by President Russell M. Nelson
and Elder Quentin L. Cook
I first heard the rumblings a year or so ago from a friend. The church was testing a pilot program for a home based Sunday School. Her sister’s stake was part of the test and according to my friend it “failed” because no one would study at home.
Flash forward to this summer after I was called for round two as Gospel Doctrine teacher. My uncle and aunt told me it was to be short lived because the church was doing away with the Sunday School program. This came shortly after an announcement of a “home based, church supported” Sunday School curriculum for 2019. So, I didn’t believe it because it appeared as if there would, in fact, continue to be a Sunday School class because why would the church spend all this time and effort in revamping it if it was going away? Besides, this kind of announcement can only be official if it comes from the prophet. General Conference was still two months away so I decided to do a little investigating.
Apparently, it was the worst kept secret because a lot of people already knew the answer. The era of two hour church was dawning. Sunday School was not about to fade away but would alternate Sundays with Relief Society. The Sunday before General Conference I visited my sister’s ward and the rumor was discussed during Gospel Doctrine.
When Saturday morning rolled around and President Nelson made his opening remarks there was no element of surprise. Elder Cook announced the change and explained the logistics and assured us this new format was all in-line with the progress of the church.
Very similar to the ministering announcement during April’s conference this could be perceived as a step away from the overall goal. How could less possibly mean more? Because it is taking the accountability off of other people’s shoulders and placing it squarely where it needs to be placed: right on us. We just increased a level here, folks. The game is drawing to a close.
I admit, I had mixed feelings about this. At first, I felt that as a single person I was being excluded. The shorter meetings are to focus on families, well, what if you don’t have a family to focus on? I also felt a little worried. I’m not one to choose to socialize so when the suggestion that singles could meet at another time for additional support I knew that was never going to happen. I don’t want to meet at another time. I barely want to meet at church. The word ‘isolation’ came to mind. Finally, my third worry is that I am kind of good at the church thing. It’s my strong suit. Now, there will be less opportunity to serve so how will I develop my talents?
These worries might seem silly but I had to ponder them and think them through. As I did, I realized two hour church will be a blessing. It is going to either force us to do what we should be doing already (studying at home) or it won’t. The only new thing about this whole set up is 60 minutes less of church. Everything else is the same. The church just designed a spoon-fed approach to something we should have already been doing. It is time to study and experiment more fully on the word because we are in the time where we gotta know. We gotta know for ourselves. No more training wheels. Here we go.