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Recently the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints changed Sunday church service from three hours to two. And no one was happier about it than I was.
Okay, possibly parents of young children. And Primary presidencies. And teenagers. All right, let’s face it: this change made a lot of people happy. But anybody who knows me knows I have been preaching the virtues of two-hour church for over a decade now. So naturally I felt the change was inspired (although a little long in coming).
Consequences - Announcement - Church - Announcement - Gospel
But there are always unintended consequences. Attached to the announcement of shortened church was also the announcement that the Gospel Essentials class—a class taught at the same time as the traditional adult Sunday School class, but directed at new members and those thinking about joining the church—had been eliminated. From now on all adults would be attending the traditional Gospel Doctrine class (which focuses on one book of scripture a year) together.
This affected me because I—along with our ward missionaries—taught the Gospel Essentials class. And I loved that class, both being in it and teaching it. Primarily because over the last year or so it had somehow evolved into something a little different.
Ward - Lot - Baptisms - Someone - Church
Our ward hasn’t had a lot of convert baptisms recently, so we would rarely get someone investigating the church in there. But over time it organically became an alternative for those who, for one reason or another, didn’t want to attend the traditional Gospel Doctrine class. It became a place for those who were in some ways struggling with their faith. Who had a lot of questions and concerns. Who were looking for a safe space with fellow members to discuss those things, but couldn’t find it anywhere else. And who would otherwise spend the Sunday school hour hanging out in the foyer (I’m...
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