Come Follow Me

This is for discussions of the correlated lessons from Gospel Doctrine, Priesthood, and Relief Society.
Post Reply
User avatar
Jeffret
Posts: 743
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 6:49 pm

Come Follow Me

Post by Jeffret » Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:20 pm

I just saw this posted by a friend on Facebook: LDS Church Announces “Come, Follow Me” for Melchizedek Priesthood & Relief Society

It's been a long time since I've attended the Mormon Church. And a much longer time since I attended Melchizedek Priesthood meetings with any regularity. I had callings that kept me from MP for many years. In fact being expected to attend SS and MP lessons was partially what finally drove me out. Other than those two painful weeks, the only time I recall attending MP or SS was 17 years ago. That one is memorable because we moved into a new ward, the first Sunday we attended the EQ instructor failed to show up, and so I volunteered to teach it. I taught about Jesus and ignored the manual. When I told my wife afterwards she wasn't surprised. I pretty much missed the entire "Teachings of the Prophets" sequence, which satisfied me just fine.

Back to my point, though. This new curriculum plan sounds deadly dull.

I thought the "Teachings of the Prophets" was dull and terribly difficult to teach from way back when it started. I missed out on the newer pattern, something about studying a GC address once a month, I think.

But, this one sounds awful to try and teach. And dull as can be. In LostGirl's summary from Education Week, Robert Millett stated that the Church isn't about teaching meat, but only milk. This plan seems to be taking it to a whole new level, watering down milk to where there is barely any nutrients left. And a potential for expanding problematic ward gossip further. It seems like it will continue to bore people and fail to keep them engaged and interested.

I also saw a comment that this follows a similar pattern as has been used in teaching the youth the last few years. It seems like that might help drive more of them away, though perhaps at least the younger youth might be more receptive to some of this stuff.

I'm curious about any experiences with the youth version of this plan. Or what others, particularly who are still engaged, think. Does this sound like more of the same? Or is it increasingly duplicative and dull? Any reason to be excited or hopeful for this?

This seems to be a far cry from the original "out of the best books" admonition, which had some successful implementation when my parents were young. Or even from the days when I was a young adult and taught MP regularly.
"Close your eyes, for your eyes will only tell the truth,
And the truth isn't what you want to see" (Charles Hart, "The Music of the Night")

User avatar
Corsair
Posts: 2246
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:58 am
Location: Phoenix

Re: Come Follow Me

Post by Corsair » Fri Aug 25, 2017 3:32 pm

My cynical guess is that the "Teachings of the Prophets" series caused too many members to investigate the source of many of the messages: The Dreaded Journal of Discourses. Despite the best efforts of the Correlation Committee, there are still hints of issues in those manuals.

Apparently it's not enough to have sacrament meeting talks drawn from general conference talks. Now we will get Priesthood and Relief Society lessons from recent conference addresses. This lets the Correlation Committee have double filtering on the messages. It will be up to the undercover unbelievers and closted heretics among us to bring out the most challenging issues during the third hour of church going forward.

User avatar
Jeffret
Posts: 743
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 6:49 pm

Re: Come Follow Me

Post by Jeffret » Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:29 pm

When they first announced the "Teachings of the Prophets" series I was kind of excited. Brigham Young wrote or said a lot of stuff. While some of it isn't in favor these days or is problematic, there are still some really cool ideas in there for possible study. When I found out they were basing it mostly out of "Discourse of Brigham Young" I was disheartened. I had tried to read that before and it's just a series of quotes, all taken out of context. It's not a matter of eliminating anything controversial; it's been so thin that no coherent thought remains. There is no structure, no progression or connection of ideas. Unfortunately, the lesson manual only exacerbated that. It took a pretty talented teacher to make something interesting out of those lessons, mostly by substantially ignoring the manual.

In the "Come Follow Me" series, if they use whole talks, there might at least be some level of coherence and connection of thought. But, they are written as talks and not as lessons. The purpose and audience are different. And it sounds like they get so overtrod, even before this curriculum.
"Close your eyes, for your eyes will only tell the truth,
And the truth isn't what you want to see" (Charles Hart, "The Music of the Night")

User avatar
nibbler
Posts: 310
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:12 pm

Re: Come Follow Me

Post by nibbler » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:10 am

Warning: rant ahead.

The only reason they stopped with the Teachings of the Presidents manuals was because they ran out of church presidents. If Monson had died earlier in the year or any time before that we'd have a Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Thomas S. Monson manual for 2018.

