Monday, May 9, 2011

The Divinely Inspired Church-writing Committee

As I took the opportunity to attend a high priest class on Sunday I was disappointed that the teacher had fallen into the temptation to turn to an unofficial internet based resource (which did not carry an official church logo), in an attempt to justify an interpretation on tithing that was not in accordance with the manual we all had in front of us. 

The problem with these sorts of lessons is that while they can be very convincing they are not always in harmony with current church teachings.  Fortunately I was there to provide the official position of the church in the matter.

After the lesson I was able to meet with and correct the teacher who agreed to abide by my counsel in the future.  We read together an article entitled “Use Proper Sources” which is linked below:

In brief the article talks about a stressed out sister who while preparing a lesson had lots of books, magazines and her laptop computer open.  Her daughter informed her that an inspired Church-writing committee had already done all this research for her. Everything the mother needed — and more — was right there in her manual.

Following the advice of her daughter, the woman turned off her computer, shut the dozens of books open on her dining room table and picked up her manual and scriptures. The frustration she had previously experienced disappeared. She knew the material was doctrinally accurate. She knew its source was valid. She knew it had been approved by the men called to lead the Lord's work on the earth today and that it was what they wanted her to teach.

Teachers in the Church do themselves and the people they serve a great disservice when they turn to unofficial — not correlated — materials in the planning of lessons and activities.

As teachers are obedient to this counsel they will be at peace and all will be uplifted.

The Church — through its inspired correlation program — has given us official sources of information to help us prepare lessons and learn the gospel. Instead of turning to unofficial books and Web sites, let's use those sources.  For your edification I will list below some credible sources of information:
The Scriptures
Church approved manuals
www.lds.org
www.providentliving.org
www.mormon.org
www.ldsces.org
http://stakepresident.blogspot.com/

Please stay away from sites that claim to have truths about our religion, but are really designed to make you question your faith and devotion to the Lord and His Church.

President Paternoster

29 comments:

spontaneously disregulated said...

Wow Prez, I actually thought you had inserted the "not correlated" statement in there as a hyperbole,but when I read the original article and found it was an official quote, it sort of gave me goose pimples (like when you walk through a door way and unexpectantly walk through a spider web and the sticky web globs onto your face and hair kind of goose pimples). I must admit it was my gospel doctine teacher assignment and my efforts to magnify my calling that took me out of the standard "correlated" lessons which ultimatly lead to my 10% increase in salary and sundays off. I've never been more grateful for a calling.

Enjoying your blog.

Bjorge Queen said...

I'm wondering, President, if I may use material from the Journals of Discourse and talks given in the 60s from the likes of Mark E Petersen and such.
I only ask because I shared some quotes from "Race Problems As They Affect the Church" on facebook recently and many of my LDS friends became offended and said that I was trying to drudge up unpleasantries. I certainly never would do such a thing. I've had similar experiences when sharing thoughts from Brigham Young found in the Journals of Discourse. I've always thought that when a prophet speaks the thinking has been done. Am I wrong? I don't want to upset my good LDS friends. Would these materials be considered credible sources of information?

Stake Pres. said...

spontaneously disregulated, it is precisely this kind of thing (teachers finding and believing falsehoods and leaving the church) that we are trying to avoid. Please forget all that you have read online and return to the fold.

Bjorge Queen, Apostle George Q. Cannon, stated:
"The Journal of Discourses deservedly ranks as one of the standard works of the Church, and every rightminded Saint will certainly welcome with joy every Number as it comes forth from the press as an additional reflector of 'the light that shines from Zion's hill.”
Please continue to use this valuable resource in your teaching. Only the unrighteous will be offended at the words of the Lord as presented by the mouth of his servants the prophets.

Brigham Taft Pratt said...

I love the inspired stories the brethren tell to help get a point across. I remember the "just use church approved" sources talk well. That young girl showed wisdom beyond her years as she effectively taught her mother that there was no reason to think deeply about church doctrine because the brethren have already done the thinking for us. I also think that teachers should avoid "personalizing" the lessons they present in any way, shape, or form. In a perfect world, we would all just sit (or stand) in a room and then someone would start a standardized, pre-recorded audio version of the lesson. This way there would be no temptation for men, and heaven forbid women, to mingle their ideas with the ideas of the brethren.

Stake Pres. said...

I completely agree Brother Pratt. The research and thinking has been done and when we undertake to add or modify the lessons in any way we are only asking for trouble.

Anonymous said...

I am sure good Germans in the 1930s
felt likewise about the teachings of Hitler in Mein Kampf and the rantings of Goebbels......especially their divine inspirations about where Jews and other less than Aryan peoples fit into the overall scheme of things.

Stake Pres. said...

Thank you Anonymous. This is a good example which clearly shows how Satan mimics the ways of the Lord.

J Hume said...

