From the Relief Society Magazine, 1956 –
By Deone R. Sutherland
Annie stood by the wagon and horses saying a last goodbye to her mother and brothers and their little mountain cabin. Her father strapped her box in the back of the wagon.
“You hold up your head, Annie Griffith,” her mother said. “You don’t have to go, if you don’t want to. But a mountain’s no place for a girl to get higher education, and Brother and Sister Williams’ offer to have you taught right along with their daughter Marie, until your father’s mission is over, cutting stone for the temple, is a wonderful opportunity, and an answer to our prayers.”
“I know.” Annie lifted her eyes to the mountains where the brush was turning orange and brown through all the heavy green.
Last week, in connection with my posted Sunday School lesson, I mentioned that I use a number of commentaries in preparing my lessons. I use commentaries constantly. I don’t pretend to be a Biblical scholar. I’m a lifelong reader of the scriptures, I went to high school seminary classes, I taught from the scriptures as a missionary, I’ve gone to Sunday School my entire life … but as we all know, this is a background that teaches a Latter-day Saint how to live, and that gives a fair grounding in doctrine, but one which does very little toward providing a systematic, beyond-the-surface understanding of scriptural text. Like you, whatever in-depth textual understanding I’ve gained has come from training beyond and outside of the formal LDS curriculum.
After reading my post about that Sunday School lesson, one or two readers asked what commentaries I use in preparing my lessons. This post is a response to that.
The Bloggernacle, it turns out, is filled with people who are, in fact, Biblical scholars and who aren’t the least bit stingy with their advice and experience. You won’t find much if anything on this list that others haven’t already recommended. What I’ve tried to do in this post is to indicate how a particular book helps me in preparing a Sunday School lesson. My short list:
The HarperCollins Study Bible, rev. and updated. New York: HarperOne, 2006.
If I could have only one resource outside of the LDS edition of the scriptures, this would be the one. It is first of all a Bible, with the full Biblical text (Old and New Testaments, even the Apocrypha), in the New Revised Standard Version. This version is readable and comprehensible on its own (that is, so far as language goes – you still need the assistance of commentary to understand ancient practices and geography and personnel, but at least on the surface, the language of the NRSV seems to be plain English).
Lesson 14: “Who Is My Neighbour?”
Purpose: To help class members humble themselves, forgive others, and show charity for one another.
1. Jesus teaches that we must become as little children.
2. Through the parable of the unmerciful servant, Jesus teaches about forgiveness.
3. Through the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus teaches about charity.
Scripture Discussion and Application
If you were ill and had reason to believe that you were going to die within the next three or four months, what would be some of your main concerns in the time you had left? [Accept all ideas, but continue discussion until someone comments about making plans for those you would leave behind, either as dependents in a temporal sense or as those who look to you as the pattern for living their own lives.]
When is a pie like a poet? When it is Browning.
Upon what object in nature has every author written? Upon the earth.
Why does a hole in a pigsty conduce to the education of little pigs? Because it makes the pigs litter-airy.
Who was the straightest man in the Bible? Joseph, for Pharaoh wanted to make a ruler of him.
Why is the tailor the poor man’s best friend? Because he settles the rents.
“No man can do anything against his will,” said a metaphysician.
“Faith,” said Pat, “I had a brother who went to prison against his will, he did.”
By Fay Tarlock
Janie did not put the dress on until the others had finished their makeup and gone on stage. At the dress rehearsal she had worn her blue rayon print; the girls had looked at her as if to say, “Just what we expected.”
Tonight she was feverish with excitement as she slipped the billowy organdy over her shoulders and let her hair down from the makeup band. A friend at the beauty parlor had shampooed her hair that afternoon, giving it a golden rinse and an end curl. Now it formed a shining halo for her face. Her eyes were bright, her lips the color of the cherries at her belt.
“Why, I’m beautiful!” Janie marvelled as she faced the mirror. She said it humbly, even fearfully.
Stepping onto the stage as she had been taught, her small head high on her slender neck, she was graceful and startling. The two boys who were to pull the curtain saw her first. Their popping eyes were all Janie needed. When the others saw her there was ecstasy in her smile. The ebullient youths who had been parading in their rented dinner jackets stopped still; the girls were too startled to speak.
John Rons exploded the silence. Advancing towards Janie, he took both her hands and said, “Oh, boy, can I kiss you tonight!” (more…)
Discussion No. 6
Apostasy and Restoration
Objective: To show that the falling away and the bringing back of the Gospel to Joseph Smith was a fulfillment of prophecy,.
1. Review the story of the First Vision stressing the Savior’s answer to Joseph’s question about which Church to join. “They are all wrong. They teach for doctrine the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” See also D. & C. 33:4; 2 Tim. 3:1-5.
2. Show that Old Testament prophets foretold a falling away. Isaiah 24:5; Amos 8:11-12; Micah 3:4-12; Isaiah 59:1-2. What is the everlasting covenant as spoken of by Isaiah? D. & C. 66:2; D. & C. 133:57.
THE DAILY PICAYUNE Picayune (New Orleans)
2 June 1839
The editor of the New York Commercial Advertiser intimates his intention to write a “History of the Mormons.” He says: “So far as we are enabled at present to speak, Mormonism is the baldest and most disjointed, incomprehensible, stupid, unmeaning, ridiculous, and silly, of the isms of the age.” While the Colonel is about it why can’t he put in a small dose about animal magnetism?
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Because I know how many of you LOVE the identification of “Mormonism = Utah” …
Hail to Thee, Utah
By H.M. Aird
Hail to thee, Utah, thy dear mountain valleys,
Hail to the toilers that made thee so fair,
Hail to thine emblem, the pure sego lily –
Token of innocence spotless and rare.
Grand are thy mountains, and wild are thy torrents;
Limpid thy streamlets, thy skies, oh how fair!
Making they clime a delight and a wonder,
Thrilling the soul with a rapture most rare.
Let thy vales ring with the songs of thy people,
Cheery and blithesome, yet loving and kind,
May the refrain echo down through the ages;
All thy sons’ hearts in true brotherhood bind.
Utah, we crown thee the queen of the mountains,
Land of the foothill and desert sage clad;
Long may thy children’s bounteous harvest
Reap from thy water kissed valleys made glad.
Oh, may thy sons and thy daughters be ever
True to the flag with its red and white bars,
Making the light from the deep field of azure
Brightest of all in the cluster of stars.