I should be grateful that they didn't follow the Sunday School model of, "We're out of material, what do we do?" "I don't know." "Wait, I know. Lets reuse the same material we've been using for 20 years." I guess it's proof that god is still a god of miracles that we aren't starting the Teachings of the Presidents series over from the beginning in 2018. :roll:

But seriously, the guys in charge of church curriculum are the laziest people in the church. Produce material for SS and rest on that achievement for two decades. What about the 3rd hour? They managed to coast on one stroke of creativity (let's revisit general conference talks of each of the presidents of the church) for two decades... except those two years where they broke from that model to go through a nearly 40 year old gospel principles manual during the 3rd hour.

So now that they've reached the end of their creativity rope by running out of church presidents to poach general conference talks from what do they do? New material? Oh no, producing new material would mean they would have to come back from the church's hunting preserve to do some actual work. Just get the members to review conference talks! Problem solved, now let's go back to doing whatever it is we're supposed to do.

Lazy. Lazy to the extreme. A billion dollar company and they put just north of zero effort into the teaching materials. The church can do better.

Outside of policies that do people actual harm the 3 hour block is the worst thing about the church. It's like someone in charge heard the phrase "endure to the end" and took it as a challenge. It doesn't mean endure hardship when they come, it means create hardships to endure so let's make Sunday as absolutely soul crushingly boring as possible, then when people stop showing up we'll find fault in them, tell them that it's their duty to attend these meetings.

This isn't a "new" program for PH/RS. This is the same old, same old. Only the names have changed. After you've attended about 2 years of lessons at church you've heard it all.

Sacrament: talks based on general conference talks.
Sunday School: the same lesson you've heard if you've attended church for more than 6 months.
PH/RS: More general conference talks.

Here's an idea for the correlation department. Dispense with ANY variability at the local level by making the curriculum be: show up to church and watch general conference reruns for 3 hours.

I know it's different for the orthodox member but general conference is just about the most onerous aspect of the church these days. Thanks for making it an every Sunday experience. :roll: :roll:
We see things not as they are, but as we are ourselves. - H.M. Tomlinson

User avatar
Hermey
Posts: 266
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 11:32 pm

Re: Come Follow Me

Post by Hermey » Sat Aug 26, 2017 7:47 am

First Sunday: Ward Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society leaders will lead a discussion to identify local needs and counsel together about how to meet those needs. This could include how to accomplish responsibilities such as member missionary work, convert retention, activation of less-active members, temple and family history work, and teaching the gospel. Other topics might be how to improve communication with family members, serve in the community, or mentor youth in the ward. In subsequent meetings, members follow up on impressions and actions. Rather than just discussing such issues in the ward council, now all members of the Relief Society and quorums can participate in developing solutions and accomplishing the work.
As if Ward Council and PEC meetings weren't enough of a gossip fest already. :lol: Let's get together and subconsciously put some group fear into people about stepping out of line. Don't do what we think you should be doing and you get to become the next week's topic of the group discussion. :shock:

User avatar
Emower
Posts: 860
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:35 pm

Re: Come Follow Me

Post by Emower » Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:25 am

I think the reason these guys are lazy is because they are not allowed to write a curriculum. I mean, no one can pin down what doctrine is, so why go down that dangerous road of putting pen to paper in a lesson manual? Better to use material already vetted by some committee and possibly lawyers that has already entered into the church ecosystem in the form of general conference. On the other weeks give it up to open ended member directed speculation which the leadership can disavow easily in the future. It's not laziness, it's careful self preservation. This is perfect. It is a much better system the the teachings of the prophets where members could follow up on where that was said, how it was said, in what context, and what other crazy stuff did that crackpot say? This could be really good in an open, intellectual ward. It will be awful in 99% of our wards which are closed minded, often somewhat racist, clueless, and apathetic.

ulmite
Posts: 139
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:28 pm

Re: Come Follow Me

Post by ulmite » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:13 pm

♪ Come, follow me, ♪
♪ The Q15 said ♪

- The idea for first Sundays sounds like a good idea, for an ideal ward (then again, what doesn't). It could be used to share actual real useful practical knowledge as opposed to just talking about doing it. Maybe having the ward brainstorm good service projects will lead to good service projects. Maybe not.
- Ugh, more GC! My local leadership already tends to give all 3 speakers the SAME talk, so ugh.
- This is nothing like the YM/YW new program. The youth version is one theme per month (Godhead, plan of salvation, chastity, priesthood, ...) and who cares whether the topic can or can't stretch out over 4-5 weeks. And oh, yeah, the themes for each month repeat EVERY YEAR. You get the same material (minor updates from recent conference talks) for 6 years straight.

User avatar
Give It Time
Posts: 1196
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:52 pm

Re: Come Follow Me

Post by Give It Time » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:19 am

I was pleased to hear of the change. Any of the feedback about how the Come Follow Me curriculum has worked has been from active members and they like it. They're teachers, though. I don't know how it is to be in the receiving end.

I'm sure the reason they moved away from the prophets series is because it does open the possibility to investigate source material. I did this when I was a Primary teacher trying to liven up the lessons. Not a good idea.

