First Presidency on Coming Schedule Changes in Church Meetings

Just released letter from the First Presidency on Sunday Meeting Schedule beginning January 2019. Thoughts?

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

For many years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been working on a home-centered and Church-supported plan for members to learn doctrine, fortify faith, and foster heartfelt worship. Today we announce a significant step in achieving a new balance between gospel instruction in the home and in the Church.

Beginning in January 2019, the Sunday schedule followed throughout the Church will include a 60-minute sacrament meeting each Sunday, and after a 10-minute transition, a 50-minute class period. Sunday School classes will be held in this class period on the first and third Sundays, and priesthood quorums, Relief Society, and Young Women will be held on the second and fourth Sundays. Primary will be held weekly and will last 50 minutes.

In addition, we encourage individuals and families to hold home evening and to study the gospel at home on Sunday—or at other times as individuals and families choose. A new resource, Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families, provides ideas for personal scripture study, family scripture study, and home evening.

These adjustments will be implemented in January 2019. Additional information is available at Sabbath.lds.org.

Sincerely yours,

Russell M. Nelson
Dallin H. Oaks
Henry B. Eyring

Comments

  1. I see only pros for this change and see the church trying to stay with the times and the changing needs of the world. We need to prepare for the second coming in our hearts and homes and I see Pres Nelson doing his level best to facilitate this for the members. However, having already reared my children, I’m kinda upset my children don’t get to fight their kids for all 3 hours. (haha) Also, those with custody issues may hit the schedule wrong and kids may only end up getting the youth centered classes less than they normally would have based on court ordered visitation, or part member families. I also heard a comment from one young mother say that nursery was the best 2 hour time of her week. :]

  2. I view this in the same way as ministering. Not a material change in the way many members have been doing things and won’t change much for me. But it is a great practical and pr move and moves away from checklists. I totally support it.

  3. jaxjensen says:

    Totally in favor of 2Hr block. Trying to reason it out as having some impact on learning the gospel better at home seems silly to me. I don’t see any real correlation between better home learning and a 2hr block, especially given that I didn’t even hear a “please use the extra hour studying at home” message. Mostly it seems to me to be 2 unrelated events: the introduction of the new manual meant to facilitate better study at home; and the new 2 hr block schedule. Those are both fine by me. Why did they feel the need to offer justification for the 2 hr block change?

  4. It’s fine. Seems to be geared toward relieving pressure on families with young children who get bored trying to get through three hours of church. I was a bit worried initially when I heard (a rumor at the time) that Sunday School was being phased out, but I see the wisdom of the Leaders of this Church have addressed that. It will be interesting to see how it works in fact.

  5. I’m thrilled that sharing time for Primary will be gone! Is it too much to dream that some of that long 50 minute lesson time can be given back to practice hymn time?

  6. Marcella, Read the attachment to the FP letter. Primary: 25 min together (5min talk, etc.; 20 min singing time – music supporting the class lessons); 5 min to get to class; 20 minute lesson — certain variations authorized in the event of splitting junior and senior primary.
    Did you mean Sunday School? No, no practice hymn time

  7. I’m both amused and pleased that RS and YW are invited to use hymns to support their lessons while the Priesthood quorums are not! I might feel differently if my ward Pr brethren didn’t sound like Robert Kirby’s “herd of anesthetized cows.” :)

  8. Aussie Mormon says:

    This would have been something I’d loved to see Kirby’s take on.

  9. I think it’s wonderful. I have a chronic illness that makes church attendance difficult, and with this change, I will, at least sometimes, be able to stay for all of church.

  10. This emphasis on preparing in our hearts and homes is interesting. Seems like we’ve totally dropped the Zion rhetoric. Hard to build Zion sat in your living room.

  11. Rich Harshaw says:

    Benk, actually the emphasis is on creating Zion individuals and families… everything being done now is trying to focus people on Christ instead of the formalities of church. This is another step in the Zion direction.

  12. The Other Aussie Mormon says:

    I thought I’d be the first one to post this here for sure… but you’re up early!

    I think the biggest winner in this is the primary auxiliary. As a stake primary president, my wife sees the tremendous challenges the ward primary presidents have with staffing primary. I believe this change will impact primary presidents more than anyone… and it’s good. Very good. Our ward and many others we have experienced in our stake and others cannot get people to teach primary, or stay for sharing time after they’ve taught their lessons. Just general staffing issues can be improved so much here!

