Ch-ch-ch-changes

December 29, 2009 | 53 comments
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It appears that several church programs are changing in 2010.

We’ve been talking about the change from the Teachings of the Prophets books to Gospel Principles for PH/RS since that news first broke this summer.

The YW Personal Progress program is changing, with the addition of some scripture bookmarks, the official incorporation of “virtue,” a redesigned medallion, and something else I’m forgetting.

The names of the Primary classes are changing. My children are confused and angry that they’ll be in the “same” class again next year. We’ve tried to explain, but . . . (This is one of those changes that, I think, will be good in the long run, but a pain in the short run.)

The booklet for Primary that covers the topics for Sharing Time appears to have changed for the better: I see many more ideas for Sharing Time, and really good hands-on ones at that. (Bet everyone continues to ignore the direction to hold the program in the fourth quarter, however.)

Did I miss anything?

P.S.–I hate change.

53 Responses to Ch-ch-ch-changes

  1. Idahospud on December 29, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    There’s the name change from “Enrichment” to just “Relief Society.”

  2. Julie M. Smith on December 29, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Yes, Idahospud. Apparently in my ward the new name is “Enrichment . . . or . . . whatever.”

  3. sl on December 29, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Hmmm, too bad there’s nothing here to make Sunday’s less busy and more of a day of rest.

    Get rid of Sunday School and move to a two hour block! Write you congressman.

  4. Ardis Parshall on December 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    The church magazines are changing. Apparently a decision has been made that 90% of the articles must be no longer than 500 words, preferably shorter. Some articles in the online January issue are under 50 words.

  5. Reese Dixon on December 29, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    I’m not against the Personal Progress changes, per se – I think the girls will like the scripture bookmarks – but I get absolutely white hot mad that we get *yet another* superficial change while we still have to teach out of manuals that have been mostly untouched since the 70′s, no matter what the publication dates say.

  6. Randy B. on December 29, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Ardis, is that really true? That just strikes me as so odd.

  7. makakona on December 29, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    wait, what is changing in primary? no one has said anything in our ward, but then no one had heard of the new nursery manual till i brought my month-old one in.

  8. NoCoolName_Tom on December 29, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Re 7: Not much. Valiant 12 is becoming Valiant 11 and so on down the line. Basically, every class number is becoming the age that the students enter it with instead of leave it with.

  9. JrL on December 29, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Finally the Primary and the Sunday School will have coordinated class names? I think that before, a child went from Valient 12 to Sunday School 12. Now everyone will have a class numbered according to their age on January 1. Makes sense to me.

  10. Paul B. on December 29, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Not a member of the RS gender, but I thought the weekday meeting name changed from “Homemaking” to “Enrichment” to “Home Family and Personal Enrichment” to something like “the meeting formerly known as Home Family and Personal Enrichment” to “Relief Society.”

    What is the naming sequence of this meeting?

  11. Julie M. Smith on December 29, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Yes, Ardis, I noticed that as well. Very short articles. Also, the Visiting Teaching message was moved from near the back to right near the HT message. Also, there were tie-ins for youth.

  12. dangermom on December 29, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    I hadn’t heard about the Primary class name changes. but sure. The new Sharing Time booklet does look good. But I’m not sure what you mean by ignoring the directions about having the program in the 4th quarter? Don’t most people have it around October? (When it is really tricky to schedule because of Stake Conference.)

  13. Julie M. Smith on December 29, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    dangermom, the directions in that booklet and the CHI are to hold it in the 4th quarter. Most wards (in my experience–I have no idea if this is a regional thing?) hold it at the end of Sept. When I asked why (because, in my opinion, that is a terrible time given that you’ve only had 2-3 weeks of kids back from vacation to work seriously on it AND you end up with this huge dead space for the rest of the year . . .), I was told that it was because it inflates the sac. mtg. attendance and therefore the ward budget.

    After scraping myself off of the floor, I have made it my mission in life to gripe about this practice given even the slightest opportunity.

  14. makakona on December 29, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    i’m missing something… so, sunbeams has always been 3-turning-4 and ctr5 was 4-turning-5. but now ctr5 is 5-turning-6? so what are the 4-turning-5′s called? is there ctr4 now?

