Saturday, January 30, 2010

No more memorizing?

The new (well, newish, really, since it’s a few years old by now) approach to the missionary discussions (yeah, yeah, i know, lessons—distinction without a difference, folks) gets portrayed as a huge shift from previous practice, particularly in that the full-time missionaries aren’t expected to memorize the discussions now, but rather to try to teach the various principles in their own words.

Really? This is new? I didn’t memorize the discussions when i was a full-time missionary nearly twenty years ago. Jeanne (my wife) didn’t memorize them when she was a full-time missionary almost as long ago. I’ve met very, very few people, in fact, who memorized the discussions as full-time missionaries. So how is this a big change?


Urban Koda said...

It might depend on the mission and mission president...

In the MTC (New Zealand) I was told to learn the principles and teach them in my own words.

And then I got on mission and it was memorization and the presentation using the exact words from the discussion.

I did that until I realized that people who speak English as a third language lose interest as soon as you start with "Most people believe in a supreme being".

I was chastised frequently for refusing to use the words of the prophet.

David B said...

@Urban Koda: So, according to folks in your mission, the prophet sat down and wrote every word of the discussions? You’d have thought he’d have more pressing stuff to do or something.

Heather the Mama Duk said...

When I did my mini-mission (15 years ago) they definitely did have them memorized. They spent a certain amount of time each day working on the memorization. Now, I was with them when they taught two or three discussions. Did they go by the script? Not at all. People asked questions, something came up, whatever. Sticklers probably insisted on sticking to the script, though.

Urban Koda said...

@David B. Not specifically THE prophet, but the brethren had written them, and thus they were inspired words, essentially scripture.

Didn't seem to make a lick of difference to the poor blank faces sitting across from us, to whom we may as well have been speaking Greek.

IMHO, the gospel is about personal experience, and sometimes in the relating of those personal experiences, we might strike a common chord with another human being, allowing them to evolve and grow, and the process continues, back and forth.