I know we do a lot of harping around here on how modern prophets throw dead prophets under the bus. I know we do a lot of harping on here about GA worship and I do see that as a major problem with this program. However, i may be wrong, but I see modern-day revelation as important to keeping the church current. Joseph Smith did, as well. Heck, the man threw his own prophecies and ideas under the bus, he just phrased it abusively. The church needs to change. A lot. If the church is to have any hope of becoming sensitive, loving, accepting, more equal, we're going to have to let this rusting, creaking machine grease it's gears and move forward.

If the church wants to move forward, then it will take a certain amount of abandoning the old ways and that means abandoning what those past prophets said. I know. I know. Oaks. Bednar. Nuf said. But still possible going forward.
At 70 years-old, my older self would tell my younger self to use the words, "f*ck off" much more frequently. --Helen Mirren

User avatar
Jeffret
Posts: 743
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 6:49 pm

Re: Come Follow Me

Post by Jeffret » Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:58 am

One of the aspects my friend really liked wasn't about the curriculum per se, but the newer teaching style directives. As he explained it, the new teaching style is more based around meaningful class discussions and less around covering every single point in the lesson manual. He said that's he's often been more concerned with making sure his class covered everything in the manual, than making sure the students were learning and growing.

To me that seems totally obvious. Way back when I was a student at BYU, I was Elder's Quorum instructor for a good while in our married student ward. I felt my job was to extract some useful aspects from the lesson that could be applicable to our situations and lead a meaningful, enlightening discussion about them. The other teacher I alternated with for a while commented once to me that I seemed to always get the class to teach the lesson for me -- he was impressed. It takes more preparation to do that as a general rule. I would prepare by sifting through the manual for useful stuff, making notes, and then finding other ideas to tie in. I'd go to class with a stack of books, marked with other points to bring up if it turned out to be useful. You have to over-prepare in this format, because you never know exactly what you'll need. Many times I didn't use the other books at all, but sometimes I'd turn to them for a point to lead the discussion somewhere or get it started. If you're just reading from a manual, you can get by just reading through it once, if that.

One of the last classes I taught before leaving was a Primary class for ages 7. The curriculum for the year was supposedly NT, but as with most Church stuff, it only used the theme as launching point for whatever they really wanted to cover. I discarded most of the lesson and tried to really teach them something about the NT and Jesus that might be interesting and useful to them.

Maybe this shows why I'm no longer in the Church. Even way back when I was a believer I didn't just do what I was told. I tried to find ways to make it meaningful rather than institutional.
"Close your eyes, for your eyes will only tell the truth,
And the truth isn't what you want to see" (Charles Hart, "The Music of the Night")

User avatar
Jeffret
Posts: 743
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 6:49 pm

Re: Come Follow Me

Post by Jeffret » Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:59 am

Give It Time wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:19 am
I was pleased to hear of the change. Any of the feedback about how the Come Follow Me curriculum has worked has been from active members and they like it. They're teachers, though. I don't know how it is to be in the receiving end.
Give It Time, what do your friends say about the curriculum? Do they say why they like it? Or what is good about it?
"Close your eyes, for your eyes will only tell the truth,
And the truth isn't what you want to see" (Charles Hart, "The Music of the Night")

User avatar
Corsair
Posts: 2246
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:58 am
Location: Phoenix

Re: Come Follow Me

Post by Corsair » Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:38 am

Jeffret wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:58 am
One of the aspects my friend really liked wasn't about the curriculum per se, but the newer teaching style directives. As he explained it, the new teaching style is more based around meaningful class discussions and less around covering every single point in the lesson manual. He said that's he's often been more concerned with making sure his class covered everything in the manual, than making sure the students were learning and growing.
Here is my favorite Noam Chomsky quote that springs to mind:
Noam Chomsky wrote:The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum—even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.
In the coming year we will see just how much discussion the LDS church will actually allow in theory and in practice in this new "Come Follow Me" curriculum.

User avatar
nibbler
Posts: 310
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:12 pm

Re: Come Follow Me

Post by nibbler » Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:44 am

Directive or no directive, it mostly depends on the instructor. Some teachers are going to get up there and ask participants to read the lesson paragraph by paragraph. It's what happens when you call someone that has no desire to teach lessons, or even a fear of teaching lessons. Where there's no passion on the part of the instructor the directives will likely give way to habits. The conscription model doesn't exactly lend itself to producing quality lessons and I'm not convinced that the goal of SS and PH/RS is to have quality lessons. The goal feels more like "obligation to teach fulfilled."

Reading paragraph by paragraph from a manual of historic conference addresses vs. reading paragraph by paragraph from the most recent conference addresses... I'm not feeling the change. But again, it depends more on the instructor.