    In relation to FHE on Sundays, we have consistently had FHE on Sundays as it’s not practical for us to have it Monday. And the autonomy we’ve been ‘granted’ here is super, although it may not change much for many people.

    The overall argument that it reduces demands is my favourite one – although this may be a double-edged sword since service is the essence of a celestial life!

    So pleased with this change

  13. The Other Aussie Mormon says:

    ^^ ignore first sentence. Was in relation to something else I was typing and accidentally pasted it here

  14. Matt Evans says:

    I found the messages introducing the 2-hour block — de-emphasizing the collective nature of the gospel and the Zion project in favor of a Protestant, every man and his personal relationship with Christ paradigm, disheartening. I don’t think they said a single thing about building Zion or a community of saints. I have a strong preference for Joseph Smith’s vision of a church so comprehensive that initiatives like the United Order made sense.

  15. A Zion mindset doesn’t require longer or more meetings. What we need is a pure heart with less greed and pride. We have plenty of things that keep us spending time together both formally and informally. Building Zion is still our goal but that doesn’t require a 3 hour block.

  16. I think it will be a good thing and am all in favor of it. But I wish they would just level with us and tell us the truth when they make changes instead of always trying to put some spin on it. Imagine how refreshing it would be if they would just say something to the effect of:
    “The church is growing like gangbusters in Africa. The saints there pay very, very little in tithing dollars because of their material poverty. We need to build them chapels and the only way to do that is to take tithing dollars from North America and ship it over there. As a result, we are not able to keep building meetinghouses at the same pace here in North America. Changing to a two hour block will allow us to fit more wards into our existing meetinghouses and this in turn will allow us to build new ones at a much slower rate. We are however worried that reducing the length of the block may lead to reduced spirituality so please try to use that extra hour to study the gospel at home. Thanks, The First Presidency.”

  17. Marcella, from the FAQ page, at sabbath.lds.org “Relief Society meetings will not begin with an opening hymn or prayer but will conclude with a closing prayer.” So not only are we not getting the practice hymn back, but are losing the other hymns as well. However, there’s a small hope that you might see some music in your individual ward since it also says that “Hymns may be used to enhance a lesson as appropriate.” A sad lack of music for the second hour.

  18. And also if they could lighten up on the hyperbole. Ease off on the words like “Historic” and “Revelatory”. It’s not that big of a deal. It’s really just a schedule adjustment.

  19. I wonder if this will be the parable of the ten virgins. Half of the church members will be wise and study at home. Half will not. How tempting will it be to not study at home?

  20. Deborah Christensen says:

    I see only good coming from cutting down to a 2-hour block. I like the idea of studying at home and taking a more active charge in our individual spiritual growth. Not that we weren’t doing this before. But the new manual appears to be a push in that direction.
    The only frustration I feel in this is the need for “revelation”. Do we really need revelation to go from a 3-hour to a 2-hour block? It sounds like Salt Lake is relying on divine instructions rather than being wise servants in this matter. Or maybe they’re just exaggerating like Fred at 8:03 pm said. I’m of the opinion that Heavenly Father and the Savior are more interested in us renewing our covenants weekly, structuring Sunday to be a day of rest, and growing spiritually on a daily basis. I don’t think they really care about which day of the week we use, or how long we are at the church building on Sundays, or how many classes and meetings we can create and attend.

  21. My thoughts were close to jader3rd. The change may be separating the “wheat from the tares”.

  22. I’d guess that this change will increase attendance at meetings other than sacrament meeting. It’s more inviting to stay after sacrament meeting for one hour instead of two. If I’m right about that, there will be a decrease of meeting time, but a net increase of members in classes.

    I think that this will improve the experience of Primary children. 20-minute lessons are much more age-appropriate than 40- or 50-minute lessons. This is also a blessing for nursery teachers.

    I see the emphasis on home gospel study as, in effect, a renewal and an expansion of family home evening. The emphasis on family home evening has grown stale. I sense that the program, as it has been traditionally framed, has become less suited to families’ current needs. Now the church is providing both a curriculum and a new encouragement for home gospel study. There is a lot of flexibility in the way they are describing this. The idea seems to be to study the gospel when and how you want, but make sure you study.

