413: The New Plan for Relief Society and Adult Priesthood Meetings

On 25 August, the Church announced a new plan for Relief Society and Priesthood meetings to begin January 2018. Instead of focusing two weeks each month on lessons drawn from a teachings of the prophets manual (this year studying President Gordon B. Hinckley), those two weeks will focus on recent conference addresses, but will allow each individual Relief Society or quorum to choose which ones to focus on. The first week of the month will now emphasize counseling together about local issues and needs. And the fourth week will take on a topic outlined by the general church leadership, with the November and May issues of the Liahona and Ensign alerting us to those topics and providing guides and ideas for studying them.

This episode gathers three wonderful church watchers to talk together about this new plan. Stephen Carter, Cynthia Winward, and Walt Wood join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon to discuss how each of these elements of the new plan might unfold. What do they think are the best features? What are their hopes and dreams for those? What drawbacks do they foresee, and how might we mitigate against them?

In the second half, Stephen lays out two different models for church teaching–one that we usually default to in our gatherings together, which he calls the “hermetic” model; the other, which only occasionally rises up but which he hopes can become much more the norm, that he calls the “exploratory” model. The whole panel then reacts to this new ideal and shares ways they can see those of us in the internet Mormon world aiding in its coming into being.
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Links:
From lds.org:

“Church Announces ‘Come Follow Me’ for Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society”

“A New Sunday Experience,” FAQs about the new program

“379–380: Effective Teaching in the Church,” Mormon Matters, 6 April 2017 (featuring Stephen Carter and Kristine Haglund)

Dallin H. Oaks, “General Authorities Teach General Rules,” video clip of a section from, “The Dedication of a Lifetime,” delivereed May 1, 2005.

Stephen Carter, “How to Use the Total Perspective Vortex in Your Very Own Sunday School Class,” Sunstone, March 2005

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