Note: During my travels this past week, I had opportunity to go to a fine museum, but not to write a post for today. So…I pulled up a previous post that fit my mood.
Here are some thoughts that have crossed my mind regarding my Gospel Doctrine class the past few months:
• The Gathering of Israel? Again? Didn’t we just talk about this a couple weeks ago?
• Tithing? Seriously? When is the last time anyone said anything new about tithing?
• Let me guess…the Plan of Salvation. Again. When is the last time I learned something new about the Plan?
I’m sure not a single one of you have ever had similar thoughts. It’s just me. I am weak. Although, it is true that I have probably sat through – or taught – 700,000 lessons on the Word of Wisdom. (Most of which got hijacked by people preaching their own personal views instead of doctrine.)
I know, I know – repetition is important. President Hinckley said, “Repetition is a law to learning.” (Link) So, I’m not going to go off the farm and break the law. I’ll still teach the basic doctrines of the church, even though there might not be anything necessarily “new” being taught.
But maybe, just maybe, there is more to what is being taught than just the doctrine or principle that is in front of us that day…
To demonstrate what I am talking about, I will employ Ferris Bueller’s friend Cameron, and the painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of LaGrande Jatte.” by Georges Serrat. (We got more culture here at MMM than a case of Greek yogurt.)
But I’m going to do it backwards. In the film, Cameron is mesmerized by this painting, and I will attach the clip at the end of the post.
Here is what Cameron saw – backwards.
I am getting older, and have a better handle on some of the points of the doctrine of the gospel, I feel that my method of learning has begun to evolve. I find myself being less focused on the individual doctrine or principle being taught, and more focused on how that concept fits into the bigger picture of the Gospel.
And it is beautiful.
Everything is interconnected. You cannot talk about the Word of Wisdom without seeing how it is a part of the Plan of Salvation, you cannot talk about the Plan of Salvation without acknowledging the Atonement. You cannot talk about the Atonement without understanding faith. It all ties together to create one incredible, beautiful painting that we call the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Yes, staring at the same dot time after time can get boring, and can become of little benefit. But if we look to see how that little dot fits into the bigger picture, we can watch it become an essential part of the whole.
And it isn’t just about teaching and learning in the classroom – it is about life.
Elder David Bednar said this:
Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33). (Link here)
Repetition is a “law of learning,” but while the teaching may be focused on a speck of color, our learning can be in the seeking out of the big, glorious picture. So next time you are at Church, and the speaker or the teacher says “Today we will be discussing ‘Repentence.'” No groaning, please.