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Question

 

Gramps,
Having been a member of the church for well over fifty years I am now feeling somewhat tired by the repetition of  teachings of the church every Sunday. I am longing for something new to be taught i.e The Discourses of Brigham Young and the like. I have reached a point where I am not going to church as often as I used. I feel that the leaders keep much from us regarding the early church. I would like to know the how and why of events that are not taught to such as I.

R.H

 

Answer

 

Dear R.H,

I’m sorry to hear that you are not attending church as often as you could.  If I, a stranger, feel dismay about that, imagine what the Lord must feel.

R.H. I think part of your trouble is a misunderstanding of the purpose for going to church, but I will address that more in a moment.  First, let’s discuss your thirst for knowledge.  Truly having a thirst for knowledge is a commendable attribute.  And we are fortunate to live in an age where learning is choice. So many resources are available literally at our fingertips.  We have wonderful scholars in the church from whom you can spend a lifetime learning from, and you don’t have to look very far to find them.  Simply go to deseretbook.com and you will find enough books to keep you busy and learning new things for a long time.  And of course, don’t forget your scriptures, we could study them for a lifetime and never glean all that is there for us.  As you study consider the words of Joseph Smith.

 “The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching.”

I realize however that your question was more along the lines of why the church lessons are repetitious.  I believe there are many reasons.

1.Repetition is the key to learning.  If undertook the counsel recently given in general conference to ask the Lord, “what lack I yet?” or ask Him what He would have you learn, I suspect  that He might surprise you be asking you to learn about something you consider very basic.  Many of the things we learn at church seem very basic, indeed we teach them to primary children!  But don’t let pride deceive you.  There are deeper layers to these “simple things” we discuss over and over and over again in our church meetings.

​2. Another reason we have the same lessons and themes is explained by the old saying, “The same old stuff for the same old sinners until they stop sinning the same old sins.”

3. At any given time in a class at church there is likely to be a mixture of “old-time” members such as yourself, new converts, and recently reactivated members.  The beauty of the gospel is that through the Spirit, it can be understood on many different levels by people at different times in their lives, thus if people are in tune with the Spirit, a new convert and an “old timer” can learn from the same lesson.

4.  Maybe Heavenly Father simply wants to teach some of us patience, humility and trust in Him.  “Do not run faster than you have strength” he tells us.  If we are not given more “meat” perhaps it is because the Lord in His wisdom knows we have not fully comprehended the information He has already given us.

You might ask if most of your “deeper” learning will come from personal scripture study and thoughtful books you find at Deseret Book, then why attend church.  Simply put, we don’t attend church for us.  We attend church because that is the manner God has designed for us to worship Him.  We go to church to partake of the Sacrament.  We go to church to serve others.  We go to church to show the Lord that we are willing to do whatever He asks, even if we find it sometimes boring or tedious.  Remember through Isaiah the Lord counseled us that “His ways are not our ways.”

You mentioned that you want to know more about the early church.  Our Leaders have been addressing this issue here are two wonderful resources for you to begin your studies the Joseph Smith Papers, and The Gospel Topics Essays (the topics are listed on the right hand side of the page)

The Joseph Smith Papers

Gospel Topic Essays

The most important thing, R.H. is to remember that Christ gave His life for us.  He loves you, and He has asked you to attend church weekly, won’t you do it for Him?

Sincerely,

 

Gramps

 

 

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