  15. NoCoolName_Tom on December 29, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Yep.

  16. Coffinberry on December 29, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Lol. We’re having a Meet-your-teacher Activity for Primary Saturday. The children in our Formerly Valiant-11 Primary Class think it is very funny that they will come to the activity to meet their teachers (yup, me and my husband again) and the name of their class will be Valiant-11, again.

    It is still the largest class in Primary (we take up three rows of chairs).

  17. Alison Moore Smith on December 29, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    I have made it my mission in life to gripe about this practice given even the slightest opportunity.

    Julie, another reason to love you.

    Why not just start at 3 and let the kids move up in Primary like they do in YW/YM? Then you avoid the weird half in Primary and half in youth program problem AND the only one lone 11 year old sitting in Sharing Time waiting to finally turn 12 and wanting to die problem.

    The YW program was changed repeatedly during my tenure in YW (it was once called “New Beginnings”) and, seriously, it just made me crazy. No continuity at all. Do over. Do over. Do over. It changed between my graduation (1982) and the first time I served in YW (in 1991) — going from a goal setting program that promoted a well-rounded individual (cultural refinement, world of nature, education, or some such) — to a values focused thing, almost entirely spiritually based. It has changed multiple times since my oldest daughter started mutual and when my youngest daughter started this year.

    I’ve never understood the values idea. There is so much overlap that it never really seemed intuitive. (Divine Nature vs. Individual Worth???)

    And don’t get me started on Activity Day (aka Achievement Days), Faith in God (aka Gospel in Action).

    Although I’ve only had one child in scouts for one year (and made every possible attempt to stay as far from anything scoutish as possible until that time), it seems to me that scouting has been relatively consistent for the past 50 years. Can’t we possibly create something for YW that has some lasting value and that makes sense (and, perhaps, that will still make sense to the NEXT YW general presidency that is called…)

    Augh. Said too much already.

    For we are, we are, we are the Targeteers!

  18. Alison Moore Smith on December 29, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Julie, you have to change the title. I can’t possibly sing it without the correct number of syllables! It’s either four ch’s before the word or two! Wah!

    Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
    (Virtue we will gain).
    Ch-ch-changes
    I can’t just marry any lout.
    Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
    (Virtue we will gain).
    Ch-ch-changes
    Gonna have to be an Eagle Scout.

  19. Martin on December 29, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    #13 Julie,

    You’re absolutely right! Our ward did our primary program in October, and we do regret it. A few hundred extra dollars in the budget sure would help (so would fewer cub scout belt loops — those things add up!)

  20. dangermom on December 29, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    “I was told that it was because it inflates the sac. mtg. attendance and therefore the ward budget. ”

    Huh. We’ve always had it in October, as late as possible, so we can collect all the talks from the kids–10 months is not all that long to get something from every kid. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a ward that did it earlier. Maybe we’re just not very good with money.

  21. Ardis Parshall on December 29, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    I actually copied some articles from the January Ensign into my word processor so that I could count the words. The main article, the First Presidency message, came in at 1300-something (minus pull quotes, “how to teach this,” “dumbing this down for youth” and other features that do not add to the depth or content of the article itself). Most of the others I tested (I didn’t do all) came in at just under 500. “World Briefs” truly are brief — around 70 words. Really? That’s all there is to say about a continent-wide major event like the All-Africa Day of Service?

    For context, my monthly Tribune column is 650 words; I have difficulty trimming a story to fit into that space and still hold any drama. But apparently complex gospel topics can be fully explored in less space.

    This comment comes in at 154 words – about one third of the typical Ensign article. Really.

  22. Deborah on December 29, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    The biggest primary change = no more class-run sharing times. Teachers everywhere rejoice! Presidencies scramble to fill the time.

  23. Julie M. Smith on December 29, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    Deborah, I didn’t know that. I think it is a good development; my sense is that the class-led times were not usually that great, probably because it takes a little trial and error to figure out what works.

  24. jjohnsen on December 29, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    “The biggest primary change = no more class-run sharing times. Teachers everywhere rejoice! Presidencies scramble to fill the time.”

    Woohoo, the one week a year I always dread.

  25. Deborah on December 29, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    The new (and improved!) sharing time outline notes: “Occasionally you may invite teachers and their classes to help you with parts of the gospel instruction.” This should up the quality of sharing times, frankly. Oh, and they emphasize that these lessons should be ONLY 15 minutes and include some music where possible.

  26. queuno on December 29, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    I was told that it was because it inflates the sac. mtg. attendance and therefore the ward budget.

