improvement for some teachers and poorer teaching for others).
    3. For mediocre teachers, the lesson might be altogether lifted from any text at all. This may be good in some cases, but in other cases it would allow for too many crazy folk ideas.

  5. Sterling Fluharty said

    Maybe it would be useful to generate possible questions for class discussions. Since the revised manual will contain more scripture references, maybe this site should provide analysis of the scriptural passages cited in each lesson. If you could figure out how to mash-up the blog and the wiki, so that the weekly blog posts provide excerpts and links to portions of the wiki that deal with the scriptures cited in each particular lesson, you would probably attract a lot of readers. If a schedule was put together, so that contributors knew to add material to the wiki prior to the blog post that would cite it, that could get a lot of people involved.

  6. Cherylem said

    I for one am sorry for the several deletions of heavenly parents, replaced just by the title heavenly father. The continued erasure of female references has much precedent from the days of the earliest church forward (and I am referring to the earliest Christian records here), and historically this erasure has always meant a decrease in the voice of and respect for women.

  7. Matt W. said

    I am debating doing a series for the new manual, but am a little worried about making and keeping the committment to do it.

  8. Rameumptom said

    I think discussion on the background for each topic – how did such concepts evolve in Church belief, etc., becomes important in understanding how revelation came.

    Second, I don’t see any difference between the basic concepts taught in the GP manual and the basic concepts taught over the last several years in the teachings of the Prophets. After all, the Teachings of the Prophets has basically been sanitized by Correlation toward modern teachings. No discussion on polygamy or United Order, for instance.

    It gives us a chance to discuss doctrines of the Church, and bring in quotes from GAs and elsewhere to discuss them in more depth. If I prepare well for the lesson, I can email my instructor and share quotes and other concepts I’ve found useful, so they can decide whether to also use those items.

  9. I am predicting incredibly tedious and boring lessons in my ward. I would love to frequent this blog if it included lively in-depth discussion on the doctrine/concepts/scripture references covered in each lesson. Rameumptom’s suggestion of including the study of doctrinal development already has me pricking up my ears. I say DO IT.

  10. Robert C. said

    I’m very excited for this new schedule since I think it will be an opportunity to think about theological questions and issues in a way that makes “the basics” exciting, fresh, and provocative rather than old, stale and boring.

    It might actually be easier to get others to commit to a schedule rotation, like we used to do regularly with Sunday school notes, and with interesting discussion on a regular basis, with these lessons than with Sunday school notes.

    If others are interested (Matt W? Joe? others?), speak up and we can set up a schedule, and new blog accounts if need, and hit the ground running when things get started.

  11. joespencer said

    I’m certainly happy to write posts on this, Robert, as you would guess.

  12. Jennifer said

    Joe–I teach in R.S. and I appreciate your lessons so immensely. I rely heavily on your comments to assist me with my lessons. My depth and understanding increases so much and I’m able to thus deliver a lesson worthy of more intellectual discussion. I am extremely nervous if you decide not to continue discussion on what is being taught in R.S/M.P. I would appreciate commentary on your insights for these lessons to help with my teaching preparation/understanding. I wish I could take a course from you.

  13. joespencer said


    You’ll be pleased to know that we (the several permabloggers here at Feast) have been discussing possibilities by e-mail and are making plans to do the Gospel Principles lessons for 2010-11, though there will likely be several of us doing the posts, rather than my solo act.

  14. I was getting really worried until I got to #13 and you said you were making plans to do the Gospel Principles lessons/blog in 2010-11. Thank you so much, I enjoy reading your take on the lessons in the RS/Priesthood book, and it helps me to teach the lessons. Thanks

  15. Jim F. said

    I may be chiming in too late, but I would be happy to join in on creating lesson helps for the new manual.

  16. BrianJ said

    Jim F: signed and sealed. You’re in!

  17. Jim F. said

    Thanks, Brian. Let me know what the schedule is like and I’ll start working on lessons now.

  18. joespencer said

    Ooh. Does that mean we need to put a schedule together? :)

    Glad to have you on board for this, Jim!

  19. BrianJ said

    Hmmm, maybe we should build a schedule. When would we need to have that decided? (If Jim wants to start now, then I guess that answers my question.) Joe, do you remember who said they wanted to be on the author schedule? We could quickly schedule everyone now and then if there are conflicts (or someone really wants a particular lesson) we could work that out later.

  20. joespencer said

    I’ll start an e-mail chain about it, because I don’t remember exactly who said they were interested. In the meanwhile, I need to get a copy of the book….

  21. Tami said

    Please keep posting! I count on and appreciate so much the insights and help I have received in my lessons and will look forward to continuing that in the next year. Thanks for your efforts.

  22. joespencer said

    I should have updated this discussion a while ago. We have worked up a schedule, and we will be doing posts for the lessons from the Gospel Principles manual. Several of us will be contributing.

  23. AZlady said

    As of Dec 1 I cannot find any online discussion from Joe Spencer or anyone else for RS/MP Lesson #47. I so appreciate your insights and rely on them to teach my lessons. Can you direct me to any help on this lesson? Thanks in advance.

  24. joespencer said

    It’s up already:


  25. Readergrl said

    I would like to see and have help of ant quotes from modern day prophets and apostles on these subjects/lessons. These usually open up great discussions as the ladies share experiences relating to these quotes. Our RS presidency does not object if a quote comes from these sources. I love this site and all the help I receive in preparing my lessons.

  26. surge protector reviews…

    […]Coming up in Relief Society and Melchizedek Priesthood for 2010 and 2011 « Feast upon the Word Blog[…]…

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: