Thursday, May 17, 2007

Presenting papers in Sunday School

In the age of correlation where emphasis is placed on following manuals and not deviating from lesson materials, it is interesting to compare today's approach to a century ago.  In the current Relief Society/Priesthood Manual it has this warning 'The Lord has commanded that we teach "none other things than that which the prophets and apostles have written"', and then states: "Do not set this book aside or prepare lessons from other materials." 

A friend just passed this on to me.  In the 1908 Parent and Child Sunday School  manual, "Parent and Child:  A Series of Essays and Lessons for use in the Parents' Department of the Latter-day Saints Sunday School,"  published by the Deseret Sunday School Union, the Introduction states:

"In publishing the following Essays and Lessons for use in the Parents' Classes of the Sunday Schools of the Church, it is not the intention of the Deseret Sunday School Union Board to discontinue the method heretofore recommended, of having some member of the respective classes introduce each subject by presenting an original paper or giving a short talk as a basis for the subsequent discussion on the subject."

They seemed  to have a much more open approach, encouraging members to "present a paper" on the topic, followed by class discussion on that topic.  Things have changed since then.

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