Obedience is the first law of heaven, so it is our duty to serve the Lord by obeying the counsel of the brethren, even if the counsel that they give us seems wrong. The prophets have taught us that the Lord will never allow the prophets to lead us astray. Therefore, it is our duty to obey the brethren in all things, no matter what.

Anonymous, the Church is perfect but we, the members, are not. Still, it seems extreme to compare the shortcomings of the LDS church with the atrocities committed by the Nazis.

diogenes said...

Not to brag too much about my pioneer stock, but my gggrandfather was a participating Elder in the Mountain Meadow battle with the Arkansas mobbers. Rather then have faith by trusting his priesthood leaders such as John D. Lee, he instead testified against his priesthood leaders in a gentile courtroom. As is always the case, by failing to follow the brethren he fell into inactivity that lasted for generations until my mother came back into the fold. I wanted to submit a faith promoting, correlated church history lesson concerning the Mountain Meadows battle (some anti-mormons call it a massacre) for seminary as to the need to follow our leaders at all times for they will not lead us astray and if we do not then we will go astray as my gggrandfather did---but for some reason the church correlation committee did not want my faith promoting story. Maybe it was because foreign saints would not understand the faith of those that put down the Arkansas mob invaded our zion.

Brigham Taft Pratt said...

Like our stake president has said, Satan regularly mimics the ways of the Lord. I have actually found an example of this very thing on Youtube. This first clip shows how the Lord uses music and images to help generate passion and love for the Lord's prophet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oRL1pIp8qA

(Watch from the 3 minute mark)

This second clip demonstrates how Satan likes to use the same techniques to generate passion and love for evil people.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egB14_sdLXo&feature=related

I think it's pretty clear from these clips that Satan likes to copy the Lord.

Cindy said...

Thank-you for your post. It is so important for teachers to follow these guidelines. I love how united our church is and that no matter where I go I'll be learning from the same material. I think this is part of the reason many say they feel a connection or sense of familiarity to any ward or branch they visit.

Porter said...

President, your posts are always so helpful to me, but I have a confession. I am a lifetime member of the church and I am ashamed to admit that I find the standard lessons from the manual to be quite boring. I have heard them all before, and now that the teachers are forbidden from going outside of the manual the lessons all sound the same.

The problem with this is that when I am bored my mind begins to wander, and lately I have been having impure thoughts about several members of the relief society. The RS President in our ward is particularly hot. What do you suggest?

Stake Pres. said...

Thank you all for your thought provoking comments. Brother Hume you are right that the brethren have said that they can never lead us astray. I know that this is indeed the case.

Diogenes, thank you for sharing how your ancestor’s rebellion ended up hurting his posterity even unto the fourth generation.

Brother Pratt these are excellent examples and I would counsel all to take heed lest the evil one mimics so effectively that we are drawn into the eternal chains of damnation. Readers please take the time to watch these two short videos.

Cindy this is what I love about the church too. It doesn’t matter where in the world I am I know the lesson will be the same. We truly are a united people.

Porter as a lifetime member you should know all too well that it is by repetition that we learn. I promise that as you maintain focus each lesson will have personal meaning to you and you will not be so inclined to think of the relief society president providing compassionate service to the brethren.

Sweetie said...

The thinking is over. What more is there outside of this. I'm waiting for the brethern to administer the drone pill that correlates all members. Then truly our stepford community can blossom & beautify this deceptive world. After all, beautiful deception works best!

Catherine Pillinger said...

I truly can see a day when all Sacrament meeting talks, Sunday school lessons, etc, are simply repeated like the endowment film in the temple. It would make good sense --a pre-made DVD sent out to all the meetinghouses from SLC, they could simply hit "repeat" every week, and all the subjects/content would already be Brethren-approved. I mean, if we can watch that temple movie over and over again, why not each Sunday too?

Stake Pres. said...

As a stake president I would find this very helpful Sister Pillinger. The amount of correcting that I need to do is becoming very time consuming. That's one thing I like about general conference; the talks there never need to be corrected in any way at all and the doctrine is always pure.

Lisa said...

J Hume: That is the most subtle sarcasm i have ever heard in my entire life.

...You were being sarcastic, right?

Insana D said...

Something I have finally come to appreciate after years of struggling with what I feared was tedium and sameness in the church is the consistancy that comes from having the lessons laid out in perfect correlation.

When our dear brothers and sisters say, "The church is the same wherever you go" it's a compliment to the conformity and order that is so well practiced in the church. By this same method the mystery and confusion is boiled out of the temple ceremonies and I can go into those beautiful buildings and sit down for two hours (except for the brief moments when standing and symbolism is practiced) and not think, not allow a single thought or worry to enter my head.

This experience absolves me from having to expand my mind or work out complex intellectual things that are beyond my own milk diet.

