As in years past, there are several Church-approved resources available to members, families and teachers for the gospel doctrine course of study. And all are meant to facilitate feasting upon the scriptures taught in Sunday School, which for 2004 is the Book of Mormon.
Along with the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ and other scriptures from the Standard Works, the other five resources to aid in studying and discussing the current gospel doctrine course of study include the following:
- The most recent conference talks.
- Book of Mormon Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual.
- Class Member Study Guide.
- Book of Mormon Video Presentations.
- Teaching, No Greater Call.
"We hope teachers and members will spend most of their class time reading and discussing the principles of the gospel that are taught in each chapter of the Book of Mormon," said David B. Marsh, manager of core curriculum in the Church's Curriculum Department. "We also hope they will couple those principles with the teachings of our modern-day prophets and apostles that are relevant to the principles the teacher decides to discuss.
"The other materials we provide are to be used as secondary resources to help members study the scriptures and organize what they will do in class. The Church web site and Church publications are also helpful resources."
Brother Marsh emphasized the "rigorous yet inspired process" Church curriculum manuals go through before approval for general Church use. "This development and correlation process helps ensure doctrinal accuracy. We discourage using sources that have not been approved by Church Correlation or the Brethren."
Continuing, Brother Marsh expressed the hope that teachers lead class discussions, rather than present lectures. "We hope every class is more than a presentation by one person," he said, referring to Doctrine and Covenants 88:122: "Appoint among yourselves a teacher, and let not all be spokesmen at once; but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all, and that every man may have equal privilege."
This classroom discussion should, then, be a catalyst, Brother Marsh said, to personal and family study of the Book of Mormon. "Now that we have youth ages 14 and up studying the same material, that facilitates a discussion in the home after Church," he added. "We would hope that parents would go home directly after Church and talk with their children about the things they are learning about the Book of Mormon."
The hope, Brother Marsh emphasized, is that through use of Church-approved materials, through well-rounded class discussion, and personal and family study that members will "rediscover the meaning of the full title of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ."
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