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Radio Free Mormon: 185: Teaching at Church

RFM has a lot of experience teaching at church over the past four decades!  He presented some great stories and thoughts on the subject to a special gathering of Denver Snuffer followers in Europe!


19 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 185: Teaching at Church”

  1. I heard that comment about not improving on the Book in regards to Especially for Mormons many times. –Famine in the land- comes to mind. I found some further light when I found Hyrum Andrus on YouTube. I looked up The Teaching Company and that is now called The Great Courses. It looks like a great resource. I was counselled to teach out of the manual only because inspired people had prepared the manual. I’m sure there was a general authority quote to go along with that. I often found that the rare renegade who didn’t use the manual was far more interesting. I think back to your podcast True Believing Mormon for the way teaching and learning should be. Valuable podcast. Thanks to RFM and all who contributed.

    1. Thanks so much!

      Wasn’t Hyrum Andrus great?

      I think he had four volumes he wrote about LDS doctrine, and I managed to get ahold of only one.

      This was many years ago, now, but I still remember him with great fondness.

  2. Thanks so much for that episode. Loved it. I sailed through my ironing which I’m always loath to do lol. It took exactly the episode time to complete it.
    It was by reading Passing the Heavenly gift that led me to really think outside of the box where Mormonism was concerned. It was an eye opener for me, and I wanted to know more.
    I remember at the time I was really scared to read it, it being outside the church curriculum. I even bought it for my father in Law Dave (this is the Yorkshire Dave that comments a lot and has a wicked sense of humour, we love him to bits)and remember feeling a twinge of guilt at the time because I knew it would change things for him.

    Having spent forty years myself in the church as a TBM (haven’t attended for over a year now)I have taught many lessons both in RS and especially primary. Years ago I got comments and murmurs for showing a video to the kids which was not church approved . It was about Jesus ministry and it was in animation, the ones where real puppets were used. It was so good and the kids loved it. The voice of Jesus was the guy who played Voldemort in the Harry Potter movies Ralph Fiennes.

    We had a Sunday school teacher who was so good, he taught outside the box, he was familiar with Hebrew and Greek so his lessons were always interesting, But of course some members didn’t like that he didn’t follow the manual to the letter. Well I do t think he actually followed the manual at all. Perhaps very loosely.

    I had even toyed with the idea of joining a fellowship myself but for now there’s a lot of info I need to process, and more to learn.
    It’s nice though that there is a safe place to discuss different points without being judged on ones point of view.

    1. HI, Pam,

      I remember going out into the chapel parking lot one Sunday during meetings (a common occurrence for me), and finding another member of the ward sitting behind the wheel of her car and reading Passing the Heavenly Gift!

      It is something a lot of Mormons are definitely hungry for, and which fills a need they are not having filled at church, but at the same time it is something they know they aren’t supposed to let other Mormons know they are reading.

      Sort of like the old Playboy in the brown paper bag thing.

      I once knew an older sister who would take the dust jacket off hard cover bodice rippers, slip a church book dust jacket on, and then take it to church so she would look like she was reading approved church material.

      True story.

      1. They guy I mentioned in my comments who taught an outside the box Sunday school lesson, once he had been released he would often sit in his car in the parking lot during the lessons.
        He obviously found sitting in the car more interesting.

        Made me laugh about the woman who switched the dust jacket of her book. So comical what lengths we have to go to sometimes to hide our true motives lol.
        church would be far more interesting if people just said what they really thought during lessons. Now I would go to church for that experience.

    2. Pam, my daughter introduced me to that book a few years ago as well. It’s good to meet more of Dave Y’s family. I hope to hear from you again. I feel like these comments are a healthy place. After each episode I like to consider all the comments. It’s sort of like therapy for the walking wounded. I figure that when we die we will get to spend some time with the best therapists available.

      1. Thanks Jim,
        I agree this is a good place to go to just to have the comfort of knowing there are others going through similar experiences.
        At first it can be a very lonely place to find ones self so having the podcast and reading the comments help a lot. Yes it’s def good therapy and a good place to begin to heal.