    This new flexibility also opens up some very welcome possibilities for friends to study the gospel together. It has been unfortunately common, in my experience, for bishops to try to shut down organized gospel study outside of whatever meetings bishops and stake presidents have approved. Many members also seem to be suspicious about the idea of organized gospel study groups. Elder Cook today encouraged people to study the gospel together outside of regular ward meetings. I’m sure some bishops will try to maintain excessive control over such things, but they’ll be resisting a strong current.

  23. Kristine N says:

    I’m a bit sad about the change. I’m going to miss meeting with my sisters in Relief Society every week.

  24. I need someone to help me reconcile this obsession with individual households with anything Joseph taught about Zion. For me, this is a final nail in the Zion coffin. Screw the collective. Your own family is what matters.

    I need someone who’s looked at the at-home lessons to explain to me why nobody who worked on this curriculum has a testimony of narrative.

    I need parents who are rejoicing over this, saying 3 hours was too much for kids, to admit that the hour that kids hated, the hour that kids are stuck in rather than welcome to, is still there every Sunday.

    I find nothing encouraging in this.

  25. Bruised, broken, yet at peace says:

    Geez, Fred; and I thought I was the cynic. I do have to agree though, this is just a schedule change. I couldn’t believe the amount of time dedicated to it.

    The impact studies do show that in the wards where it was piloted, attendance, activity rates and baptisms all increased.

    Personally, I’m all for less meetings and more family time. It’s hard to preach Zion if families are pushed to the back burner by church demands.

  26. Aussie Mormon says:

    Fred: Why are you so concerned about using the word revelation when everything in the church is supposed to be done by revelation?

  27. Geoff - Aus says:

    Revelation has been redefined to mean the “council of 15” agreeing. So somewhat deminished.
    Have just watched the Sat morning, ruined by Oaks, defining many people out of exaltation and the church. How many single women v single men? So 40 year old single woman in my family excluded, his absolute certainty in his rightness is galling, and will not be ballanced by Uchtdorf one assumes.
    We might have more activity from the leadership, but the hate and fear are still there.
    The 2 hour block is good.

  28. Trying not to be a critic says:

    In our area of the church – DC Metro – we have three wards vying for a small parking lot and church resources. The first ward starts at 8:30 and the last ward meets from 3:30 – 6:30 pm. The 2-hour church is a blessing in so many ways.

  29. Left Field says:

    Fred, I’m just wondering who you’re quoting and what the source is. Nelson and Cook did repeatedly use the term “adjustment.”

    On the other hand, I have to think it’s a very odd view to hold that revelation is hyperbolic in the Mormon Church. In Mormonism, revelation in matters large and small is available to every member on an ongoing basis. The idea that every revelation is something spectacular and earth-shaking is a very unMormon concept.

  30. This whole change in the Sunday curriculum is just one more attempt by the Prophets of our church stop the bleeding of church members and to increase the numbers of baptisms.
    of baptisms
    In 2013, Thomas Monson decided the solution to bring about more members and to keep more members from leaving the church, was to increase the number of missionaries in the field. By lowering the age to 18 years old, the church was able to field 20,000 more missionaries. Guess what, the increase in baptisms was only 4%. Not much of a bang for the buck
    Until our church leaders open their eyes and see what the problems facing the church really are, they will continue to allow the Mormon ship to sing.
    My suggestion to our church leaders, is to read the Internet, particularly sites such as Recovery from Mormonism or Ex Mormon. It is sites like the two aforementioned, that are causing people to pen their eyes and proclaim, “Wow, how can I have been such a fool for so long.”
    Check out these sites, brethren, if you really want to know why the church has got so many problems with retention and baptisms. Note: 2016 had the lowest number of baptisms in the LDS Church since 1937.
    Don’t be afraid to read the information in these sites The information contained in these sites is, for the most part (I believe) factual and unless you work within the truth, the truth will always evade you

  31. Left Field says:

    dave, whenever I’ve managed to find myself reading the exmormon discussion group, it almost always goes something like this: A comment is made about something that has happened (or allegedly happened) in the church, or just something that a member of the group wants to bring up for discussion. Then everyone else piles on with whatever they’re “sure” really happened, and “no doubt” this nefarious thing is really behind it, and “you can be sure” that “the so-called church” will cover it up, and pay off whoever needs to be paid, and something about that mall in Salt Lake and the age of Joseph Smith’s wives, and so on. Each person upping the ante with ever more outrageous assertions.

