We have a new topic today, concerning how husbands and wives of different faiths can have a satisfying spiritual life.  But before that, we have three last letters on how to have good gospel doctrine lessons in Sunday School.  Let’s see what the readers have to say:

I enjoyed the article concerning the Gospel Doctrine lessons and involving the class. Over the years I have taught the Gospel Doctrine class several times, and one thing that was not mentioned is that one can use a bit of humor to get over a gospel point.

One time I had a small skit (with the help of a couple of great people), featuring a discussion about going fishing or reading their scriptures and attending church. Another time I had someone selling Celestial Life Insurance for me – especially fire insurance. I had policies and everything. My “salesman” was great, and it got the message across (pay your tithing).

Another time we were discussing the prophets and I had pictures and had someone volunteer to arrange them in correct order. It was interesting to note one of the young women was in the class and corrected the mistakes. I also have given my versions of gospel conference talks (I call them the Unofficial Test).  Students know to pay attention for my questions like the color of the ties of the choir or the story points.  This last time one question was why L. Tom Perry was pleased about one temple being built especially (answer – because many of his relatives live there).

I am a person who learns better through visuals. So I try to make sure there is either a quote or something available for them to look at just in case they need it as well. There are times when as you are teaching the class you can feel the spirit move around the room and can feel those who have been personally touched by the message at some point. At the same time it is most important to study for each lesson. One does need to prepare for more than one has time to teach and then the spirit will choose what part is to be used that day.

People who never study and then expect the spirit to do the teaching will find their lessons lacking and people sitting in the hall for class.

Cretia Olsen
Centralia, Washington

Cretia, I’ll bet nobody ever falls asleep in your classes!  What a kick!  I believe any tool a teacher can use to keep the students involved in the class is a good thing.  Thanks for sharing your perspective.

Your Sunday school teacher sounds perfect to me.   I like it when teachers are true to their own style. 

Gimmicks are fine for the kind who like them, but not everyone needs them. I prefer to avoid speculation. If outside information is brought in it can be really interesting, and if not, the material there has interest enough. The teachers who are most effective are the ones who let all comments come out so that the class takes on a life of its own and we all learn from each other. I enjoy all our teachers and we rotate through several each of whom has a different style.

Happy in Sunday School

I like what you said, Happy, about how the best classes are where we all learn from each other.  Nobody, teacher or student, has all the answers.  It’s a wise teacher who shares the podium with students who can enrich the knowledge of all.

I love studying and discussing the scriptures.  I have taught Sunday School classes to youth for a number of years and love it.   Currently the situation in  our ward drives me crazy.  We are the last ward to meet in the building and have several classrooms open, but gospel doctrine continues to meet in the chapel.  People are scattered all over when they would fit nicely into one section.  As a result of that, the teacher uses a microphone, and whenever someone responds to a question or is asked to read something he runs up and down the aisles with the microphone, which is very distracting to the spirit and excludes some from participating due to having to speak into the mic (intimidating). 

The teacher probably does his best, but was asked to substitute more than two years ago, has never been sustained, apologizes every week that he isn’t adequately prepared, and just does the best he can.  I download the lesson each week, read/study it, read the Meridian input on the lesson (which is more spiritually uplifting than sitting for 45 minutes in the situation described above), while there are numerous rooms that could be used, even if it meant dividing the class and having two teachers.

I find the most effective way to teach any lesson is to present the material and discuss how it applies to our lives today.  When teaching the mission experiences of Paul from the New Testament, we tried to relate it to the youth and the time to come when they would serve missions and how they would respond to difficult situations.  Its not likely that any will be shipwrecked, but then you never know.

Minnesota Reader

Minnesota, you may want to ask a bishopric member why the class meets in the chapel when other rooms are available.  Being a person of limited mobility, I can tell you that it’s a lot easier on me if I don’t have to move from one place to another.  There may be a similar (or completely different) logical reason why your gospel doctrine class is meeting in the chapel, but it may also be that nobody has ever thought to move it.  Have a talk with a bishopric member and see what you learn.  You may be able to find a solution in your ward that will benefit everyone.

Okay, readers, here is today’s question:

Would you please ask your readers with nonmember spouses to share their thoughts on having a happy family and meeting the spiritual needs of husband, wife, and children?  Two of my sons are married to women of different faiths, and both have young children.  Any suggestions would be welcome.

Susan

Readers, Susan and her sons need your help.  How do you thrive spiritually in a house that is potentially divided?  Please send your responses to [email protected]Do not use the form on this page, because it will more than likely lose your letter!  But do write in.  Susan needs to hear from you.

Until next week – Kathy

“Religion is to do right. It is to love, it is to serve, it is to think, it is to be humble.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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