  3. A whole podcast on the Emperor’s New Clothes without ever mentioning The Emperor’s New Clothes! That’s very meta. Or maybe secret/sacred 🙂

    As a Brit, I loved to hear the English accents too. More! More!
    Is it possible to add the “Fellowship Locator” link in the show notes?

  4. I really identified with being starved for meat and not having that need met during the 3 hour meetings. This happened so regularly that I began listening to one or two Christian radio sermons every Sunday while showering, dressing, and doing my hair prior to attending my regular church services. Great podcast!!!

    1. Agreed. If other Christians want to attract Mormons they should do what an old Christian friend did to me: he never criticised my church. He just gave me materials showing that his church was better. Talk tapes by Tony Campolo. “only love can make a miracle” by Mahesh Chavda – a guy who actually raised the dead! (An easier job in countries where death certificates are less thorough, but still impressive). And my friend’s personal example as full of life and freedom.

      Mormonism’s problem is not the Internet. Mormonism’s problem is correlation. Baptisms started to decline in the late 1980s, before the Internet took hold, but it was the first generation of missionaries raised exclusively on correlated pap. Correlation killed the spirit. Good churches and believers (like Snuffer) have some kind of spirit. Mormonism does not.

    2. Hi, Denise,

      Back during the 1980s, I would often go home from church and turn on the TBN to find out what Jan and Paul Crouch were up to.

      And then the PTL for the latest on Jim and Tammy Bakker. And Jessica Hahn.

      And if I had time, on to Jimmy Swaggart to hear some real down-home country-style preaching!

