The other day I receive a phone call from Peggy Stack up in Salt Lake asking me about the new PH/RS Manual and a post I did 6 months ago about it. We had a very nice chat and she did a write up for this Saturday’s Tribune. (She was extremely kind and classy. She made me a reader for life in just a few minutes.)
Anyway, she mentioned to me that she had previously talked to Steve Evans (see her article) who was dreading the new manual because, well, it’s the old manual and we’ve all read it a million times.
Here’s why I’m not worried:
1.- It’s been the same manual for the last 10 years, people. Brigham Young had chapters on all the same topics, then so did Joseph F. Smith, and all the others up to Joseph Smith. You could lie to yourself and say they expressed these ideas very differently, but let’s be honest, once the material is all correlated, it’s all pretty similar. So this is not going to degrade the lessons in any way. It’ll be more of the same.
2.- Lessons will improve. This one is easy. I know lessons will improve because there is nothing worse than lessons which include long recitations of GA quotes with no discussion, and that is really what the design of the previous manual called for from the average teacher. The new manual at least calls for some open discussion and doesn’t have any big long quotes to read. You can high-jack the lesson and take it anywhere you want with these questions.
3.- In PH, these lessons are generally less than 20 minutes long. I don’t know about what happened in RS, but I know we never got through all the material in PH for the old manuals. We mainly just read a big quote or two. So the new manual lends itself more to getting to the point of the lessons.
4.- I’ll be in Young Mens, so I’ll never see this manual.