Book of Mormon Study Group Policy

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dlwormell-p40
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Book of Mormon Study Group Policy

Postby dlwormell-p40 » Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:14 pm

I wanted to get some friends together to start a Book of Mormon study group. Is their any church policy that opposes or supports such an idea? Can anyone refrence that policy?

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:46 pm

dlwormell wrote:I wanted to get some friends together to start a Book of Mormon study group. Is their any church policy that opposes or supports such an idea? Can anyone refrence that policy?

I can't think of a single reason why that would be against any policy. I'm sure we could come up with hundreds of scriptures and General Authority quotes to support your proposal though!

Study, study, study away!

jbh001
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Postby jbh001 » Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:52 am

Several decades ago (1970s, 1980s) "study groups" were disbanded because they started to get off track, though I can't remember the official reason or purpose for discontinuing them.

This would be a good question to ask an old-timer in the ward that has the institutional memory of why that happened.

Having said that, some study groups were allowed to continue to meet under certain circumstances, but those ended up being mostly for social interaction and to maintain the friendships already established. My parent's "study group" still continued to meet a few times a year, but it usually ended up being more of a dinner party or having a recently returned missionary give a slide-show presentation about the country they served in.

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Postby kennethjorgensen » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:02 am

dlwormell wrote:I wanted to get some friends together to start a Book of Mormon study group. Is their any church policy that opposes or supports such an idea? Can anyone refrence that policy?


Independent study classes are possible for certain groups but you need to speak to your bishop about it as only he can determine what is appropiate for your local situation.

There is nothing stopping friends from having get-togethers and study together but again here it would be adviceable to approach the bishop and bounce the idea off him. Tell him what is you need and he will be able to help you and give you some good advice along the way.

dmaynes
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Postby dmaynes » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:35 am

jbh001 wrote:Several decades ago (1970s, 1980s) "study groups" were disbanded because they started to get off track, though I can't remember the official reason or purpose for discontinuing them.

This would be a good question to ask an old-timer in the ward that has the institutional memory of why that happened.

Having said that, some study groups were allowed to continue to meet under certain circumstances, but those ended up being mostly for social interaction and to maintain the friendships already established. My parent's "study group" still continued to meet a few times a year, but it usually ended up being more of a dinner party or having a recently returned missionary give a slide-show presentation about the country they served in.


There is a potential problem with study groups. If the group decides to search for "greater things" (3 Ne 26:9-10), it is possible for the study group to become more interesting to members of the group than the Gospel Doctrine or PH/RS lessons. A dominant individual in such a situation may lead others astray. In the past, a few groups that started in a seemingly innocent manner have resulted in some group members losing the Spirit and leaving the Church.

I have always felt that if Sunday School or Priesthood was not interesting, as a member of the class, I have a responsibility to be positive, supportive, share, and do what I can to help accomplish the goals of the class.

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:21 am

dmaynes wrote:There is a potential problem with study groups. If the group decides to search for "greater things" (3 Ne 26:9-10), it is possible for the study group to become more interesting to members of the group than the Gospel Doctrine or PH/RS lessons. A dominant individual in such a situation may lead others astray. In the past, a few groups that started in a seemingly innocent manner have resulted in some group members losing the Spirit and leaving the Church.

I have always felt that if Sunday School or Priesthood was not interesting, as a member of the class, I have a responsibility to be positive, supportive, share, and do what I can to help accomplish the goals of the class.

I definitely wouldn't outlaw study groups unless there is a specific policy prohibiting it though. I guess I would take these words of caution into consideration though. Perhaps ask yourself, "What can we do to make sure we don't wander in our group study?"

I think one potential answer could be to only focus on the topics discussed in the Sunday School manuals. You could use the group study as a preparation for Sunday School.

I do agree somewhat with what others have said in that you should probably ask yourself what the real purpose for the group study is. Is it because you are not getting enough out of Sunday School? I'm not sure that is a good enough reason, just as dmaynes hinted toward. Is it just that you want some extra gospel discussion beside Church and personal study? That is certainly a wonderful goal, but are Institute or other already-established means available to you? I would go with Church sponsored means as much as possible before starting your own study group.

With all of that said, I still can't think of a policy against such a study group. I would just make it a rule to keep the study group in line with Church topics and teachings as much as possible. Your goal should probably be to have the study group supplement personal study and Church classes, never replacing them.

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Postby lajackson » Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:35 pm

Speaking personally, I am not aware of any policy that opposes the idea. I think the cautions that have been mentioned in other answers should be carefully considered. In the 1980s, there were some specialty groups that got off course and a policy statement was issued, but that did not have anything to do with scripture study.

However, a scripture study group can easily get off track. I believe it would be wise for you to speak with your bishop about it. He will know you and the other members and be able to provide guidance that will help you avoid some of the pitfalls. He will also know what other events of this sort are taking place, if any.

And, as bishop, he also needs to be aware that the group is meeting in his ward. From personal experience, I know that it is very easy for those who are not participating in such a group to misunderstand what is happening. If your bishop is already aware of the group, he will be able to put those rumors to rest before they become a serious problem in the ward.

All that said, your question really is a matter of policy, so it more properly should be answered by your priesthood leaders. And this forum is intended to answer technical questions, not policy questions.

So, I could tell you how I access the scriptures electronically, the advantages and disadvantages of using a PDA to give a talk in Church when called on at the last minute, and technical things like that. [grin]

But, anything I said about the possibility of having a group would just be my own opinion, and you would want to ask your bishop about it anyway.

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Postby russellhltn » Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:10 am

I want to thank everyone for their comments. But I need to emphasize, this forum is for technology and clerk support matters. It's not for discussion on policy - especially policy in areas outside of technology and clerking. :)

Thank you for your understanding.
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