Excerpts of Can we please go back to priesthood manuals from 50 years ago? by Doug Gibson , Standard Examiner
I came across the 1960 Course of Study for the Melchizedek Priesthood Quorum. It's titled "Apostasy to Restoration," by T. Edgar Lyon. I borrowed the book, eager to compare today's vanilla-brand manuals with one a half-century old.
Reading "Apostasy to Restoration" is like unearthing ancient scripture. Did we actually have lessons like this 50 years ago, that discussed
- "the Absence of Mysticism in the Apostolic Christianity," or
- "the Fragments of Papias," or
- "Irenaues' Concept of the Ultimate Potential of Man," or
- "Christian Gnosticism," or
- "The Diocletian Persecution," or
- "Ambrose the Christian Statesman," or
- "the Contributions of Monasticism," or
- "Pope Leo the Great (440-464 A.D.), or
- "Reformation Trends in Switzerland" …?
Lyon's thesis from the University of Chicago was on early LDS apostle Orson Pratt. He eventually received a doctorate in history from the University of Utah and was president of the Mormon History Association in the 1970s. He died in 1978.
Lyon's book/manual is fascinating. I envy the Melchizedek Priesthood holders who used it in their classes 50 years ago. I look at the current manuals — sans author(s) name(s) — and while I'm OK with what's being taught I wish we could have a re-run of "Apostasy to Restoration." It must have been quite satisfying to learn something new in every lesson.