    Don’t get me wrong. I understand that people can use an outlet for the airing of grievances even if it’s not Festivus season. And certainly there’s some factual information somewhere in the middle of a lot of those grievances. There might even be some benefit to church leaders to know what grievances people have.

    But these people are charter members of the Church of Making Stuff Up. Do not go there if you are in search of factual information that has actual documentation. Most of the stuff that gets thrown around is pulled straight out of the lower G.I. tract, and they mostly don’t even bother to pretend otherwise.

  32. Troy Cline says:

    I think these changes are positive but really hate that they were referred to as revelation by Quentin Cook. To borrow and tweak a quote by Dash from The Incredibles: “When everything is revelation, nothing is.” Seriously, 6 months ago those 1st Sunday council meetings during 3rd hour were going to revolutionize how the wards organize their ministering efforts. People were so excited and so jazzed up about this new divinely-inspired leadership from Nelson. Now they are gone. Kudos to the church for being able to recognize when something doesn’t work, but stop couching everything in the language of inspiration and revelation. Just tell us the truth for God’s sake!

  33. Among the two-hour rumors that were swirling around for years was the prospect of Sunday school being jettisoned. That always disturbed me. With rare exceptions, priesthood meetings are excruciatingly boring. (“Will someone read the first paragraph?” Read, read, read. “Any thoughts? No? Okay, who’ll read the next paragraph?”) I’m glad Sunday school remains, even if only alternating with RS/priesthood. I like the idea of men and women sitting together, discussing the scriptures. Splitting up has always been a drag, and all other lessons and talks are so abstract and concept-driven (“Obedience,” “Prayer,” “Obedience,” “Fasting,” “Obedience,” “Tithing,” Obedience,” “Family,” “Obedience”…).

  34. Michael H., that’s what I always hear from men. For women, I think RS is the more preferred hour in general.

  35. David Z: As someone who’s taught Gospel Doctrine for the past couple of years, I do think this has the potential to increase Zion. How much would I have liked it if my entire class came to class having read and discussed the lesson within their families and having the insights of their family to share with the ward (even if we only had class twice a month)? This was already true of a couple of families in my class and it was pretty great. I think the key is, if this leads to a focus on families connecting to the larger church family, then it could be awesome. If it leads to people getting more insular inside their families, then sure, maybe it’s not a good thing. But that’s at least somewhat on us, the members and wards.

    I have looked briefly at the in-home lessons, and sure, they don’t have narrative? I think they are trying to assume that people will be able to handle the narrative bits themselves. Is that a bad assumption? I need to look at them more closely, but so far I like them much better than the old Gospel Doctrine manuals, which I found awful and practically never used.

    I have two kids and I am totally rejoicing. My older kid was about to rebel; she’d started exiting her Primary class and coming to find me in late GD/early RS. (And yes, this was a problem when I was teaching.) Sacrament meeting was never as much of a problem because the kids were with me, although I’m really glad they seem to be making it slightly shorter, because that over-an-hour part was right when I started to get a lot of whining. Another data point is that my husband is Lutheran, and my kids don’t climb the wall with his church’s 2-hour service/Sunday School the way they do in the 3-hour block.

    So, yeah, I guess I find it all very encouraging. Plus my kids and I might be able to attend choir now, yay!

  36. jaxjensen says:

    ” How much would I have liked it if my entire class came to class having read and discussed the lesson within their families and having the insights of their family to share with the ward (even if we only had class twice a month)?” We’ve been asked to do this for years/decades/ever… is there any reason to think that people’s personal preparation is going to change because of a new manual?

  37. David

    Remember the principle of. Ministering is to go outside of of our families and serve one another. What we need is more serving and ministering one another not meetings. This is the direction they are trying to take us.

  38. No J, Relief Society is not the preferred class for a lot of us sisters. So over hearing about ministering. Glad we still get two classes of Sunday School.

  39. Not a Cougar says:

    I’m with Jax and jader. Wonderful in theory if people study at home and use the extra time on Sunday to serve, study, and pray; however, I’m fairly certain far too many members will see it as simply an opportunity to watch more football. I also think in the long run this hurts our sense of community. I get that one less hour on Sundays shouldn’t make a difference, but I can’t help thinking there are many, many members whose only real social outlet is on Sunday. May we find them and help them.

