This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
An LDS ward in Atlanta, Ga., recently departed from the current Sunday school curriculum and developed a class more suited to the needs of a particular group of members.
The idea for the class was thought up by Relief Society President Bryndis Roberts. Rather than doctrine, it focuses more on the immediate concerns of a large number of single mothers in the ward "budgeting, discipline, conflict resolution, anger management and other topics."
In my 50-plus years as a Mormon, I've attended, taught and ditched a variety of special Sunday school classes. Gospel Doctrine, Family History, Temple Preparation, Gospel Principles, Teacher Improvement, etc.
All of those classes were approved and correlated by the LDS Church. None of them even came close to addressing the needs of my own particular special group of people those bored out of their skulls by Sunday school.
Before you say, "Well, you should go to Sunday school anyway. Maybe if you participated more, it wouldn't be boring."
I did and it wasn't. That's the problem. My way of participating when I'm bored is to pick a fight. I don't even have to agree with the side I choose. It's just a way of getting my interest up.
For example, in Family History class I quickly reached a saturation point about the importance of submitting our ancestors' names to the temple.
TEACHER: "And so, brothers and sisters, they are waiting and pleading for their temple work to be done immediately."
ME: "Hang on. In the grand scope of eternity, my ancestors haven't even been dead a minute. I'm the one with the time management problem, not them. So they can just shut up and wait their turn."
After I was lovingly uninvited to attend that class, I started the Foyer Class. It was just a group of equally bored ward members cutting Sunday school in order to discuss gospel topics of interest to us.
The course material was every bit as varied as God intended things to be ranging from mission experiences to employment to "Hell, no, I'm not shaving off my beard just because the stake president says so."
The class grew in size until members of the bishopric started dropping by and hinting that we should all be in real Sunday school. They left when we invited them to teach Foyer Class the following week.
I'd go back to Sunday school if there were classes that addressed my particular needs and interests as a member.
For example, I'd definitely sign up for Sunday school classes titled "Worthy Liberalism" and "Emergency Armed Preparedness."
Given that my spouse doesn't go to church with me a condition shared by more than a few members why not a special class for people who already know they aren't going to the Celestial Kingdom?
"Gospel Impracticalities" is a great title for a class that examines what parts of the plan of salvation actually work.
"The Odd Testament" would certainly keep my interest up if every Sunday were an in-depth examination of the stupidest things human beings have ever convinced themselves to do in the name of God.
It might happen, but I won't hold my breath. In the meantime, I'll stay with the most remedial Sunday school class offered the ward nursery. They got snacks.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.