Maybe requiring instructors to sit in another round of Teaching in the Savior's Way will help people adhere to a new directive. Teaching in the Savior's Way, you know, that class where people read a manual paragraph by paragraph so they can learn how to teach lessons in the church.

On the material:
2017: Teachings of the Presidents: GBH
2016: Teachings of the Presidents: HWH
2015: Teachings of the Presidents: ETB

and if they were to do another presidents manual the only one that was left was TSM. All those guys are well within the living memories of most of the people attending PH/RS. The church still isn't in a position where they want to throw those guys under the bus. Heck, ETB became a renewed friggin' hero during the political debates in 2016.

So now we get the most recent conference addresses. I know the lessons will be different for orthodox members but for people at NOM... I see a pattern repeat where NOMs hope for change, start believing that there's a place for them at church, and then everything comes crashing back down to earth with a dozen or so hard line general conference addresses. Sure, there are a few talks, typically from DFU, that instill hope. I think your average PH/RS experience will depend largely on your ward/stake. Do they select the talks on love and being inclusive or will they favor the hard line talks about deference to authority.
Give It Time wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:19 am
However, i may be wrong, but I see modern-day revelation as important to keeping the church current.
It is... but who among the current leaders of the church is going to get up enough courage to start believing in modern day revelation again?
We see things not as they are, but as we are ourselves. - H.M. Tomlinson

User avatar
nibbler
Posts: 310
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:12 pm

Re: Come Follow Me

Post by nibbler » Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:57 am

Corsair wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:38 am
Here is my favorite Noam Chomsky quote that springs to mind:
Noam Chomsky wrote:The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum—even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.
In the coming year we will see just how much discussion the LDS church will actually allow in theory and in practice in this new "Come Follow Me" curriculum.
We're going to have lessons on conference talks so right away we're behind the 8 ball on having a discussion. The material is a talk. A talk is structured to be a one way lecture. The instructor will have to prepare and be deliberate to avoid making the presentation a one way lecture.

I feel that true discussions allow people to state disagreements. Something like what happens here when people live post during conference. People disagree. People even find aspects of some talks harmful. Will we have those conversations in our lessons? Unlikely. I think people are far too worried about their appearance or what peers will think if they disagree with people in positions of authority.
We see things not as they are, but as we are ourselves. - H.M. Tomlinson

User avatar
Give It Time
Posts: 1196
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:52 pm

Re: Come Follow Me

Post by Give It Time » Fri Sep 01, 2017 1:22 pm

Jeffret wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:59 am
Give It Time wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:19 am
I was pleased to hear of the change. Any of the feedback about how the Come Follow Me curriculum has worked has been from active members and they like it. They're teachers, though. I don't know how it is to be in the receiving end.
Give It Time, what do your friends say about the curriculum? Do they say why they like it? Or what is good about it?
They say they like how it doesn't let the youth sit back and be lectured at. They say it makes the youth think.

What I find a little scary is opening up what was originally reserved for the ward counsel for the entire ward. Did you see those topics? Every member a missionary, convert retention, re-activating the less active. Whoo boy!

This will get us away from strict correlation, a little bit, and will definitely expose the personality of a ward.

I agree with the concerns expressed throughout this thread. I think they are certainly probable while I state what is possible.

Where I find hope is in the tires and fourth Sundays. In addition to what I said above, It's one less reason to sit through conference. Boy howdy, we conference rehashing in SM talks, VT/HT lessons and now a doubling down in RS/PH. Now, when someone asks you if you watched conference, you can respond with complete confidence, "no need"!

The second place I find hope is in the instructions that we are to take the curriculum from the most recent General Conference. They didn't specify the rank or the gender of the speaker. Now that the Women's Meetings are now officially part of conference and not just the warm-up act for the rock stars, this opens up the very real possibility for a talk given by a woman to be the source talk for a priesthood lesson! I think I'll just hit the pause button on that thought and enjoy it, for awhile.
At 70 years-old, my older self would tell my younger self to use the words, "f*ck off" much more frequently. --Helen Mirren

User avatar
LostGirl
Posts: 207
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 7:43 pm

Re: Come Follow Me

Post by LostGirl » Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:04 pm

Here is my favorite Noam Chomsky quote that springs to mind:
Noam Chomsky wrote:
The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum—even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.
This describes very well what I feel was happening at education week.

User avatar
Corsair
Posts: 2246
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:58 am
Location: Phoenix

Re: Come Follow Me

Post by Corsair » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:07 am

LostGirl wrote:
Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:04 pm
Here is my favorite Noam Chomsky quote that springs to mind:
Noam Chomsky wrote:
The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum—even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.
This describes very well what I feel was happening at education week.
I appreciate your perspective on this. Your Education Week reports were fantastic.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest