We used to have a professional youth ministry in the Church. Each ward ended up paying almost $50,000 a year to the Boy Scouts for that service.
Unfortunately, over time, the Boy Scouts evolved from paramilitary training (its original purpose) (and not necessarily what you want young men trained for) to theme park camping, which isn’t very relevant.
Efforts to move away from that kept being delegated to men immersed in scouting who could devise nothing else.
However, from about 1980 on, the church was aware from statistical analysis that success in scouts did not correlate with other successful outcomes.
Well. We are separated from the scouts now. The big change seems to be no professional support for our “youth ministry” at all and a curriculum that is still in flux.
I’d like to discuss things that might go into a modified curriculum that would teach life skills useful for today.
- Setting boundaries. Kids need to be able to set boundaries. A good example of a lesson on that can be found here https://www.verywellhealth.com/setting-boundaries-5208802. That sort of lesson should be taught at least twice a year.
- Deescalation of verbal violence. http://www.adrr.com/aa/ is a good example of that. I’d suggest at least two lessons a year, every year, on that topic.
- Basic skills. That is, how to cook for yourself, do your own laundry, etc.
- Recognizing manipulation and dealing with anger and other tools of manipulation. http://www.adrr.com/living/ss_9.htm
- Dealing with loss and catastrophic change. http://www.adrr.com/living/sloss.htm. How to respond when bad things happen.
Ok. That is enough from me.
What would you like to see in the curriculum and what sort of support for the youth program do you think the church could afford?
Wow – had no idea the annual ward cost for scouts was 50K per ward. What a waste and how incredibly discriminating toward the YW. Like leadership roulette, scouting was also roulette. My sons did not win. In our experience, a calling in scouting was like any other and we never had leaders that had a passion for the program. A lot of basketball was played…Since it’s clear the church can afford 50K for youth leaders, my suggestion would be to actually hire professional youth leaders to run youth programs for both YM and YW combined. They would need more than 50K, but as most wards share buildings (and in many areas have small youth groups) these paid leaders could run programs in more than one ward so the cost would actually be lower. For an organization that talks about prioritizing families, the children of the church are sorely neglected.
I have a running list of topics like this to teach my kids across the years so I’m really grateful for those post and can’t wait to see the comments and get more ideas. The above suggestions are excellent. Wish I could add more, but my oldest is only 3 so mine are more relevant to a much younger crowd.
As a prior YW leader, I really wish they would put together more guidance and suggestions etc for a curriculum (and less videos….), but with the options to keep it open and customized to the needs of the ward/youth. The lack of specifics and varied resources often meant leaders were using the much older manuals for ideas out of desperation. Or buying pre-made lessons from Etsy or Pinterest. Just another thing the members subsidize for the church…
It is shocking how much the children are neglected. I teach 12 year-olds Sunday School and the manual is the same one used for adults. I was shocked when I realized that. The lessons are short and terrible with no context to explain the Old Testament and I’m supposed to fill up an hour with 8 deacon-aged boys. How? My teen girls are having a very poor YW experience compared to the old Personal Progress format. Their poor leaders have no time or bandwidth to do more. I can assure you the youth of today have little incentive to enjoy church. I struggle to find joy through church these days. Why should they attend as adults when their youth experience has been so poor? Whatever is coming from SLC is just inadequate.
Good topic. Important topic. I’ll try to think of some for positive ideas for scouts and I may come back later.
I wanted the church to get out of scouting, but what we have done may not have been an improvement. But I’m going to talk about the cub scouts and primary age activities first because that is where I have more first hand knowledge.
Our cub scouts had weekly activities (largely run by women ) in small groups with kids their own age, with entire books of structured ideas for each age group with age appropriate activities. Once a month there would be pack meeting that had all the primary age boys, different leaders organizing a pretty cool activity. The den mothers would still be there to help keep the kids behaved and organized. (I know nothing about the girls activity days, which were probably not nearly as well supported)
This has been replaced with a non-program. Instead of a weekly activity with kids their own age, it’s basically a pack meeting every other week or so, with three male leaders. They are throwing boys ages 7 to 11 together with no structure. It’s total mayhem. Previously, even at pack meeting the boys would be divided by age groups with leaders for each age. Now it is just everyone together. It’s very difficult to have age appropriate activities when combining that many boys in that age range.
The program consists of an mostly blank pamphlet that has the words spiritual, social, physical , and intellectual printed on otherwise blank pages.
The leaders could definitely do better. Maybe they should take some initiative and make their own program. Maybe they should do some age splitting and do some activities with just certain age groups. But so far they just put everyone together and try to have barely controlled mayhem for an hour once every two weeks.
While I acknowledge that the disparity between Scouts and YW was huge, I am highly skeptical of your $50K/ward number. How did you arrive at that figure?
Scouting was dropped. It was replaced with…nothing. The good is now gone, along with the bad. Wards are left to devise their own programs, or not. Basketball and service are the default programs for the young men. In my opinion, they are merely time-fillers. Those who justifiably complained about the disparity between the programs for the YM and YW have been successful in having their complaints acted upon: now neither the YM nor the YW have a curriculum that is useful for their ethical development.
I can only amen the comments above. We have no actual youth program. It’s horrible. I could not have been happier when scouts was dropped by the church but I am also shocked that there is now almost NOTHING. Our youth are severely neglected. The young men used to have a program, the young women had a massively less supported program, now it is completely up to leaders to try to put something together. With the discontinuation of young men presidencies in favor of the Bishop (HAHAHAHAHAHA) the young men are even worse off than the young women. In my ward the YW presidency is effectively running most of the young men program in the form of joint activities, which are lame. The church has invested in FSY (formerly EFY). I hope they don’t destroy that too.
Based on my own experience with the Scouting program in the Church, with many years being involved with adult leader training at local unit, district and council levels, was most of the leaders in the LDS units were there because of the idea in the church that one does not refuse a church calling when offered it. I have experienced situations where people called into scouting positions ended up doing nothing and we were forced to insist that the persons be released and others called to replace them. I am not alone in having that experience. The Scouting programs if worked properly would have been a great benefit to the young people involved. In my experience in the Great Salt Lake Council, the units that really worked were non-LDS chartered units. That goes along with the saying that goes like this: If you really see what the Scouting really was intended to be, you had the do two things, 1. you had had get out of Utah and 2. you had to get away from the LDS church. and this was coming from those who were lived outside of Utah and had experience with non-LDS scouting units. My own observation of the new youth programs leads me to have little regard for those programs and have little hope in the future.
It really slays me that the church is saving all that money on scouts (I’m also not sure it’s $50K but it’s certainly not nothing) and has not shared any of that savings with the local units. Tell me your church is a corporation without telling me your church is a corporation.
We have to vote with our feet. If the activities are lame, don’t send your kids. Our kids only go when they want, and that’s probably about 50% of the time.
Otherwise, if Church employees are reading this, please take note. The comments are entirely spot on to my experience in Southern California as well. The system needs a reset.
I think Stephen’s recommendations for content are great. To this list I would add: Consent, how to use social media with intentional purpose, how to react to bullying and cyber-bullying, how to be inclusive, how to learn critical thinking skills, how to decide things for yourself, how to say no. These should not be part of a weekday night activity though (yawn). They should be integrated into Come Follow Me on Sunday. The kids don’t need a lecture circuit on weeknights.
It seems to me that the best case scenario is one where you have both good, engaged leaders and a good curriculum. It seems like the Church, in the name of local control and flexibility, is expecting/hoping that local units will call good leaders who can come up with topics and activities (develop their own curriculum, if you will) that engage the youth without very much input from above. To me, that seems like a pretty high bar, because not everyone, no matter how well intentioned, has the skill to come up with the curriculu.
On the other hand, as Raymond Dunn’s experience shows, even with a good curriculum, the program can fail if you also don’t get good leadership. The real value I see in a good curriculum is that your adult (and youth) leaders don’t need the skill set necessary to develop curriculum. They only need reasonably commitment to doing their best to follow a given curriculum. I think that’s an easier skill set to find as long as you find someone motivated.
I don’t claim to know what the Church ought to do here, but it seems like some kind of structure to the program could make it better. Infinite flexibility with little direction like the current program seems destined for mostly failure except in those few units where you manage to get the best leadership.
I’m feeling very cynical. The church has stopped investing in the members from children, through youth and on up. It seems to be stuck in a cost cutting mindset, long past the point when that makes any kind of sense. And they wonder why they’re losing people! They’re wringing the members dry and giving as little as they possibly can in return.
Back when I was a child with each years curriculum in both Junior Sunday school and primary, there were kits for each child with activities to be completed in the lessons. They were good quality, full colour, beautifully produced, and no doubt a great help to the teachers. I still remember those things. With the consolidated program and the advent of photocopiers that moved to basic black and white activity sheets in the manual to be copied off for use in the lesson. But at least there were photocopiers in the building.
Now, it pretty much is down to the teachers to do what they can. They’re expected to have the tech to show videos in class, to print off activities, cover the costs themselves. There’s no library in our buildings. On the one hand we’re told all activity costs should be claimed but there are budgets and then how to even claim printing costs… it creates a wealth divide sometimes in who gets to be considered to be a good teacher…. I certainly tried very hard in primary to reproduce my experience for the children in my classes, when serving there. By far the bulk of our printing costs at home were primary related. But it shouldn’t be that way. I have read comments online recently where primary/youth leaders/teachers have stated rate deducting costs from their tithing as it is far simpler than trying to make a claim. These tithes in kind of course remain undeclared on paper (the actual rules for tithes in kind requiring approval from HQ). I fully sympathise that they’re driven to do this. It’s not an option open to a teacher with no income, and limited resources.
If the church really wanted to invest in teaching our youth and children there would be a library with proper printing facilities, a librarian who could do the printing off, to check out and check in tablets with the videos for that week’s lesson preloaded…
One of the first things I did in my current audit committee calling was to make the case for useable printing facilities in all the buildings in our stake, at the very least for the sake of primary. I am informed three of the buildings now have approval, when they will arrive if they do, and whether they will be fit for purpose remains to be seen…
This sounds like another area in which the church is running up against the limits of using volunteers. Or actually people who are not volunteers but our voluntold. The Scout program was developed by professionals. They probably consulted with child development experts and so forth. Even if you got a dedicated and knowledgeable leader called to the youth program, they would have very little incentive to come up with a curriculum since they will be released in the next couple years. Long-term trained employees should develop a curriculum.
I agree with the comments above that there are plenty of good leaders who don’t have the expertise to develop a curriculum, but would be willing to follow one that has already been developed. I’m not too familiar with what’s going on in our Ward, other than what I see from the efforts to activate my son. It seems like the leaders are expecting the boys to plan their own activities. My son’s did go to the Nerf gun battle. I don’t know how successful it is to expect teenagers to come up with their own activities every week if they want to actually teach life skills.
I was involved with Cub and Boy Scouts for decades at the local and district level as a called church volunteer. Also served as a Primary President, counselor, teacher, and Activity Days leader, YW advisor.
Children and youth spend too much of their lives Indoors listening to lessons at school and church. Not enough time in guided actual practice of those lessons. Scouting and YW Personal Progress were good programs, but both depended on the quality of implementation, the vision and dedication of the leaders. Yes, Scouting sucked up too much $$$ and not enough was dedicated to the girls.
I agree that youth need lessons in conflict de-escalation. I think they also need more interaction with people who are different than them, to develop understanding and empathy. (Our youth don’t interact with their special needs peers even in their own neighborhood enough. The church doesn’t seem to encourage it. Liability concerns no doubt. Planning activities they can participate in.) Youth of other religions in an LDS-dominated region. Addressing bullying. Planning activities that include the youth who don’t like sports. Expecting youth to show up and support all the activities, even if they think it’s Boring. That’s being a Good Sport and Being Like Jesus.
We try too hard to entertain the youth so they’ll show up. So they think every activity should be Fun for Them. They need to learn that life isn’t always about them. Some of the greatest experiences they can have is making an activity Fun for a peer.
@EagleLady: “Planning activities that include the youth who don’t like sports.” Yes times 1 million.
Re: This sounds like another area in which the church is running up against the limits of using volunteers.
If only the church had a bit of money to consult and/or hire some experts to develop a curriculum that could be readily implemented by lay volunteers.
* sorry. I couldn’t help but make this comment. I’m sorry about being a negative Nevin. I am still planning to brainstorm and suggest some positive ideas for curriculum as suggested by the OP. Admittedly, it is much easier to complain about the status quo than it is to actually make things better.
@Stephen, good list. I like all five point. To that I would add #6: Preparing our youth for higher education.
(For context, I live along the Wasatch front in your average suburban, conservative, orthodox Mormon environment.)
We have too few young men who are going to college to pursue bachelors degrees, and young women in my area are not explicitly encouraged to pursue higher education. Pursing a vocation is fine–there is nothing wrong with wanting to learn a trade for those not interested in academic or professional educations. But too many young men and young women in my stake, at least, are doing nothing and have no plans, and I don’t see our stake setting expectations or helping them and their parents understand the importance of higher education, how to plan for it.
We need a class taught every year by someone who understand the national higher education landscape. This class would inform families about what choices their children have before them within Utah and outside of Utah, and why planning should start at the beginning of middle school, about the time our girls and boys turn 12. The curriculum would cover what arc the child needs to be on in science, math, languages, social studies, arts, etc., to be prepared to achieve their goals and fulfill their interests, whatever those may be.
The class would also layout for our most motivated and academically gifted students the importance of course curriculum choices in school (honors courses, AP, IB), what kinds of extracurriculars add real weight to a competitive college application, how to find and execute a passion project, how to prepared for standardized tests (they will come back), the importance of personal essay writing, and what kinds of merit scholarships and household income-based financial aid is available at most private universities and colleges outside of Utah. (In other words, it is often more affordable than people think.)
I think this is needed now more than ever. President Hinkley did a great job of promoting higher education through his six B’s, one of which was “Be Educated.” It seems to me like education has been devalued by the church and our culture since his tenure. This is a mistake for which the church and we will pay dearly if we don’t start seeing a higher ratio of our young men and women pursue higher-ed, IMO.
I think it is a great idea to let the youth come up with their own activities. The problem is that they are too inexperienced to know all that is possible and how to successfully pull them off. Instead of calling less active kids to class presidencies in order to make them feel a part of the group, call the ones that actually want to participate and you will have better activities and youth buy in overall. Enthusiasm is contagious. Also, invested adult leaders who can make suggestions for great activities and then provide help with planning and execution are essential. This will take a dedicated time commitment. The young parents that are regularly called into leadership with the youth are too busy with school, new careers and young families and don’t have kids in the youth age group. Not all 40 to 60 year olds are fogeys. They have a vested interest in the spiritual, leadership and cultural development of their own kids. Plus, they have some life experience and know what resources are available and what is possible in their area of the world.
I am a parent of young “youth” and older primary kids and current deacons quorum advisor.
I agree that having more of a curriculum could be helpful. I think most helpful would be suggested activities / lessons that have been carefully thought out. The church website does have activity ideas on their website which we sometimes refer to.
IMHO lessons are for church on Sunday and I’m not opposed to having an occasional non-scriptural lesson. Week-night activities should be activities and not a sit-down-and-listen-to-a-lesson affair, or the youth will tune out and stop coming.
Our ward in Oregon does OK with the youth program. The youth are supposed to be planning their own activities with variety in class/quorum presidency meetings. They accomplish that, but require plenty of coaching. One challenge is the competing activities youth are involved in outside of church. Another challenge is that there aren’t tons of youth (but other wards in the stake have even fewer).
Now about scouting. The church didn’t do scouting the BSA way. I was bothered by the monetary discrepancy between YM and YW when scouting was the church program (but the $50k/ward number seems way off). Some scouters emphasize the paramiltary aspect which bothers me. But there is much good to be found in scouting. I want my kids and their friends to live up to the principles of the Scout Oath and Law. I want my kids and their friends to spend more time outdoors and less time on screens.
As a youth in the 1990s I had a good experience with scouting. About 8 years ago and the father of very young kids I was a not-very-motivated assistant scoutmaster as a calling, Currently my son is in a BSA troop and I’m a willing volunteer assistant scoutmaster (the troop culture is to have lots of parents involved a bit instead of being carried by a few heroes). My son and I do scouting because we want to, not because we have to, and that is a big difference from the way things used to be in the church.
My son’s troop does a decent job of being boy-led and keeping older boys involved and interacting with and leading the younger ones (one of the things the church implementation missed). LDS youth/leaders make up about a quarter of the troop, so there are a few eye rolls when we leave campouts Saturday afternoon but we’re not alone. Costs excluding summer camp is a few hundred dollars annually per youth, so it’s no more expensive than sports or other alternative activities, and costs are basically covered by paid group gigs the troop has (e.g. staffing booths at sporting events).
There is a newly formed troop of girls that my son’s troop associates with. Yes, they’ve rebranded as BSA instead of Boy Scouts and now open to girls, with the same rank advancement and curriculum. They get their own troops and obviously camping has to be separate. I find it refreshing that girls get to do and are expected to do all the same things as the boys. The husband/wife team that spearhead the girls troop are in our stake; they were involved with scouting before the church/BSA split, and are happy that their teenage daughters can participate in scouting now. At a recent merit badge fair I attended about a third of the youth were female. Having girls in scouting gives it a different feel from when I was growing up, but I think it’s a positive change. My daughters aren’t currently interested in scouting and that’s OK. We still get outdoors as a family a lot.