  40. Not a Cougar says:

    Also, can’t wait for a post here on President Nelson’s comment on the endowment ceremony being an ancient ceremony. I’ll be sure to bring the popcorn when reading the comments section.

  41. Not a Cougar, I’ve never thought of any part of the 3-hour block as a “social outlet”. For me it has been difficult to get through while longing for some social contact with others in the ward that does no activities that allow the adults to get acquainted with each other and, of course, no service projects my bad knees will allow participation in, and has no choir I can tolerate listening to more than its painful performances, etc. I think we gave up community a long time ago. Maybe that’s not the case for wards that comprise only a few city blocks, but where I am, the deletion of one hour of bad, boring, superficial teaching won’t hurt a sense of community and maybe will encourage people to hang around a bit and talk rather than make an exhausted break for home.

  42. I always thought Sunday School was important and I learned a lot from exceptionally good teachers and class members who had studied the over years. I so appreciated them.
    They didn’t ask me, but I would have made Sacrament a half hour, take it and think about the Savior then dismiss and go learn about Him.

  43. Not a Cougar says:

    JR, sorry to hear about the knees. I guess our Sunday experiences are just different. I take opportunities to engage with friends and acquaintances throughout the block and have always enjoyed Gospel Doctrine (mainly through taking nonstandard positions on issues). That class is honestly where I got to see people’s real personalities shine through. But oh well, onward and upward to two hour church fellow Christians!

  44. I’m not a very social person, and I tend to spend a good chunk of the 3-hr block (RIP) on my electronics to avoid eye contact. That said, I think Gospel Doctrine was important to have, and I was not looking forward to losing it. I really hope that outside study and study groups (which seemed to get a green light) more than make up for it.

    As for the ancient endowment, really depends what P. Nelson meant. I have a very old post on that, https://web.archive.org/web/20060309192736/http://www.millennialstar.org/index.php/2005/06/02/p773

  45. I LOVE the change, but a couple things have been irking me about President Nelson’s tenure:

    -I’m sick and tired of hearing about ministering in general conference. I don’t watch conference to hear about Church policy, I watch it to learn about Christ. Yes, the brethren often relate ministering to the Christlike attribute of service, but it’s really not that big of a change.

    -Why is EVERYTHING revelation now? I don’t feel like trimming an hour off of church, or not taking home teaching stats, is something that requires the opening of the heavens to implement. It’s just a GOOD idea. Since when is common sense revelatory? Or historic?

    -Administrative and Prophetic Duties are FAR too interconnected. There are certain things that, at the end of the day, DO NOT MATTER to God. He doesn’t care if we go to church for 1 hour, or 2 hours, or not at all. If we’re becoming a better, more Christlike person, He is well pleased. The value of the Gospel is not in the semantics, or the minutia of Church Policy and Organization; it lies in what it helps us to become.

  46. I do believe that this is a good change. I’m just afraid of the temptation to not do home worship.
    I do wish they took the opportunity to kill Family Home Evening. I notice that Elder Cook never said Family Home Evening. He said Family Study and Family Activity. The church should certainly still encourage Family Home Evening-esque activities. Elder Cook did call out not having church leaders schedule things on Mondays, but now that the church has said that we need to do an hour of family study/worship on Sundays (or at some point in the week if there are legit scheduling issues), give up on the Monday night thing. Lots of family activities work better on other nights.

    I think it would be better if they double downed on Sunday Home Worship and a semi-monthly family activity. I think that’s what most poster families are going to end up doing.

  47. Amen Derek. My thoughts EXACTLY.

  48. The reason why 2 hour church is great is because 3 hour church sucks. Sacrament meeting is filled with dull talks that start by either quoting a dictionary definition or “Bishop/Counselor asked me to”. And then just repeating Ensign and conference talks. We’ve got two centuries of Christian thought, some of it by those who died for their faith and we ignore it all for rehashed stories of stories. Then there are the 20 minute talks. Then sacrament meeting goes for 70 mins. We’re locked into this rigid structure that is frankly dull and uninspiring – what’s that verse that says that meetings should be guided by the spirit? D&C 46:2?
    Then Sunday school generally sucks too, since people aren’t called based on any discernible ability to actually teach (which believe it or not is actually a skill), so we just end up with generally mediocre lessons. Plus the Sunday school manual sucks, and doesn’t actually teach the scriptures, but rather this bastardised LDS version of them.
    Then EQ sucks, because it’s just another lesson that has zero relevance to either the priesthood or being men. And we all know it, so we’re just waiting to be allowed to leave church. It never gives us anything new to consider, and is mostly just reading from the manual.
    So yes, the 2 hour block will be great, but not for the right reasons.

