I am a Gospel Doctrine teacher in my ward and I love the job. I like talking about the scriptures with ward members and usually I have to restrain myself from indulging in my interest in symbols, questions of language and translation, New Testament history, etc. I understand that the class isn’t a scholarly class and I avoid making it one. As I see it, my job is to discuss the Good News with members of the class, not to indulge in my scholarly interests, and I try to stick to the job. However I’m finding it next to impossible to get interested in teaching one lesson on the book of Revelation, much less two.
Joseph Smith said “It is not very essential for the elders to have knowledge in relation to the meaning of beasts, and heads and horns, and other figures made use of in the revelations; still, it may be necessary, to prevent contention and division and do away with suspense. If we get puffed up by thinking that we have much knowledge, we are apt to get a contentious spirit, and correct knowledge is necessary to cast out that spirit. The evil of being puffed up with correct (though useless) knowledge is not so great as the evil of contention. (TPJS 287). As I understand that, he is saying that knowing about the heads and horns is useless, though God has revealed some of the meaning of the symbols so that the High Priests won’t be able to get into contentious arguments about them.
I don’t want to spend class time teaching what is useless about Revelation, but I’m having a hard time coming up with anything else. (The suggested lesson in the manual seems to me to focus on the useless stuff.) Any suggestions?