Every so often, when I teach a course, I get the strange idea that students really ought to see something that, were it not for me, they will probably never encounter (this of course is probably some kind of conceit). This idea almost always involves me writing some text or part of a text. And it is almost always a mistake. It is a mistake because my perspective is usually faulty.
The students don’t need this knowledge, it’s not life altering, and it is often too deep or just plain confusing for the level they are presently at. Courses have usually evolved into what they are for good psychological or pedagogical reasons, usually. But this thing seems to be something like pregnancy. Women seem to forget the awful stuff after a couple of years. And the urge to try it again takes over. Then they sometimes wonder why it did when it’s too late.
But I’ve done it again. No I’m not pregnant with a baby. Not possible. Just another obsession. For years I have had the idea that no mathematics major should escape from a university without at least seeing a bit of “measure theory.” So much of modern mathematics depends on the idea that it finally took me over – the innocents must be educated. I guess I sort of feel like the devil. So I’m going to persecute 25 juniors/seniors next year with the 30 pages of single-spaced notes I dashed off last summer off the top of my head, just for them. I know they will hate it. It’s too sophisticated for their logically immature brains.
On the other hand, won’t being exposed to these magnificent ideas make them more capable of comprehending deep and complex argument? No. They will merely be frustrated with my dense symbolic prose. But I will go ahead with it, because I’m pregnant. With an idea. But on the other hand, maybe this is good. Because their pain will cause me to give up that idea and any other budding errors in my skull for at least another 3 or 4 years.
Now, I’ve sometimes been tempted with the same sort of notions when teaching in Church. How much to give that Gospel Doctrine or priesthood class? Won’t it be good for them to know some of the humanity behind the people that are manual stick-figures? Or that many of the stories that have been passed around Church manuals and classrooms for the last 50 to 80 years are really Job-like exaggerations/fabrications? Or the things that really motivated this or that revelation? Or the details of this or that text? How about the use of seer stones and similar objects? Or the evolution of meanings that have rotated history to fiction. The list goes on. But the fact is that when I have taught Church classes, I get lots of attendees. People from other wards sneaking in. It’s precisely the opposite of what happens at work.
But I can see the wisdom of my current bishop not letting me near a classroom. Heh heh. Correlation. In his mind, I know, danger lurks in my heart. He surely feels that what I would communicate in the Church classroom is not ultimately useful. And the potential for offense seems high for him and that’s a dealbreaker right there. And I suppose this means I’m never going to get my chance at the Conference Center Pulpit. Dang.
 But I love my current Church assignment. I copy the Sunday program. Magnifying this calling is wonderful! I typeset it in latex and fool around trying to save paper. It’s the best job I’ve ever had. I have toyed with the idea of acrostics or maybe buried references to obscure movies or something. I also typeset the announcements. There’s real potential there which I have not begun to abuse. (Bishop, if you happen by some impossible circumstance to read this, I’m joking. Really.)