  49. I’m sorry you feel that way Chompers. For myself, for the few years before combining High Priests and Elders Quorum, Elders Quorum was something I actually looked forward too. They were regularly the highlights of my week. Most weeks the discussions were phenomenal. And I’ve had good Gospel Doctrine teachers too. Although in the current rotation of teachers in my ward my wife did make a comment about one of them “This calling has to be for her, because her teaching the lesson isn’t helping any of us.”

  50. Spot on, Derek.

    The pattern of revelation seems to be that God answers questions that his prophets pose to him (see Joseph Smith’s revelation on baptism, polygamy, and later revelation like missionary work in Spirit Prison, the ending of polygamy and the priesthood ban). We should not be surprised by the fact that men who spend an overwhelming majority of their time performing administrative duties are only giving us administrative revelation. The calling of apostle or prophet has been morphed from chiefly revealing and preaching doctrine, to managing administrative problems.

    Imagine what would happen if we allocated the administrative duties completely to the 70. The prophet and apostles would be free to think, pray, and receive revelation regarding truly consequential problems like the migration crisis in Europe and Syria, the coming problems posed by artificial intelligence, the growing discord between right and left worldwide, or the moral quandaries of human gene editing. If we actually started making a positive impact on such problems, the world would take notice and the church would grow.

    The cynic in me recognizes that our leaders are not confident in the power of true revelation, and so busy themselves with the other minutia.

  51. Long overdue change!

    From a practical, logistical perspective, I want to suggest that bishoprics carefully think through how to schedule the Sunday meetings for 2019–since my ward’s bishopric has shown a distinct tendency to be very poor at such details.

    If, as in my building, there are 3 wards in yours ALREADY using an overlapping schedule of 9:00/11:00/1:00, the best new schedule would be 9:00/10:30/12:00.

    If the bishopric tries to eliminate the overlap, but still start meetings on the hour, you would end up with 9/12/3…which would be disastrous for the last ward in the building. Even if they were to allow only 30 min between non-overlapping wards the schedule would be 9/11:30/2…still worse than currently for the last ward.

    The sensible solution is an overlapping schedule of 9/10:30/12…a win for both the last two wards in the building!

    Pass along this idea to your bishopric now so they can be ready for when the discussion comes up (probably early in December given my assumption about how poor bishoprics are at planning details) ;-)

  52. fbisti, the brethren have anticipated your concerns:

    https://www.lds.org/bc/content/ldsorg/general-conference/16496_000_Sunday_Scheduling_Options.pdf?lang=eng

    But enough about Sunday schedules, the real burning question is, are there really that many members of the restored church in Yuba City? Population 65,000. Not a major population center. Only 40 miles from Sacramento and an existing temple. Yuba City?

  53. Thanks, KLC. I am impressed by the church thinking ahead in a detailed manner like this. Here’s hoping someone in the bishopric sees this page on LDS.org

  54. Aussie Mormon says:

    Ted: People (including members) already ignore church leaders when they talk about refugees, moral issues relating to biology and things relating to science; and abuse the church leaders when they comment on politics.

    It’s been over two years since the “I was a stranger” program launched. If members are getting stuck into them (as is clear in the comments just for this post) about using the term revelation for things that are “only” administrative issues, do you really think things will suddenly be any different just because the Q15 say “the Lord has declared that He wants you to help refugees” rather than it be a program announced by the General RS/YW/Pri presidencies at general conference?

    Do you really think it will become anything more than anti-church memes if the Q15 say “The Lord doesn’t want you to change your baby’s eye colour”?

  55. I’m a bit surprised at my surprise at finding cynicism and negativity here. The message from some here is that the leaders are pretending to be inspired and lying about the change. Are you people serious? Maybe I should end the comment here so I don’t get deleted.

