Activity: Self-Assessment Survey
I actually kind of like this approach. Helping the student take an assessment of their current interest level isn’t a bad idea. Note, the manual clearly states that the results should not be reported. Remember that Blue-eyes/Brown-eyes from last week, yeah, that could really impact student-teacher interactions if this trust is broken.
invite them to ponder during the lesson how they might improve their scripture study.
This is where we start to differ. There is only one “right answer” at the end of the exercise.
The scriptures contain the words of Christ and are a reservoir of living water to which we have ready access and from which we can drink deeply and long. …
I would love to have studies that back this up. I’ve seen a few studies about religion making people happier, but a “reservoir of living water”; what exactly does that do for the student. This is a non-answer to the survey response. Where does “The Scriptures are a reservoir of living water” fit on that survey scale? It just seems deep, but really we could say it about well almost anything.
“Cosmos is a reservoir of living water, I can access on Netflix and drink deeply and long from”.
Poetic, but not really saying much other than the speaker likes the medium and message of the work. But Bednar actually compares it to a life-threatening situation: thirst or dehydration. I want you to go outside or to a mall and look around and see all kinds of people who live without this water. Either, they are magic beings amazing powers you should be like, or this water isn’t actually essential
In fact, I bet any seminary student can ask the teacher “Have you ever had a period where you didn’t read the scriptures daily”. Oh the teacher will say any amount of “it was a harder time” or “I felt worse”, but what you should see is that this isn’t really a thirst/dehydration situation. They are making the need more extreme than it really is.
What defines “The Scriptures”
Does the Quoran/Koran count as scripture to Bednar? How about the Tao te Ching? What about Joseph Smith’s King Follett Discourse? What about Brigham’s discourses where he says that killing mixed race couples is the Law of the Lord?
There’s a trick here, they are changing the “living water” all the time, aren’t they? Sometimes they include everything the prophet says. Sometimes The Ensign is included. Sometimes the water is pretty rancid and they just declassify it as water.
What did they understand that we should also understand
This is a fascinating video taken from a talk by D. Todd Christopherson. the reason the video is fascinating is that it’s about William Tyndale, a rebel to the religious authority. He wanted the bible to be in the hands of all the people, while the religious authority wanted to withhold the bible. In this example I am more like William Tyndale than they are. D. Todd Christopherson and Bednar are the religious authority who are locking away religious truth, while I’m out there blogging the church’s true history, the real reactions, what the scriptures and context really say.
Ask you students: Why do you think people made such great sacrifices to have access to the scriptures?
Because of withholding information that was seen as vital. This happened with Galileo, this happened with people outside of the religious construct; over and over it is the restriction of information that is key. Twisting this to be a pro-LDS correlated structure is disrespectful to William Tyndale.
Let’s look at an Example where the LDS authority was dead wrong: Hemuth Heubner
He resisted the Nazis and spoke up when his Stake President put “no Jews” on the church building. He was excommunicated by the church and executed by the Nazis.
Ask your fellow students what similarity you see between Heubner and Tyndale. Contrast them with D. Todd Christopherson and David Bednar.
Why do you think some people in our day are not reading the scriptures as they should?
Offer to read the Letter to the CES Director to the class. When your teacher refuses to allow it, explain to your fellow students that your teacher is like the people in Tyndale’s story, controlling access to information. Just like they didn’t want people reading the bible, church leaders today don’t want members reading questions and history that challenges the narrative.
“Consider the magnitude of our blessing to have the Holy Bible and some 900 additional pages of scripture,
Ask your teacher why the Journal of Discourses is not included by D. Todd Christopherson as scripture.
Ask what other talks Joseph gave that are not included as scripture. Challenge your teacher to define scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants that seem unimportant, like 4 versions of the same mission call, or sections that are all about church law and rules that are not followed any more. Point out that Joseph implied the Song of Solomon in the bible was not inspired.
Ask how you can know true scripture from false scripture. Let your teacher know that you have prayed and don’t feel that Joseph gave us 900 pages of additional scripture, and that you are confused why a prophet would lie about new scripture.
If you’re not thrown out yet, I am surprised. If you are thrown out, you understand more about William Tyndale and his concerns than anyone who remained in the class. You have a deeper appreciation of information and access to that information; and that’s all scriptures are. Some of the information is valid (The Golden Rule, for example, I think is really quite good) and some of it isn’t. But restricting access to information, whether deemed as scripture by a religion or not, is a problem. It’s a problem that afflicts societies all around the world.
And that is what this lesson should have been all about. Access to information is “living water”, or more like access to caffeine, it gives those with access advantage over those without it. It wakes us up and makes us feel alive in ways we cannot otherwise reach.
Our need for the scriptures is greater today than in any previous time.
Our need for unfettered information is greater today than any previous time. Don’t restrict yourself to reading scriptures when you can read anything.