The seminary manual states its goal is to:
“…help youth and young adults understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ, qualify for the blessings of the temple, and prepare themselves, their families, and others for eternal life with their Father in Heaven.”
A solid statement of belief. They plan to do this via
“teach[ing] students the doctrines and principles of the gospel as found in the scriptures and the words of the prophets.”
My stated goal is to help members understand an honest view of history, both in favor of the church’s current positions as well as against them, based on the kind of historical scrutiny such a manual would undergo if not produced by a religion. In short, if it were actually taught in a classroom, or handed in by a student to a history class. Yes, that’s a pretty low bar, but still that’s the level that I’ve determined.
My thought process is that the membership in the church should at least demand from its church education system a standard as low as what a middle or high school student is expected to turn in.
Now I don’t know, going into this, how much they’ve cleaned up from the previous version of the CES manuals. It’s possible they’ll pass this test with flying colors. I’ll do it one lesson at a time. I suspect some lessons won’t be too bad, while other, older ones, will be plagued with issues.
The manual further states:
The First Presidency has called upon parents, teachers, and leaders to “help youth learn the gospel by their own study and faith, to discover the truthfulness of the gospel for themselves, and to strengthen their families and others by sharing their experiences, insights, and testimony.” Doing so will help them follow the path that “will lead them to conversion” (Teaching the Gospel in the Savior’s Way , 2).
I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine if the whitewashing, lack of citations, dependence on single sources, and other tactics I expect to be used is really the best method to accomplish the above stated goal.
The curriculum for each organization is designed to help the youth deepen their understanding and testimony of the gospel and learn how to teach it to others.
Please note, they are taking a testimony-building centered focus, rather than a “historical understanding” focus, but they also expect these ideas presented to be taught to others. If they are knowingly deceiving the children, they expect the children to take those ideas and deceive others. If they are teaching truth, they expect truth to be taught. This intent magnifies the right or wrong of what is taught.
It is with that in mind that I hope that these individuals prepared these lessons with at least a middle to high school student’s worth of research put into them.