Whither a Soapbox?

[ 3 ] Comments

by Michaela

(cc) JSmith Photo

About four years ago, I noticed as I studied the scriptures, I would learn things so precious to me that I wanted to share them in Sunday school class when we covered those portions.  I’m not quite sure why it was so important to me to share those things; I just knew that if those things helped me understand, they would help others too.

In Sunday school, I would look forward in anticipation to the moment when that particular block of verses would come up in discussion so that I could share what I had learned.  However, I soon learned that far too often the time was taken on other verse blocks and the opportunity for me to share never arose.  This was disappointing, but I was not discouraged.  I just went looking for other possible venues to share.  (I don’t have kids, so no easy victims there.  My husband listens kindly, but an audience of one seems so limited!)

I tried the Ensign a little bit, but they didn’t bite, whether it was because my writing was too lengthy, too badly done, or too “out there,” I never quite knew.  It was at this point that I conceived the idea of becoming a seminary teacher (or institute teacher).  I supposed that since seminary classes met each weekday, they could go in a little more depth than Sunday school classes.  I thought that surely I could find some way there of sharing the things I had learned.

When I took seminary preservice classes, I was told some interesting things that clarified for me how church curriculum and CES curriculum is set up.  I learned that the church designed it so that every four years, members at every age would go through the entire standard works and cover the basic principles of the gospel.  I learned that the church knows there is only a limited amount of time in classes, so the decision was made to focus on basic foundational principles so that members can at least gain the fundamentals.

What does this tell us?  This means that we can’t say that we will learn everything we need to know at church.  It means that we can’t say that something never (or hardly ever) discussed in church is not a legitimate principle.  It means that if we are not doing our own reading and our own studying, we won’t get beyond the basics.  We need the basics, but we need more too.  And going back to the basics for a review helps us best when we have been learning more.

I am grateful that the church has designed its curriculum the way it has because of how well-rounded it is.  And I am also grateful that I can blog because it gives me an outlet to share many things I’ve learned from my own study of the scriptures.

I also learned that seminary/institute curriculum was flexible with plenty to teach, but that I was expected to stick to it.  In preparing for my student teaching sessions, I found that I was far too often frustrated because I was torn between duty to teach the curriculum (of which there was more than sufficient to cover the time) and my desire to share my own thoughts and insights.  It was a near constant internal war with myself every time I had to prepare a lesson.  This didn’t make for peace of mind, I can tell you.  I learned a ton, but it wasn’t necessarily sharable according to curriculum.  Ultimately, it is probably a good thing I was not chosen to teach seminary or institute.  It meant my blogging could continue, and it meant I didn’t have a constant war of duty-to-curriculum versus desire-to-share-extra going on.

I am also grateful for the internet because of all the people that share their thoughts about the scriptures; it means that it is possible to seek out more knowledge and perspective.  Sometimes revelation comes in the process of seeking and studying the matter out with as many perspectives as you can find.  Sometimes we find out a passage has meaning for us when we read (or hear) how it has meaning for others.

  • How have you been benefited by sharing your perspective of gospel principles in church classes and online?
  • Do you or have you in the past sometimes found yourself overflowing with things to share without time or a place to share them?

About Michaela

Michaela (Scriptorium Blogorium) is a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool BYU Cougar who just happened to finish her degree at Arizona State University in Literature, Writing, and Film. She loves reading, writing, studying the scriptures, singing with the primary kids as chorister, helping people organize and de-clutter their stuff, and generally exuding enthusiasm for the simple pleasures and victories of life. She’s an honorary member of the elder’s quorum moving company and aspires to become many things, one of which is a good cook. She blogs at Scriptorium Blogorium and a few other places too..

3 Responses to Whither a Soapbox?

  1. Paul says:

    I love to teach, and I tend to overprepare. So whenever I teach, I never get to all the thoughts that have come to me while studying.

    And for that reason, I love to write (as do most bloggers, I suppose). I have asked myself whether this is simply hubris or if there is some larger purpose. Because my personal approach is to write from my own experience, without feeling like I’m imposing it on others, I tell myself the act of writing is another form of study for me, a means of directing my thoughts. If someone else benefits along the way, terrific.

    I do feel that I need to be a bit careful in the “public square” so to speak. As I say here and on my own blog, I don’t write for the church, but I will write in favor of it. I would hate to have someone read what I think and take it as gospel truth (not that I believe anyone would). I’m hopeful that others do as I do: read and ponder and pray. If I encounter new ideas, new perspectives or new truths as I read, I try to sort out how they fit with what I already know, and what the Lord has taught through his prophets and the scriptures.

    The prophet Joseph expressed that he believed that all members could be “prophets” in that we all could have revelation for our own lives and have gospel truth distill on us. In that light, I believe the open sharing of those ideas is appropriate and helpful in continuing the gospel conversation as we do here at Real Intent.

    Sorry for the long response. I suppose you’ve hit a nerve with your post… That’s a good thing. ;-)

  2. loraine says:

    I love to hear of others experience with scripture and our efforts to incorporate it into our lives, and I’m comfortable with the idea that I may disagree or do differently. I’m also a big sharer-to a fault.I’m beginning to learn that my stuff is my stuff and is part of my process. But there are overarching principals, and I appreciate the curriculum for keeping the likes of me on track, and actually for keeping me humble.

  3. Lisa says:

    I do enjoy what others have to say about the gospel and verses and the interpretation thereof, but I am reluctant to share, myself. I’m lacking in the scriptural self-esteem….I’m so worried someone is going to call me out. I’m so grateful for the gospel and the church curriculum. It really facilitates me having the epiphany moments every once in a while.

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