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They Had Questions, 1955

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 22, 2011

These questions were asked of the Sunday School General Board in 1955:

Q. What recommendation does the General Board make for Junior Sunday School children during Fast Meeting?

A. The planning and conducting of all ward meetings is under direction of the bishop. The Junior Sunday School Committee of the General Board advises that children attend all sacrament meetings with their parents and learn to worship through actual participation.

The following quotation from the Presiding Bishopric’s Page of the Deseret News, January 22, 1955, gives counsel on this issue:

“It is reported that some wards are providing story-telling for children under eight years old during the speaking part of the sacrament meeting program. These children are excused from the meeting after the passing of the sacrament, to go to a classroom where someone, by appointment, tells them stories.

“The reason given for doing this is to make the sacrament meeting more quiet and increase attendance. While this practice may improve the order, and bring more mothers into the meeting, it does not meet the approval of the brethren. Both young and old are expected to be in sacrament meeting until it is dismissed. No one is excused from this sacred obligation.

“There are times when children have to be taken from this meeting, and in some instances “cry rooms” have been installed.”

Q. What is the General Board’s attitude regarding field trips by classes to points of interest related to the lesson? Is it all right to make them during Sunday School?

A. Field trips should be encouraged. Further, teachers should be urged to make adequate preparation for them, by telling the class before the trip what to look for, and how it all ties with the lesson. The points should again be linked to the lesson after the field trip has been completed. but as desirable as field trips are, they should not be taken during Sunday School. the best time is during the wee, preferably on a Saturday.

Q. Some of the classes, especially the teen-age classes, are wanting a lot of parties. We realize that this planning detracts from the lessons. How often do you think they should have parties?

A. Certainly parties, properly planned and supervised, should be encouraged. They should not be overdone, however. The number during the year should be left to the discretion of the teacher. However, parties should not be planned during the Sunday School class period. Committees might be named and announcements regarding the socials can be given. But this should be done with a minimum loss of time. Planning of the parties can be done by committees meeting at a time other than during the class period.

Q. When should a child be allowed to go from Junior Sunday School to the class in the Senior Sunday School? immediately upon being baptized, or should the child wait until the end of the year when class promotions take place?

A. The child should wait until the end of the year, to be advanced with the entire class.

Q. The teachers are giving presents on various holidays, such as valentine hearts, nuts and candy. Is this the proper thing to do?

A. A number of complaints have been received from pare3nts of children receiving candy at Sunday School. The parents say the children’s appetites are thus spoiled for dinner. Generally, giving food at Sunday School should be discouraged. On those rare occasions when such gifts are given, they should be distributed as the children leave their classes.

Q. Is it permissible to have assistants in the Sunday School superintendency who hold the Aaronic Priesthood?

A. If a member of the Senior Aaronic Priesthood is willing, and in the opinion of the ward bishop or branch president is worthy, you should have no hesitancy in making him an assistant superintendent. He cannot magnify that position for long and otherwise live an exemplary life without being soon ordained to the office of an elder.

Q. Our ward has an orchestra to play our hymns in Sunday School. Is this approved practice?

The General Board does not approve the use of orchestra or orchestral instruments to accompany Sunday School singing. All too often such accompaniment adds audible static during tuneup and visual static during singing. Songs sung from the heart and reverently conducted with inconspicuous organ accompaniment have resulted in the most reverential worship service.

Q. In our stake we now have a few Lamanites attending Sunday School. Some do not understand English. We should greatly appreciate some information regarding the steps to be taken in trying to teach them the Gospel. What lessons should we teach them?

A. The Lamanites coming to your Sunday Schools should probably be given a special class. Perhaps someone with a knowledge of both English and their own tongue could be the teacher. They will probably be more interested in the Book of Mormon than any other subject. Course No. 9, Leaders of the Scriptures, contains some excellent sketches on Book of Mormon characters (pages 48 to 125). For excellent supplementary reading, we suggest Deta Peterson Neeley’s delightful book, A Child’s Story of the Book of Mormon. This book follows the book of Mormon text faithfully and is singularly free from personal interpretation.



8 Comments »

  1. I don’t remember being pulled out during testimony meeting, but I distinctly remember having an entirely different Stake Conference for the Primary kids in an entirely different building than the adults. They would drop us of before conference, feed us graham crackers and mandarin oranges and show us movies.

    It was awesome.

    Comment by Middle-aged Mormon Man — February 22, 2011 @ 7:24 am

  2. The General Board does not approve the use of orchestra or orchestral instruments to accompany Sunday School singing. All too often such accompaniment adds audible static during tuneup and visual static during singing. Songs sung from the heart and reverently conducted with inconspicuous organ accompaniment have resulted in the most reverential worship service.

    But boy does it make the MoTab sound so much better! Sorry, couldn’t help it.

    Comment by Cliff — February 22, 2011 @ 10:54 am

  3. “Inconspicuous organ accompaniment” I guess strikes a balance between the rank beginner missing notes and playing haltingly, and the accomplished organist, who adds flourishes, fills, and booming bass pedals. Here’s to mediocrity!

    Comment by kevinf — February 22, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

  4. Not mediocrity, kevinf, adequacy! Remember our motto! We want our organists to go out there and be kinda competent.

    Cliff’s dream headlines: “General Board Disapproves of Tabernacle Choir Accompaniment.” :)

    MAM, graham crackers and mandarin oranges would improve many of our adult meetings, too. I’m gonna put that in the ward suggestion box.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 22, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

  5. I’ve never heard of the whole primary on Stake Conference day being fed mandarin oranges, graham crackers–yes.

    Comment by Maurine Ward — February 22, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

  6. You know how it is when you’re a kid — something delightful happens once, and it sticks in your memory as a tradition that you did all the time. (A lot of my Christmas memories are like that, I think.) It would only take one Primary worker one time with a box of clementines to make that an enduring memory for me!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 22, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

  7. Your ward still has a suggestion box? I think mails to our ward leadership go to /dev/null (UNIX joke).

    Comment by queuno — February 22, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

  8. Hilarious that some of those questions never go away. I read the “treats from teachers” q&a to our Primary President this evening and we both laughed. It is such a persistent problem.

    Comment by ErinAnn — February 23, 2011 @ 4:04 am

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