We all know Jonah as a fish story, but a close reading informed by literary and historical details reveals a profound, inspiring, and challenging message. This little book asks us foundational questions about the goodness of God and our responsibility to serve, love, and forgive beyond our prejudices.
This portion of the episode discusses the Adam and Eve narrative in historical and literary context, proposes theories of the Fall across the belief spectrum, and brings in insights from psychology to the question of human nature and improvement.
We are what we eat (Or even better in German, Man ist, was man isst). This proverb is quite literally true biologically, but also bears social truth–we are who we eat with. Food shapes us physically, spiritually, and socially. The Word of Wisdom is known as the “Lord’s law of health,” as well as creating social distinctions and emphasizing obedience. At the same time, too rarely do members consider the principles behind this requirement past the short list of “don’ts”. In this episode, we will discuss:
The role of the Word of Wisdom in contemporary Mormonism
The history of the Word of Wisdom
The underlying principles of wise stewardship of our bodies, spiritual and physical health, and agency
Conspiracies. Not really kidding.
personal perspectives on living the Word of Wisdom–in other words, living well both physically and spiritually
We usually don’t stop to think about it, but our conceptions of the nature of scripture play a key role in our understanding of spiritual reality. The fundamental question is: Do we use scripture to understand the rest of reality, or do we need to use other evidence first to understand the nature of scripture? Or is there a way where they can inform each other? So for example, do we take the scriptural descriptions of God at face value and try to understand life using that framework, or do we use our personal experiences and other sources to understand God and then use that understanding to engage with the scriptural accounts?
This lesson explores the scriptural contributions of Joseph Smith, and a key goal will be to explore the nature of Joseph’s revelations and the new scripture he brought forth, as well as their significance. This new scripture includes:
Book of Mormon
Book of Commandments–>Doctrine & Covenants
Book of Moses/Joseph Smith Translation
Book of Abraham
Lectures on Faith (remember, these were included in the D&C until 1921!)
Theologically significant sermons such as the King Follett Discourse
The temple endowment
Since we have already talked about the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine & Covenants, we will focus this lesson on the Joseph Smith Translation and Book of Abraham, while also touching on the idea of scripture as a whole and Joseph’s other contributions.
These chapters begin the story of the missionary efforts of the sons of Mosiah. Ammon and Lamoni take center stage, but the Lamanite woman Abish and her queen play key roles and Mormon emphasizes the contrasts between missionary and conversion experiences by paralleling the stories Ammon and Lamoni, Aaron and Lamoni’s father.
Highlights of this lesson include
Parallel stories of transformation of Lamoni and his father
Two of the strongest female protagonists in the Book of Mormon
Focus on the “Plan of Redemption”
An example of an “agnostic prayer”
Danielle, Gwenevere, Mike, and Paul join the class.
This lesson confronts us with hard, perhaps impossible questions. We read about a God who intervenes sometimes, but not others. Alma and Amulek are saved, but only after an extended time in prison. And the worst atrocity is not prevented at all–the murder of women and children. We are not equipped to handle the horrors that happen day to day, and yet we relentlessly seek some sense of meaning and stability. This final episode of Mormon Sunday School explores these difficult topics of God’s actions in light of agency.
What is your relationship with the Book of Mormon? Be honest. Start where you are. How can you improve it?
This episode encourages class members to honestly discuss the Book of Mormon, explains the importance of this Book of Scripture, and covers additional topics such as truth, inspiration, and the nature of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon.
Ephesians tells us to “put on the armor of God”; how do we integrate the principles of truth, righteousness, preparedness, faith, salvation, and the Spirit into our life? This eloquent work also urges us to fill our lives with goodness so that we can use our time well and become our best selves. The teaching on husbands and wives requires challenging however.