  56. I have been reading through all of the information about “Come Follow Me—Individuals and Families” on lds.org and marking the parts that I strike me as particularly helpful. Here are two that jumped out at me on the site in regards to the notion that this means an extra required hour of instruction by parents to children.

    “How Should I Use This [Come Follow Me—For Individuals and Families] Resource?
    Use this resource in any way that is helpful to you.”

    “Do I Need to Follow the Schedule?
    The schedule will help you keep up with the material covered in Sunday classes, but don’t feel bound by it; the schedule is simply a guide to help you pace yourself. The important thing is that you are learning the gospel individually and as a family.”

    So… this is a resource to add to your personal and parenting toolbox, not a program you are supposed to add to your to-do list.

  57. Sally Tielemans says:

    My kids are all out of the house. When they were young, we used to do Sunday Time where I would try to do gospel teaching. But I didn’t have internet or many resources at home, just tried to figure out ideas and lessons on my own and it was hard. I would have loved to have had the resources available now to teach them. For ourselves and our kids both, we really are without excuse anymore.

  58. Aussie: are you arguing that, since people already ignore the brethren, they are right to focus on administrative minutia? Since their words have so little impact, they may as well settle for a name change here, a schedule change there?

    Even your imagined revelation regarding the migration crisis and human gene editing reflect small-minded expectations of the brethren. You seem to suggest that the best they can do in terms of revelation is, “give money to the refugees,” or “don’t change your babies eye color.” Just more administrative edicts, identical to opinions offered by most leaders of most conservative religions.

    Real revelation could be instrumental in addressing the underlying issues behind the actual problems of our day. I can’t think of what those solutions are, because they aren’t obvious (hence the need for revelation). And they would likely receive more of this kind of revelation if they were free to pay more attention.

    Another example is church history. The brethren’s failure to address the issues posed by our history is leading to an increasing problem of retention. Yet they are the first ones to tell us that they have little experience with and knowledge of church history. They’re too busy running an enormous organization to think carefully about the problems of church history, and nobody with doubts finds their answers compelling or satisfying.

  59. Aussie Mormon says:

    Ted: You were the one who said “Imagine what would happen if we allocated the administrative duties completely to the 70. The prophet and apostles would be free to think, pray, and receive revelation regarding truly consequential problems like the migration crisis in Europe and Syria, the coming problems posed by artificial intelligence, the growing discord between right and left worldwide, or the moral quandaries of human gene editing. If we actually started making a positive impact on such problems, the world would take notice and the church would grow.”

    But let’s address your points

    “are you arguing that, since people already ignore the brethren, they are right to focus on administrative minutia? Since their words have so little impact, they may as well settle for a name change here, a schedule change there?”

    No I’m not. I’m saying that just because they announce revelation on something, doesn’t mean that the members (or the world) will actually do anything about it. And there have been plenty examples of that.

    “You seem to suggest that the best they can do in terms of revelation is, “give money to the refugees,” or “don’t change your babies eye color.” Just more administrative edicts, identical to opinions offered by most leaders of most conservative religions.”
    If “give money to refugees” is what you got out of the I Was A Stranger program, then you should actually look at it and see what it involves (just giving money isn’t what it is). Also how is “don’t change your babies eye color” any different to other issues relating to the human body such as gender confirming surgery, tattoos, surgical sterilisation, etc? Are they all “just administrative edicts” too?

    “The brethren’s failure to address the issues posed by our history is leading to an increasing problem of retention.”
    The Church History Department exists for a reason.

    “Real revelation could be instrumental in addressing the underlying issues behind the actual problems of our day. I can’t think of what those solutions are, because they aren’t obvious (hence the need for revelation). And they would likely receive more of this kind of revelation if they were free to pay more attention.”

    The revelation pattern is: identify a question, study it out yourself, ask for guidance.
    Maybe it’s simply that the things that the Q15 are concerned about, aren’t what other people are. And I’ve already addressed your refugee example.

  60. @jax

    Why complain that leaders offer insight into their decisions? i don’t see the downside to that. Both the schedule change and the curriculum were piloted and tested extensively Over many years and the synergy between both decisions is fairly self evident. Our previous ward in San Diego was piloting the curriculum program fous years ago and I know several stakes around the world were doing the same. I just don’t see much reason to view the explanation of the decisions as disingenuous. Having actually experienced the curriculum portion, it is wonderful, a huge step forward, and streamlines burdens on parents between children and callings.