  5. Dave Y
    I have just been listening to a man who has basically been talking about himself for the best part of two hours so at this juncture of my comments I would usually be thinking of something mean, insulting and scathing to throw at this chap, however, I have already tried that and fallen foul of certain of his admirers who rang me and insisted that I should apologise for my disgraceful behaviour so I will desist. However, it was noticed that when I made the comment that he put me to sleep no-one sprang to his defence. Mmmmm I wonder why.
    Please do not take me seriously RFM this is just my way having a bit of fun, in 4 years time I will be 80 and RFM you are the only chance that I will ever have of having a little fun at the expense of an American Lawyer more famous than Perry Mason a man at the top of his profession renowned for his honesty, integrity and reliability. A man who can sing, dance, perform the most amazing magic tricks a man who is a renowned and much admired podcaster who does his best and much more to bring to light the real truth behind a certain organisation that calls itself the only true and living church on the face of the Earth and I am so grateful that he does.
    Teaching in the Church! I found myself agreeing with all that you had to say and now that it is so correlated it is even worse than it was before. Every lesson, every sacrament talk has to be based around what they (THE Q15) say or have said. The greatest Sunday School Teacher in our ward, although completely TBM and totally steeped in the apologetics stance, never ever stuck to the manual and his lessons were brilliant. He could expound the scriptures like no-one else I know so they called him as Sunday School President and that stopped his off manual teaching.
    Over 40 years of lessons, talks and testimonies I could never remember from one week to the next what had been taught the week before unless something daft or unusual had been said. From the thousands of testimonies I have heard there is only one that I remember and that is the “Beans on Toast Testimony”. Yep that’s the one! In the middle of his testimony this brother in his fifties so he is not a kid and not a convert he was born in the church, been on a mission raised a wonderful Mormon Family with sons out on missions he starts talking about his favourite snack that happens to be Beans on Toast. Now he has got my attention and starts telling us that he will not eat any of the beans that fall off the toast because if they fall off they are unworthy and not fit to eat. By now I am nearly choking trying my best not laugh and not quite making it so people are turning looking at me slowly going red in the face doing my best to stifle the choking guffaws emanating from my tightly closed lips even as I am writing this I am still laughing. Every time I saw this brother after that I made it my mission to teach him the principles of forgiveness impressing on him the need to forgive those naughty beans that fall off his toast.
    Now let’s get to your “Teaching in the Church” marathon. Remember don’t take me too seriously because I do have a high regard for you. I enjoyed your remarks and the remarks from your son and the other members of “The fellowship of the Ring”. However, I already know the one thing that I will always remember from your loquacious rendition and this is the Barn Door Incident.
    You tell us that you gave the most wonderful exciting and powerful lesson strutting around the packed relief society room all eyes transfixed on you the best teacher in the Stake expecting the usual well deserved praise after your awesome inspirational lesson only to discover that your flies had been undone for the whole of the lesson. What puzzles me is why someone didn’t tell you a lot sooner as would have been the case in the UK especially in Yorkshire. You would have been alerted to the fact gleefully by some Tyke from the back shouting “Brother your barn door is open and your pony’s nearly escaped twice”.
    I will no doubt forget most of what you said but I will always remember you teaching the whole lesson with your flies undone. No wonder they put you on the naughty list and banned you from teaching ever again.
    Joking aside the Mormon Church gets worse with every decision that they make. The meeting that is supposed to be the most spiritual the Sacrament Meeting is so bad it is embarrassing; this of course, is not the fault of the members as they are never taught even the basics of public speaking so how can they possibly be expected to give quality uplifting talks being so nervous and unprepared. A visit to an alternative Christian Church meeting soon makes one realise how big the gap is between them and us. In the UK for Armistice Day 11 November 2018 we were given leave by Q15 to go and participate in this day of remembrance for our fallen heroes where ever we felt appropriate for ourselves. Christine and I took the opportunity to go to the Little Baptist Chapel that my ancestors built up in the hills near where we live where we had a wonderful uplifting service and all that goes with on this sacred day of remembrance. Just the first few lines of my journal entry may just be enough to encourage all to venture out as there are many small congregations who would welcome your presence and experience.
    We walked through the gates adorned with poppies and approached the closed front doors it was so quiet we began to wonder if anyone else had actually arrived yet. Our feet had no sooner touched the first step when the door suddenly sprang open and we received the warmest welcome from two ladies who were there to meet and greet all who arrived. “How did you know we were there”? I asked. They both pointed to a spy hole hidden in the door.
    The doors were kept closed against the icy blast of winter but each Sunday these two ladies never miss anyone approaching ever ready to make all feel welcome. We were pleasantly surprised to see so many people as we were ushered through more doors into the warm cosy chapel. Spotlessly clean bright red fitted carpet covered the floors contrasting perfectly with the polished shine of the rich woodwork panels.

    I have read Denver’s book and all the talks he gave around the US so I am familiar with his opinions.

    Know nothing of the UK/EU Fellowship though

    Thank you RFM for all that you do it is appreciated.

    1. I count myself lucky if there was just the one story that sticks out to you, Dave Y!

      That is much more than is remembered from 99% of talks and speeches, isn’t it?

      I don’t suppose you ever read Stephen King’s short story, “My Pretty Pony,” have you?


  6. RFM…that was very enjoyable. Loved hearing from the chip off the old block and the funny, dark father /son survival stories LOL. There’s a lot of love there.

    I related to much of your experience teaching in the church and being sidelined for your creativity and devotion…for your relentless attempts to breath something interesting and new into the stiflingly boring 4 year cycle.

    Im really glad you thought to ask them how the church was going over there. Its hard to get that kind of information.

    How stupid did your quorum leaders think you were not to think their tactics to get you in line weren’t completely transparent ??
    Kind of hurtful and insulting….more obtuse really.

    I felt some sadness as I pictured this little outcast group of misfits doing their best to salvage something of value from what they have left. Mormonism really does a number on us. The lucky ones get away. God bless us all!

    1. So glad you liked the podcast, Angie!

      The part I liked the best was at the end when Jonathan started dishing stories on me.

      I had honestly forgotten entirely about those incidents!

      Little wonder he went off the rails some time back. ;^)

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