The mess in my own home, the challenges with my apostate children, the fears of infidelity of my spouse just lift and I can completely detach myself from reality. It's no wonder so many LDS women love this experience!!

We have our divinely inspired leaders for the ease of our Sunday lessons and our temple service. Think of the grueling hours I could have wasted trying to figure out things for myself when it's all laid out for me exactly as the leaders would want me to understand. I feel liberated by submitting to their will. Thankyou President Paternoster for reminding me and others that we should open our minds to the order that is so carefully laid out. It's made my life easier and I no longer consider the lessons tedious and repetitive. So simple, even a woman can do it!

Insana D said...

Something I have finally come to appreciate after years of struggling with what I feared was tedium and sameness in the church is the consistancy that comes from having the lessons laid out in perfect correlation.

When our dear brothers and sisters say, "The church is the same wherever you go" it's a compliment to the conformity and order that is so well practiced in the church. By this same method the mystery and confusion is boiled out of the temple ceremonies and I can go into those beautiful buildings and sit down for two hours (except for the brief moments when standing and symbolism is practiced) and not think, not allow a single thought or worry to enter my head.

This experience absolves me from having to expand my mind or work out complex intellectual things that are beyond my own milk diet.

The mess in my own home, the challenges with my apostate children, the fears of infidelity of my spouse just lift and I can completely detach myself from reality. It's no wonder so many LDS women love this experience!!

We have our divinely inspired leaders to thank for the ease of our Sunday lessons and our temple service. Think of the grueling hours I could have wasted trying to figure out things for myself when it's all laid out for me exactly as the leaders would want me to understand. I feel liberated by submitting to their will. Thankyou President Paternoster for reminding me and others that we should open our minds to the order that is so carefully laid out. It's made my life easier and I no longer consider the lessons tedious and repetitive. So simple, even a woman can do it!

~Clint~ said...

I suspect brother J Hume would agree with the Presidents comment in the previous post regarding sarcasm.

I will summarize the conversation:
"Maureen said... Isn't sarcasm one of the deadly sins President P? "

"Stake Pres. said...
It certainly is Maureen. Sarcasm is the lowest form of humor and has absolutely no place within the one true church of God. "

Hope this clears up any confusion :-).

I must admit, I am always somewhat perplexed by the statement “the Church is perfect but we, the members, are not”. But I guess this can be clarified by D&C 10:67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. from which we can see that “The Church” is composed of the repentant members. That is why it is perfect.

Although, I should not presume to know the mind of Brother Hume. Please let us know if you wish to expound on this issue at all Brother Hume?

Also, I should note that when I read the good presidents comment above I was so overcome with the spirit that my reaction could almost have been mistaken for laughter, but only if one had not been properly in tune with the spirit.

Anonymous said...

Dear President, I so appreciate your counsel and inspirational direction on this topic. I have taught gospel doctrine and at times also fallen into the temptation of using non-correlated sources, thinking that it might make the lesson more interesting. I have also sometimes inserted my own questions to class members instead of using the exact wording found in the lesson manuals, thinking that perhaps those questions were too general, judging by the blank stares and non-responses I would get from class members. After some pondering and prayer, however, I realized that those questions are divinely-inspired even if they don't generate any answers from the class, and that asking those questions is what the Lord truly desires of us as teachers. I feel so much better now that I am asking questions directly from the lesson manual, like "Why do you think our attitude and motivation are important when we pay tithing to the Lord?" or "What would help you do the things you know you should do?" or "Why is it important to be honest in keeping our covenants with God?"

Anonymous said...

I think there is some strangeness to your blog. So much of what is written has a teensy hint of irony to it.

Please remember everybody that the church is true and that we should always write things that are uplifting.

President, I think it is best to delete any comments that hint at disaffection or irony. It destroys the Spirit that you work so hard to project in your blog.

Thank you for the great resources.

Stake Pres. said...

Thank you anonymous. Like you I would encourage all to write only that which is uplifting and edifying. Sadly there are those who frequent this site who do not abide by this counsel.

Bro Jenssen said...

If you want to know about correlation
you speak with the correlated!
Most of those uncorrelated websites are just plain garbage.

"Follow the correlation, brethren"

Anonymous said...

I just got back from my mission and I can testify to the fact that going off topic leads to problems. One of my comps got of on the whole polygamy topic and this one investigator was going to join up because he thought we still did that stuff. He seem kinda bummed when we told him that only a few cults still practice it. A few week later we were helping a guy who was kind of involved in a gang and this same comp of mine got of on the whole "blood-atonement" thing. I had no idea what he was talking about, but the investigator was like "yeah, I can totally get that."

Anyway, I'm really glad to be back home in Idaho. In Elder's Quorum we just take turns reading right out of the manual. Makes everything a whole lot easier.

