Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why "Gospel Doctrine Underground"?

I never really wanted to start a blog. I like reading Mormon blogs, but I have never wanted to “blog” myself. This is true for at least a couple of reasons. First, I am not really an open person, and have had no desire to share my innermost thoughts with world. Second, I have always assumed that a blog is a lot of work and I am busy and, well, kind of lazy.

But, I was recently called to teach Sunday School in my ward. I was glad for this calling, because like to teach. I like putting together talks and lessons. I like discussing the gospel and the Church. I like talking about what the scriptures mean, and what Church leaders think and say. I like thinking about and talking about what it means to be a Latter-day Saint and how the gospel applies in our everyday lives. That is probably the main reason that I like the bloggernacle so much. In some ways, it is like an ongoing gospel doctrine class - the most interesting, participatory and wide-ranging gospel doctrine class that you have ever been to.

And that is sort of the problem - - or at least the reason I decided to start this blog. Gospel doctrine class is not always that interesting. Mine included. As I searched the web for blogs to help me prepare my lessons, I never found one that felt like home. There are some really great blogs out there, but not exactly what I was looking for. As much as I like a good discussion about the Church and its doctrine, I would not really call myself a scriptorian or gospel scholar. I am interested in and think I have a pretty good understanding of Church history - - the stuff that makes it through the correlation committee, and the stuff that doesn’t. But I am not really a historian. I guess what I am is someone who is pretty serious and informed about the gospel, but who enjoys discussion of diverse opinions on gospel topics. Opinions and topics that not everyone in your ward would always be comfortable with. The bloggernacle generally provides that for me. Gospel doctrine websites and gospel doctrine classes - - not so much.

I like to think I take my role as a Sunday School teacher pretty seriously. I have been called to teach the doctrine and (this year especially) the history of the LDS Church in an orthodox, official way. I focus on the text of the scriptures I am teaching. I rely, too, on other materials provided in the manual. That said, I rarely follow the lesson as outlined. Instead, I try to understand the concepts that the Church thinks are important. I try to understand what I think about them myself. I think about what interests me about those topics. How do they work for me in my life? What do I wonder about? What do I not understand? Although I generally try to follow the counsel not use non-official materials in my lesson, I am not rigid about it. I will occasionally sneak stuff in from other authors or sources if I think they are interesting. Some of the stuff I think about and ponder definitely would not make it through the correlation committee, and that stuff (almost) never makes it into my lesson. But I like thinking about it and batting it around. I spend a lot of time thinking about questions that will generate good comments. The comments, in my opinion, make the class.

So, this blog is a place for Gospel Doctrine teachers and students who want to think about their lessons a little more. I hope it will be a place for really good discussions about what the gospel means in the everyday lives of people. I don’t expect that every idea expressed here will be “Gospel Doctrine Appropriate” - - I hope that the ideas will be a lot more free-ranging than that. In fact, with few exceptions, I don’t think any thought or opinion about the scriptures or the gospel should be off limits. On the other hand, derogatory or disrespectful comments about the Church or its leaders are not welcome. This really is a site for people who are seriously studying and trying to live the gospel in a sincere (if not completely main stream) way. In that sense, the name “Gospel Doctrine Underground” is hyperbole. I anticipate that this blog will be a little unorthodox and free-thinking, but will be for those who believe. Along the same lines, comments that are unkind toward or disrespectful of other commenters are not appropriate.

So, I am going to try to get something up soon on lesson 3. Or maybe 4. Like I said, I am pretty busy and pretty lazy. I look forward to your thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. I can see we view the gospel similarly. The one big difference, is that I started my blog after I got released as gospel doctrine teacher, not at the beginning.

    I look forward to your blog, and hope we can bat some ideas around.


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