Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » The Teacher Had a Question, 1953 (2)

The Teacher Had a Question, 1953 (2)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 30, 2013

More questions asked by the Sunday School teachers of 1953 … most of which hint at how different our procedures were 60 years ago, no matter how alike the class lessons may have been.

Question: I am music supervisor on the Idaho Falls Stake Sunday School Board. We have a question in our minds concerning the order of the sacrament, and felt we should consult you about it.

Answer: The order for the sacrament service follows:

1. Sacramental song, during which time the bread is broken by the priests.
2. Sacrament gem leader takes place at pulpit.
3. Prelude.
4. Sacrament gem reverently repeated by leader.
5. Sacrament gem repeated by congregation.
6. Postlude.
7. Leader stands with bowed head and folded arms while blessing on bread is given.
8. Leader takes seat.
9. Sacrament is passed by deacons.

Question: What is a good program to follow in regard to children’s birthdays in Junior Sunday School? Are they observed? If so, what are some good ways to make this recognition different than that of the home and of the midweek Primary observance?

Answer: A child’s birthday is a very special occasion to him and warrants personal attention by all of his close associates. Most homes recognize this opportunity and plan some happy event for the day. the Primary association, too, in its outlined program provides an outstanding opportunity for a child to be honored by his associates as they sing to him, and for him to honor himself in a generous act of ‘birthday pennies” for a worthy cause.

In recognition of these two fine experiences which most children have each birthday, and because Junior Sunday School is a worship service on the Sabbath, no regular birthday observation is planned in its program. Class teachers will make the best contribution as they quietly join with the child in the joy of his growing up and weave this significance into the lesson presentation.

The devotional exercises are planned as a full program of worship for children and will meet the needs of the young members of the Church best when they are kept on this plane. any focus on a child’s birthday would be done in announcing his developing abilities of performance or on his baptism, as with the 8-year-olds.

Thoughtful coordinators, as they plan closely with class teachers, will find satisfying ways to note with children that growing up means growing in responsibility.

Question: Not being able to find the answer in the Sunday School Handbook, I am writing directly to you. There is disagreement among our Sunday School personnel concerning the order of the Sunday School during the sacrament service. I have suggested that the doors be closed at the beginning of the sacramental song, and remain so during the blessing and passing of the sacrament, then opened. If my suggestion is out of line with the general practice, will you please advise?

Answer: Latecomers may be admitted to the chapel at all times except during the opening prayer and the period beginning with the blessing of the bread and ending with the completion of the passing of the water. In many meetinghouses in the Church, more people come to Sunday School than the chapel can accommodate. They are obliged to sit or stand in the foyer. In such event, the chapel doors should remain open during the sacrament prayers so that all may hear them. It is not proper to pass the sacrament to people who have not heard these prayers.

Sunday School officers and teachers should ever be mindful that tardiness is a slothful habit and can be entirely overcome, except for emergencies, with intelligent direction.

Question: Sunday School class advancement time is just around the corner. The General Board has given ages for the respective courses of study. We should like to know as of what date these ages are to be taken.

Answer: Your Sunday School Handbook gives no rigid rule on this. The individual child’s welfare should be the uppermost consideration. however, the matter of electing a date for a general guide is left to the individual stake’s decision. Some stakes follow the date fixed by the local school district. This seems a good plan, since it avoids separating children from their day school companions.

Question: We have a problem with our Genealogical Training class. There is a small group of veteran genealogists who would like new lessons each year, and ones that are not so elementary. On the other hand, we’d like to attract some new members into the class at the first of the year. What should we do? The present lessons are too elementary for the experienced genealogists and lessons they would like would be too advanced for the newcomers.

Answer: A two-year alternating course is now provided for this class. The 1954 text, Proving Your Pedigree, begins with elementary phases and ends with problems of advanced research in the various countries of Europe. The 1955 text, Saviors on Mount Zion, is especially designed for beginners and includes many motivating phases. A skilled teacher will adapt from these materials, lessons to suit the needs and interests of class members.

Question: There are some members of our ward who would like to enroll in the Investigators’ class. They feel that they need more knowledge of the first principles of the gospel. Is it all right to let them enroll?

Answer: It wold be better if they enrolled in the gospel Doctrine or one of the other elective adult classes. The Investigators’ class is for non-members and those who have recently been converted to the Church. Church members, such as Adult Aaronic Priesthood members, who have been reactivated after years away from the Church, might be invited to the Investigators’ class. But all other Church members should be encouraged to enroll in other classes.

Question: Would you advise the Sunday School to use a bulletin board? If so, what do you recommend as to size, style, type, price, place of purchase?