I always thought that the life skills were an important part of the youth program:
– first aid
– health and exercise, tailored to the individual.
These were things that the scout program was pretty good at. First aid was covered frequently; cooking was handled by default when camping. It would be weird to lose them in the process of separating from scouts.
I’m now going to tick everyone off. The Church already has a youth program and curriculum sitting on the shelf. I know personally of one that was designed by local church leaders and exceptional professional educators in the Wasatch Front area in the late 1990’s. It was designed to be used anywhere in the world. It involved a variety of learning and experiential domains including reflective journaling, goal setting in a variety of areas, reading and studying excerpts from scripture and great works of literature, with service hours in their communities. Education and skilled trades were promoted. The church committee that produced it was distraught because a church bureaucrat leaked a copy to BSA and pressure was applied to stop development. But the committee had produced a polished first draft of the curriculum and I read it, because I knew several members of the committee. It was amazing.
If we wanted an excellent youth program, we could have one. It would be an outstanding reactivating and proselytizing point, but most importantly, it would develop and encourage youth to achieve excellence.
This might be a very unpopular thing to say here, and is coming from someone who has struggled to put her butt in the pew, from both Covid fatigue and a unhappy ward split. But here it goes. The switch from the 3 hour to the 2 hour format is killing the youth program. Other stuff too, but the youth program, and possibly primary. All of the above suggestions would be wonderful. And the church has very deep pockets and we all know it, so let’s not pretend that anything is unaffordable. Young Men’s and Young Women’s has historically been a great service to our youth. I grew up in Mesa, where every kid in my ward, my stake, and across multiple stakes went to the same schools. We had the luxury of walking across the street to release time seminary, at whatever time we could fit it in our schedule. Even with all that support, Mutual was vital. There were kids who joined the church and were the only member of the church in their family. There were kids whose families were inactive, but would always come to mutual Their attendance at Sunday was often sparse. I was fully active, and lived for mutual. Special bonds were made with our leaders–adults we admired and trusted who weren’t our parents, not that there was anything wrong with my parents.. I have a friend from Pocatello (a cold Mesa!) whose parents were inactive, and decided to be baptized when she was 8. She went to church and eventually Mutual, with her neighbors who had 8 or 9 kids, and hardly noticed the difference. She raised herself in the Church–going on a mission, marrying in the Temple the whole deal. Active since her baptism. Allow me to fast forward to raising my own kids, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and now rural CT. I like contrasts. The kids all went to different schools. 6:30 am Seminary is a nightmare, in fact my daughter went to boarding school and her day was so structured, she had virtually no opportunity to do Seminary at all. No Mutual, except in summer and on holidays. Usually I could pick her up Saturday night. The bonds she made with the youth are still important to her, even though like many Millennials, she has voted with her feet. At least for the moment. My son who is now 19 has spent his formative years in CT. He loved cubs and scouts until they killed it. But we had a YM president who was heaven sent. He had such an imagination for activities. He understood that the kids often came from diverse backgrounds. (My son lived for Mutual, although probably the presence of a certain young lady was further inspiration). Then the change. Mutual is all but dead now, in our ward. One of the YW leaders told me “A lot of these girls we only saw on Wednesday. That was our one shot at them. To help them to grow and mature and make educational goals.” Many did not have parents who could help. Again, the above ideas are great. As for the church and their capacity for curriculum change, you just need to look at the insipid, shallow CFM + the correlation committee. Or maybe you are one of the lucky few whose captivated kids thrive in their daily study of CFM. To think I spent 20+ years rewriting some of those awful manuals for my lessons! Our kids and our youth, and yes, even all of the adults deserve consistency and depth in church education. So every other week, as I sit through a recycled conference talk, where the Brethren quote each other, instead the scriptures, I wonder how we got here. It seems clear where we are going.
I could be wrong on every point. I was using a number I got from BSA.
Otherwise I could still be wrong on many points. I really appreciate everyone’s comments.
I used to be a young men leader. I was critical of two aspects of scouting: (1) BSA’s wasteful administration and the Church’s enabling of it, and (2) the Church’s distorted implementation of scouting. Scouting itself, properly done, had a lot going for it. I was released just before the rollout of the current youth program. I think it’s generally a disaster, but if I was in youth leadership, I’d never let the youth know I thought that. I would do all I could to help THEM make it excellent. You take the youth presidency to ice cream and brainstorm. What are their favorite activities they’ve ever done? What might interest those who don’t come? Teach THEM how to plan. No lame activities allowed. If you have a regular service night and a regular joint activity per month, that leaves only two- to- three nights to plan.
