Sunday School Honors?

Something that critics of the LDS Church, both those on the inside and on the outside, like to say is that the Church doesn’t openly teach what it “really” believes.  They accuse the Church of hiding the truth about its more challenging doctrines and history behind a facade of bland pablum.

I could easily argue the problems with this view: that church materials and General Conference talks are actually deeper than many suppose, and that the church does nothing to hide anything related to it and even facilitates such research far more than people give it credit for (Some critics like to “shock” Mormons by revealing that Joseph and Hyrum Smith  defended themselves with pistols when attacked in Carthage Jail; the Mormon church is so scared of this fact and works so hard to cover it up that the pistols in question are on display in their official history museum, at Temple Square, free and open to the public).

Besides, if church-produced materials are so facile, I suppose I could quiz you on them and you’d know them all backwards and forwards.  Wait, what?  You mean you haven’t really squeezed every drop out of them yet?

Or consider this: the textbook used in church history classes is already an oversized monster and more than 600 pages long.  You don’t think the Church is trying hard enough to teach people about its history?  Good grief, just how much longer do you want that book to be?

But I think the biggest flaw with this criticism is that it simply isn’t the Church’s job to make sure that everybody everywhere knows everything about it.  The Church’s job, according to its own leadership handbook, is to “assist in His work to bring to pass the salvation and exaltation of His children….The programs and activities of the Church…. include helping members live the gospel of Jesus Christ, gathering Israel through missionary work, caring for the poor and needy, and enabling the salvation of the dead by building temples and performing vicarious ordinances.”

And that’s already a big enough bite to chew.  The Church has enough on its hands just getting people to understand the basics of the gospel and encouraging them to live decently.  Consider that we recently finished a two-year course of study in remediation based on the simplest manual the Church produces.  Clearly, we need to focus on the fundamentals.

But maybe you’re above that.  Maybe you think you deserve to be in some kind of Sunday School Honors class.  Fine.

It already exists.  It’s an independent study course.  Maybe start here.  Go nuts.  I hope it makes you a more satisfied and productive disciple.

But don’t blame the Church for not living up to your vision of what and how it should teach.  It has better things to do.  So should you.

One comment on “Sunday School Honors?

  1. Hear, hear.

    I often cringe when I see the kinds of “attacks” that claim that “the Church is hiding its history from its members”. So I’m sure all white members of the Southern Baptist convention know that their last white-only congregation caved in just last year? And all Roman Catholics know that European Anti-Semitism is mostly due to their attacks against Jews? And all Lutherans know that Luther was a rabid anti-Semite?

    Joseph Smith was probably right, or at least is now, that

    No man knows my history

    and one of these days we may even agree as to what he meant with that phrase. Hmm. Ideas?

    Perhaps Gospel Principles is a bit bland, though. But at least it leaves lots of room for private interpretation… :D

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