Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sunday School Lesson Recap: Comprehensive Self-Reliance and Creating Zion

The focus for next week is going to be self-reliance in the context of thanksgiving, so the lesson last Sunday was more of a lecture format than I usually do. There was some participation, but I talked more than normal today. Therefore, this post is going to be more of a summary than a detailed description.

1) Scriptural Interpretation Methods

Parables are understood to be representative stories that didn't actually happen but teach a moral or a lesson. We have been told Jesus taught parables (they are labeled as parables for us), so we read them as such. Many stories, however, aren't labeled for us, so we often read them as being literal accounts of actual events.

There are multiple ways stories can be read, including as being: literal, allegorical, symbolic, mythological, etc.

We talked about what can be taken from the following scriptural stories using each method above: Noah's flood, the Garden of Eden and Job. We then talked about various views of the Atonement: Penal Substitution, Representative Suffering, Symbolic Ordinance (the traditional scapegoat), etc.

2) Spiritual Languages

God speaks to us "in our own language, according to our own understanding". Moroni's promise says ONLY that God will make truth known to us, particularly about extending mercy to His children. Oliver Cowdery's experience isn't applicable universally. I am a good example of that, since most of my "answers" haven't come in that way. So, missionaries should stop using Oliver Cowdery as the end-all-be-all, one-size-fits-all answer method.

We all need to discover our own native "spiritual language" and allow others to do the same.

3) Physical, Emotional, Financial and Educational Self-Reliance

We talked about each aspect and the need to do the best we can, specifically in order to be able to give the help others need - and to be able to accept that help from others - in an atmosphere that fosters Zion.

I ended the lesson with a direct, blunt discussion of making sure each spouse in a marriage has enough education to be able to support self and family, even if they want to have a traditional marriage where "one parent" works outside the home and "one parent" doesn't have a paying job. I mentioned that over half of the married women in the Church work outside the home now, for many reasons. I told the boys not to insist that their wives leave school without adequate education, and I told the girls not to let their husbands insist that they leave school without adequate education. There simply are too many situations that happen to too many people now to assume they won't need a personal, adequate education to support themselves and their families at some point.

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