“We all know the story of…”

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I cringe when I hear those words at church.

?Ǭ†Usually, they are spoken by a Gospel Doctrine teacher when introducing a topic .?Ǭ† I’m sure on any given Sunday, those words are mentioned a couple dozen times in any average ward.

The reason why I cringe is mostly because of my dear wife.?Ǭ† She joined the church after her 18th birthday.?Ǭ† She had very little exposure to the gospel before that.?Ǭ† Her knowlege of things taught in primary could probably fit in a large thimble (ok, well, she?Ǭ†probably knows more than she lets on, but it’s nowhere near what us BIC’ers have encountered).?Ǭ† Usually after a lesson in which those words are mentioned, she asks me about the story that the teacher was referring to.?Ǭ† I do my best to explain it.?Ǭ† She usually mentiones something like “well, knowing that would have helped to make sense of the lesson”.

?Ǭ†Another variant is the phrase “We all know…”.?Ǭ† This one is even worse.?Ǭ† It’s not just a story, but usually some cultural church practice or perhaps some meaty chunk of doctrine.?Ǭ† The instructor usually glosses over the important parts and dives right into his / her analysis, leaving my poor wife in the dust.

?Ǭ†I’ve noticed it’s lessons or discussions / talks like this that make church services so unplesant for my wife.?Ǭ† After a consecutive string of Sunday’s like this, she usually?Ǭ†wants?Ǭ†a break and we all take a rest from going to church.

I guess what really baffles me is the fact that we are suppose to be a missionary minded church.?Ǭ† We are suppose to be ‘inviting others to Christ’, but when they get here, we treat them as if they’ve been here all along and end up frustraing the heck out of them.

7 thoughts on ““We all know the story of…”

  1. Excellent point. When teaching, I try to approach the scenario by saying “This reminds me of the story when…” and then tell the story myself. I figure that if I can’t tell it myself, then there are probably several others who either don’t know it, or don’t know it well enough to draw the comparison I’d like.

  2. JM,

    While I simpathise with your wife, I wonder why you would use that as an excuse to stay away from Church, rather than using your knowledge to teach her. I don’t think a gospel doctrine teacher has the responsibility to always fill in the blanks. . . it just might be more a reflection of what’s going on inside you.

  3. Well larry,

    If you read my entire post, you would have noticed that I indeed do use what little knowledge I have to try to teach her and fill in the blanks.

    Regarding what’s going on inside of me, do we really want to get into that again?

    The point I’m trying to make is this. If we are a missionary minded church, hoping to bring non-believers into the fold, why do we give them so little consideration in our meetings and classes?

  4. a good thing for all of us to remember when teaching or speaking, isn’t it wonderful how our unique experiences enable us to share with each other

  5. JM,

    Gospel Doctrine is not Gospel Essentials. At the same time your response does confuse me a little. You make the claim about the “little I know” and yet you feel comfortable not sustaining (your other blog)and you are at ease criticizing Gospel doctrine teachers.
    I understand your frustration with respect to some teaching methods, but I can assure you that no one is more frustrated than the teacher themselves. They go home every week knowing how inadequate their teaching is.
    That does not remove the responsibility that you have as the Priesthood holder in your home, with the degree of awareness that you have, to increase your study and level of understanding, so that your wife feels enriched, and not motivated to escape Church every few weeks.
    I’m not saying this to be hypercritical of you, but rather to assist in making you aware that others have travelled that same road you are on. Some looked inside and changed, others continued to blame others for their dissatisfaction with the Church and the way it runs and became observers, not enjoying the rich blessing that comes from being involved.

  6. I don’t see this as a criticism of the church but rather a reflection of human nature. Most of us are more inclined to be considerate of somebody’s needs if we have been in their shoes, otherwise it’s easy to forget even if we don’t mean to be insensitive.

    Thus a gospel doctrine teacher who is a convert will likely be more sensitive to converts in the class, but the BIC-er will inadvertantly forget that there are some who do not have the same knowledge base.

    There are examples of this in all aspects of life, not just church. And of course, some people are more talented at noticing the needs of others and their situations.

    So I think JM has a point about human awareness in general. I think most teachers would feel bad if they realised their oversight, and want to do their best, so it would be nice if their was a tactful and non-hurtful way to introduce this as a priority in their teaching style.

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