We’re almost at the end of January–the first month of a new curriculum year in the Church. It’s a good time to ask ourselves if we’re making the most of our study of the New Testament.
Many years ago, at the beginning of a curriculum year, Elder Carlos E. Asay wrote about the purposes of Church curriculum and the blessings of gospel study. (Carlos E. Asay, “For the Perfecting of the Saints: A Look at Church Curriculum“, Ensign, Jan. 1986, 14). He explained five ways we can take advantage of the Church’s instructional program. I summarize them below:
1. Understanding the premises upon which the curriculum is based. This will enable you to see purpose in the classes you attend and the materials you read. It will also enable you to harmonize more effectively personal, family, and quorum or class study. If you understand the purpose of something, you will generally be more inclined to become actively involved. Read the article referenced above to better understand the purposes behind the Church’s curriculum.
2. Becoming acquainted with the instructional resources provided by the Church. Many excellent teaching aids are available for family and classroom use, such as manuals, magazines, pictures, videos, and websites. But first and foremost among all the resources is the LDS edition of the scriptures. Here are sources to find out about new Church materials as they become available:
- LDS.org home page
- Church News and Events section of LDS.org (news.lds.org)
- LDSMediaTalk blog (LDSMediaTalk.com)
- Church News (LDSChurchNews.com)
- Mormon Times (MormonTimes.com)
- Church Public Affairs Newsroom (newsroom.lds.org) and the Newsroom blog (newsroom.lds.org/blog)
- Church Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and YouTube channels
3. Attending regularly the classes and activities sponsored by family, priesthood, and auxiliary groups. The Church curriculum has been correlated carefully; each course has its purpose and place. Lessons taught in Relief Society are associated with lessons taught in Sunday School. Both the Relief Society and Sunday School lessons have bearing upon that taught in the home. All are important and all should be received to have a balanced spiritual diet of gospel teachings.
4. Making your home a “real” learning center. A learning center is more than a collection of books and pencils and desks. It is a place where truth is cherished, honest inquiry encouraged, and uplifting dialogue exchanged in a congenial atmosphere. Some consider the teaching in the home complete if family home evening is held routinely. Actually, family home evening is only a part of the teaching that needs to take place if learning is to become centered in the home. Some very important teaching occurs when family members discuss a Sunday School lesson around the dinner table, when parents assist a child in preparing a talk or fulfilling an assignment, when someone seizes an opportunity to teach a spontaneous, practical lesson, and when all within the household take delight in reading a good book in some quiet corner.
5. Developing a genuine love for the scriptures. Much has been said about classes, courses of study, family activities, and other group-oriented aspects of Church curriculum. All of these are important. However, the central purpose of the curriculum is left unrealized unless individual members of the Church develop a genuine love for the scriptures. The Prophet Nephi declared: “My soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children. Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord.” (2 Ne. 4:15–16.) Is this not the real intent of all that is done in the Church through established programs of study?