Answer: In answering this question, we assume that your Sunday School would like to use a bulletin board for such information as: names of persons to give 2 1/2-minute talks, announcements of special Sunday School events such as Dime Fund Sunday, “Bring a Friend Sunday,” and other such notes for the entire ward or branch membership.

If this be the case, then you might be interested in a plan that has been used successfully in some of the wards. Little mimeographed folders, distributed each week, list the Sunday School order of exercises for the worship service and reassembly. The folders also can be used for making announcements of special Sunday School events and other information for all ward or branch members. Often these folders are produced in cooperation with the bishopric or branch presidency, and also include the program for sacrament meeting and general ward or branch announcements.

Then there is the bulletin board which most meetinghouses exhibit in the foyer. It is usually used by the bishopric or branch presidency who will, no doubt, permit the Sunday School to use it for general announcements. These may be made in various sizes according to the wall space in the foyer. Prices would be determined by size and type of wood. School supply houses or cabinet makers should be able to supply definite information.

The Deseret Book Company stocks a satisfactory 1′ x 3′ hymn bulletin board for use in chapels on which to place the numbers of songs to be sung. These with set of numbers cost $10.50 at the store or $11.15 parcel postpaid.

If you have in mind a bulletin board for announcements for Sunday School officers and teachers, then it might be best to make verbal announcements at faculty meetings, coupled with duplicated slips containing pertinent information. A hectograph is an inexpensive way of making duplicate copies.



  1. It’s amazing how different things were back then. I don’t remember details, but this all “sounds” so much like Sunday School in the Provo 8th Ward back in the late 50s and early 60s.

    I am wondering if I can get a hectograph for my home office!

    Comment by Mark B. — October 30, 2013 @ 8:00 am

  2. The Investigators’ class is for non-members and those who have recently been converted to the Church. Church members, such as Adult Aaronic Priesthood members, who have been reactivated after years away from the Church, might be invited to the Investigators’ class. But all other Church members should be encouraged to enroll in other classes.

    Funny how some things haven’t changed at all.

    Comment by seth — October 30, 2013 @ 8:00 am

  3. Fun Q and A. Thanks for posting those. I did have to look up what the hec a hectograph was though.

    Comment by Carl C. — October 30, 2013 @ 8:04 am

  4. A hectograph was a standard part of my mother’s home equipment in the ’60s — in fact, there were usually two or three of them on the food storage shelves in different stages of cleaning themselves up for the next copying. I still have her recipe. I’ll do a post on hectographs in a few days, since they were such a familiar element of auxiliary life a generation ago, and so utterly unknown today.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 30, 2013 @ 8:38 am

  5. The past is a foreign country.

    Comment by Adam G. — October 30, 2013 @ 8:52 am

  6. What? So, it was like printing with Silly Putty?

    Comment by Grant — October 30, 2013 @ 9:55 am

  7. Pretty much — jelly in a cookie sheet.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 30, 2013 @ 10:30 am

  8. The Sunday School age up question put me in mind of my oldest daughter who skipped 2nd grade. Church was a problem because she was a year (and a class) younger than her peers. She eventually attended Sunday School with her grade. Young Women could not afford that flexibility given their structure. She had to really push on her Laurel project since she was away at college and in Relief Society long before turning 18. It puts me in mind a my favorite Hugh B. Brown quote, “Rules are meant to be broken, not hearts.” Giving local leaders guidelines and flexibility to meet needs makes for a better church.

    Comment by STW — October 30, 2013 @ 11:35 am

  9. The Wiki on hectographs say that their only current use is in temporary tattoos. Makes me want to go to the tattoo parlor around the corner and see if I can get one (a temporary one) for Halloween. Would it wash off by Sunday?

    Comment by Mark B. — October 30, 2013 @ 11:47 am

  10. I used hectographs. I’m looking forward to that post.

    Comment by Carol — October 31, 2013 @ 7:53 am

  11. There have been times when I walked into the foyer late for sacrament meeting just as the deacon comes out with a tray of water for the foyer crowd. I’ve wondered what I should do when they offer it to me. Now I know. It makes sense that I should listen to the prayer first.

    Comment by Carol — October 31, 2013 @ 7:55 am

  12. Yeah, while a lot of these procedure questions are no longer relevant, that one seems logical to me, too, that the ordinance is incomplete, possibly meaningless, without participation in the prayers.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 31, 2013 @ 8:08 am

  13. I remember hectographs, as well. Our age is showing.

    Also, am I the only one that finds the name of the genealogical lessons, Proving Your Pedigree, sounding a bit sinister?

    Comment by kevinf — October 31, 2013 @ 11:51 am

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