It seems to me now instead of calling a bishop who can also be YM President, they should call the best possible YM President and incidentally make him the bishop. If you want youth to listen to you on Sunday, you have to play with them on Wednesday and often camp with them on Friday. Teach the boys resilience, and that they can do hard things, including maintaining a compelling youth program. If the church drops the baton, YOU pick it up and run with it. Here are just a few activities.
-have a REAL talent show involving every youth. (No lame skits. Real talents can be shown on stage or on display tables.)
-career night (profiling a guest adult’s INTERESTING occupation or profession)
-hike up the big local mountains; teach the boys if they can summit a 10k-14k foot peak, they can do anything.
-bicycling to Dairy Queen and back
-landscape someone’s yard good enough to stay out of code enforcement trouble
-Have manly Olympics with 7 customized events invented by the boys
-pinewood derby with NO rules; dads invited to participate, too.
-overnight campout at dry lake bed, launching homemade rockets next morning. Hobby engines ok, but no rocket kits. (Requires a cool enough bishop to comp the boys a bag of D-size rocket engines.)
-midnight paintball with glow in the dark paintballs.
-Car repair night. (How to jump a car, change a flat, etc.)
-teach how to write an old fashioned letter on paper, and how to address an envelope… and then mail it.
-teach the benefit of buying a newspaper, how to read it, then discuss issues in it.
-teach how to teach. Older boys must teach one Sunday lesson per year.
-discuss how to know, appreciate, respect, and enjoy the company of girls and women.
-Encourage Priest age boys to make sure every girl is invited to Mormon Prom.
-teach how to give haircuts. Practice on each other. Get permission from moms first.
-have a midnight devotional inside a cave.
-when older boys are telling stories around a campfire to younger boys, shut up and let it happen.
-always keep a frisbee and wiffle ball and bat in your trunk.
-pony express races using bicycles
-pinewood derby with the girls, using russet potatoes instead of wood. Decorate, stick wheels on, and let ‘em roll.
-plan and do real high adventure. Turn them into men. (The whiniest boys often later have the fondest memories.)
My husband LOVED the scouting program, until about the 2010s, maybe earlier. As an enthusiastic scout master he found that the parents were not interested in helping their boys achieve, merit badge marathons were not fulfilling the actual requirements of the merit badges, and higher ups didn’t care, just sign off because if the kids don’t get their eagle before 16, they won’t. And then he had some unfortunate run-ins with BSA employees. My own kids lost interest quickly. My oldest made it almost to Eagle before he quit, my youngest wouldn’t even go to cub scouts.
A few years ago I was sitting next to a sister in the ward who had just been called as the Webelo’s assistant leader and was filling out the BSA paperwork and commented that she had never had to do a background check for a calling before. And I thought, “This isn’t a calling, she’s been sub-contracted out by the church to a different organization, and she doesn’t know it yet.”
We are no longer active, I have two adult sons and one who is nearly adult. They are all successful people but I really wish my kids could have had the type of experience my non-member friend’s kids had in their respective church youth groups. Where the youth leaders were trained and chose to be doing that work. Those kids just seemed better adjusted to all parts of life, not just life in the Mormidor.
My suggestion? Take the basketball hoops out of the cultural halls.
To Rockwell, there is a name for what the primary boys in your ward are experiencing now. It’s called Activity Days.
Yesterday during the Sunday school hour, our usual fantastic teacher being away, our ward joined adults and youth together to watch Elder Uchtdorf’s broadcast ‘Teaching in the Saviour’s Way.
My takeaways (whilst compulsively folding and twisting the handout I’d been given):
1. They’re trying to tell us any problems we’re having can’t be the lousy curriculum. We must just be doing it wrong. We need more Holy Ghost. That’s fine and dandy, but the more and better material we have to work with, the more material the Holy Ghost has to work with too. It’s like they want us to conjure something out of nothing. Jesus had all of His knowledge to work with.
2. They say put Christ at the centre, the bullseye. But that wasn’t what the optics of the presentation were saying. Uchtdorf was standing in front of a massive picture of Christ ordaining the apostles. Quite apart from making an overly busy and distracting background, far from putting Jesus in the bullseye position, it seemed to me to be emphasising the position of apostle.
3. The whole presentation had been overhyped during the preceding two weeks, so of course it under delivered. I was disappointed.