Friday, July 20, 2012

Zion Is Unity Despite Differences: A Practical Example

I shared the following definition previously in a short post about Zion: 

Zion is unity despite differences.  

The following experience from my past illustrates this principle:

In one ward I attended long ago, two Gospel Doctrine classes were created - to accommodate the more liberal members and lower the tension in Gospel Doctrine. It was a fiasco, as it only served to polarize the ward officially along ideological lines.

The second class was disbanded, and, instead, various special classes were held - with an intentional mix of perspectives and a direct, clear mandate to listen to all viewpoints and seek to understand the topics as fully as possible. (Elder Wirthlin's analogy of the orchestra would be perfect, but it wasn't around that long ago.) That approach worked amazingly well, as it kind of forced people with different views to listen to each other in a smaller, more controlled environment.

It changed the ward significantly and was a piece of the effort that unified that ward in wonderful ways.

5 comments:

Matthew said...

"in a smaller, more controlled environment."

I would love to see more of this. I have a great EQ, about 10-15 guys that are there, and we have some great discussions with a wide variety of points of view.

SS is not as good, because there are close to 100 people, and while one can contribute comments, there is no room for any kind of real back and forth discussion. Additionally, in a group that large, only a few people are even able to contribute, and that tends to be more the "according to Elder McConkie" crowd, I think in part because everything more nuanced than that requires more explanation and discussion than is possible.

Small groups beat out large groups every single time, in terms of group dynamics, group cohesion and identity, and potential for synergistic discussion.

Passionate Moderate Mormon said...

"One heart" because we love each other and "one mind" because we understand each other. We have a ways to go.

Mama D said...

Matthew, with a SS class that large, I'd be asking the SS Pres to discuss in ward council the option of 2 (or even 3) classes. It would give more opportunity for discussion, service, and involvement. I bet there are people who haven't spoken up in years in your class - which is unfortunate.

Mama D said...

Matthew, with a SS class that large, I'd be asking the SS Pres to discuss in ward council the option of 2 (or even 3) classes. It would give more opportunity for discussion, service, and involvement. I bet there are people who haven't spoken up in years in your class - which is unfortunate.

Matthew said...

Funny thing is, MamaD, a few years ago we did have two classes, and then they got put together for some reason. Next time I am able to make it out to church I might ask about it.