Elder Holland is going to address the teachers of the Church in a broadcast soon and the Church has invited questions and comments. It tempted me and I wrote up a comment, but I’ve decided not to post it. But I’ll leave it here in case I want to build on it or change it or see my own progression as I react to changes such at these.
As I watched teachers teach under the “old” manuals, problems usually arose when the teacher thought that the manual’s lesson *was* scripture (that is, inspired revelation that they had to follow exactly), rather than a “suggested lesson outline” as it called itself. The introductions clearly explained that the scriptures and the Spirit were what taught, and the outlines were simply an idea of how to do that, but most teachers didn’t seem to approach it that way. I really liked the broadcast in 2007 and how much that helped.
I see that with “Come, Follow Me”, since lessons aren’t given one lesson outline, teachers can’t confuse a manual lesson outline. That seems to be a great way around the problem.
However, I think there is a potential pitfall all over again to see the *program* as the inspired thing that will save souls, rather than the scriptures and the Spirit. I’m just worried that we’re so excited about this new program that we’ll sabotage it from the beginning.
Also, in teaching and in councils, I’m afraid that we’re so happy to get people talking that we’ve forgotten that there is a “head” to these meetings. It isn’t right that each person should say their opinion and everyone’s opinion is equal. It also isn’t right that we should leave people out or belittle. It seems to me that what the scriptures call describe is a group of people who come together, who are gathered in his name. Then as discussion proceeds, it is hoped that the Spirit will be working on each person in the group. As people share, it is hoped that the Spirit is helping them say much more than their opinion. It may not be something we can recognize, or that we know is for sure from the Spirit, but we have that hope as we discuss. Finally, the scriptures also say that there is someone who is the “head,” who is given the responsibility and so also the spiritual gifts, to discern and listen and then put it all together. (I like the imagine of a head, because this is how a body works. A brain needs all the signals it receives from the nerves throughout the body in order to process what is going on and make a decision.) A imagine a “head” in a council as someone who can listen to people and listen to the spirit, and then make a suggestion of how to proceed and see how the Spirit responds (by listening to the Spirit, and listening to the reactions of the council). The teaching situation is similar. A teacher is still a called leader, and still has spiritual gifts to do the work they are called to do. But they also need to recognize that those in the classroom also have the Spirit, potentially, to guide them to say inspired things. But the teacher listens and thinks and ideally is able to guide the classroom discussion by the Spirit, in response both to the classmates and the Spirit. It is a “guide” sort of situation, but not stripped of the gifts and responsibility to be a “head” in the classroom.