P.S. Did you hear about the latest jewelry at Deseret Book. They have a ring there now that says FTB. They say it stands for "Follow the Brethren." Apparently its almost as popular as CTR rings. When I'm down in Pocatello I'm definitely getting one!

Dr. Rangi said...

I must commend you President for bring up this all to important topic! While I was a young man, studying at medical school (I'm ashamed to admit that it wasn't BYU), I heard someone in the cafeteria say "Brigham Young". I was eager to get in on the discussion, having recently returned from serving an honourable full-time mission. However, what I heard was blasphemy! They were saying that President Young was a polygamist and had dozens of wives?!

I struggled with this for many years because I remembered reading, in an official Priesthood lesson manual, that after his first wife (Miriam) passed away in 1832, he married Mary Ann Angell in 1834. I'm glad (not proud, as pride is of the devil) to say, President, that I no longer struggle with this topic. The other day, I picked up the trusted (correlated) Brigham Young Manual and found this: 'On 18 February 1834 he married Mary Ann Angell; over the next 10 years, six children were born into their family. Mary Ann, Brigham recorded, “labored faithfully for the interest of my family and the kingdom” (MHBY-1, 8)."'

As you can see President, these people in my university days were uninformed apostates who had sought 'outside', un-correlated, information. How wonderful is the Lord's kingdom that we no longer need to extensively research in order to find the truth. We simply need to pick up a book that is specially prepared for us in our exact day and age!

Ted McCartin said...

Pres. Brigham Young's family tree has been researched at the Church's Family History website. Pres. Young had 55 wives, and had 57 children by 16 of those wives. Some wives such as Eliza R. Snow Smith, were widows of the Prophet Joseph Smith and were married to Pres. Young for time only.

The Prophet Joseph Smith had 33 wives, also from the Church's Family History website.

Sister Emma Smith could never abide the Celestial Law of Plural Marriage. She hated it, and after the death of her beloved Joseph, she claimed that Pres. Young had introduced polygamy into the Church. In a sense this was correct. However, this led to a falling out between Pres. Young and Sister Emma Smith, leading Pres. Young to declare that Sister Emma was "the damnedest liar he ever knew." It has only been in the last couple of years that an attempt has been made at reconciliation between Pres. Young's descendants and Sister Emma Smith's descendants.

The Pres. of the Church holds the Priesthood Keys to Plural Marriage. In the Prophet Joseph's time, a man had to be found worthy to practice Plural Marriage and was then called by the Prophet to be sealed to extra wives.

Pres. Young declared in the Journal of Discourses that a man could not enter the Celestial Kingdom with only one wife. Therefore, every man was expected to practice Plural Marriage without a worthiness interview or being called to the practice by the Pres. of the Church, one of his Counselors, or a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Pres. Young also complained that some of the older men of the Church had to take youngish women as wives because the younger husbands in the Church would not practice Plural Marriage e.g. Pres. John Taylor took two 16 y.o. twin sisters to wife otherwise they would have remained unmarried.

Although I have found by personal experience also to stick to the lesson manual, we are also required to be in tune with the Holy Ghost to emphasize parts of the lesson which are of most urgency in the lives of the members of the class. Doc & Cov 42:12-14 states: 12. And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall the principles of my gospel , which are in the Bible and Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel.

13. And they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them, and these shall be their teachings, as they shall be directed by the Spirit.

14. And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.

Note: Pres. Hinckley told us not to use "D&C" as an abbreviation for the Doctrine and Covenants. A Google search of "D&C" comes up with "dilation and curettage" of a females uterus for the purpose of abortion or to clean the uterus after a miscarriage.

A simple goal for teaching the gospel, and also in secular teaching as I found in teaching at Community College for 10 years, is that the lesson should effect change in the life of at least one person.

On May 4 2007 Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley stated that the doctrine of the Church is found in: 1. the four Standard Works, 2. the Articles of Faith, and 3. the Proclamations and Declarations of the First Presidency. He did not mention the Temple Endowment because 1. it is sacred, and therefore 2. not all members of the Church and members of the general public have access to that doctrine.

Lesson manuals are not the doctrine of the Church but expound the doctrine of the Church and are teaching aids. If you read each manual clearly, you will find a note asking for suggestions as to ways in which the lesson manual can be improved.

Matisse said...

Excuse me but I am a very appalled by the blog. With the new Come Follow Me program it invites MORE open discussion and relies less on the teacher just reading from the Manuel. In order for young people in the church to gain our own testimonies we need to think about church doctrine and have questions any questions we may have answered. That is how we can learn of Christ NOT by hearing the same lesson repeated over and over again. Our leaders need to find other lesson material to help them know they have a testimony of what they're teaching. This whole blog I find a scam and I feel that this is the reason why people have so many misconceptions about the LDS church from reading stuff like your blog that IS false doctrine!

val said...

This is the weard? What the heck is this blog its horrible,