    Unless they’ve changed this as well, March, June, September, and December are the months where attendance is reported to SLC (and thus can influence budget numbers).

    And yes, it inflates SM attendance in our ward by as much as 30%.

  27. makakona on December 29, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    interesting. my beef with primary is how the classes are segregated by age. i have one daughter with a december 27th birthday and one who was born december 28th. the oldest one is six months younger than the next youngest kid in her class, but has four kids two months younger than her the next class down. she is a grade behind everyone else in her class and has more in common (especially in terms of maturity!) with the class below her.

    i am a convert who joined the church when i was 16, but had already graduated from four years of high school. if i was raised in the church, would i really have been expected to stay in yw for two extra years? (as it was, because i was emancipated from my parents and was in all other ways an adult, i was baptized into a singles ward and permitted to attend there.). i know age cut-offs for school vary regionally and situations like mine open cans of worms, but it’s my primary pet peeve.

    has anyone ever bumped their child down a class? how did that work out for you? i’m worried about anything that might be a problem down the road.

  28. Left Field on December 29, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    So the st-st-stuttering has something to do with some song, then?

    I don’t know that I’d count changing the number as really changing the name of the class. It’s not like we’re going back to CTR Pilots, Top Pilots, Blazers, Trekkers, and Guides.

    I loved the Ensign back in the late ’70s when they had Lavina Fielding Anderson. Some real meaty stuff. And great covers. All the covers now look alike. They’ve adopted the Watchtower aesthetic.

  29. Chris Henrichsen on December 29, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Left Field,

    Here you go:

  30. Chris Henrichsen on December 29, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Oh, it delete my embedded youtube video.

    Here is the link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8v486aUYu0

    I would love more David Bowie at church. Ardis, can you use your connections on this one?

  31. Ardis Parshall on December 29, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    Uh, yeah, Chris. That is one very special “special musical number,” all right. I’ll bring it up the next time the Brethren solicit my counsel!

  32. Kent Larsen on December 29, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Didn’t we forget to include in the list above the addition of a “mission” (or whatever it is) so that now the Church has 4 missions instead of 3?

  33. Chris Henrichsen on December 29, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Ardis, thanks. Good to have friends in important places.

    Kent, how quickly we forget.

  34. sscenter on December 29, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    It is so funny to listen to people be offended over trying to maximize ward budgets. I am the financial clerk and every year I have have the auxiliaries begging us for a little extra for their budget. I bet they would love to have us manipulate numbers and get a few more dollars for them.

  35. nita on December 29, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    Marvelous summaries of new changes!

    here is a local change: I don’t know about your areas of the nation and the world but recently our area (DC) has a new mission meal policy. Maybe this topic is an ever changing thing. But now, twice a week, members may host the missionaries in their home. Prior to that, they could only have the missionaries if they had a nonmember present OR if it was between 4-5PM. So folks are happy!! (and for us singles, we still must just do food drop-offs)

  36. LDS lady on December 30, 2009 at 12:06 am

    All these changes strike me as the really superficial things you do when you change the font and a word here or there on a paper–when really some of us are hoping for substantial draft revision as far as content (YW manuals, new English translation of the KJV, new temple movie), layout (Sunday School/two hour block, paying tithing online), etc. Really, new YW charm necklaces and pink covers on the Personal Progress books? A major talk to introduce the moniker “RS meetings” instead of “Enrichment”? (And I’m sure all of those pretty trivial changes required lots and lots of meetings to approve!)

  37. Rameumptom on December 30, 2009 at 11:59 am

    I would really like to see the Church reduce its centralization. Just like with the CHI, let’s have SLC give us general guidelines and perhaps a few manuals (the current ones REALLY aren’t that great. No, they really aren’t!) to work with, and then let stake presidents and bishops guide their flocks on what they need locally.

    The current manuals are so basic that they really don’t need to be pushed down hard by SLC. I’ve gotta figure out how to teach tithing to high priests, and make it a learning experience for them. And do it without introducing outside books and stuff. Can we please allow a little bit of the Spirit to enter into the classrooms via the bishops and teachers involved?

    I think the name change from Enrichment…., to Relief Society Meeting makes tons of sense. Once again, it is proof that some people in SLC have too much time on their hands, and should just give basic guidance and allow the Spirit to work in the local wards.

  38. kew on December 30, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    makakona- I started attending RS right after I turned 17. I graduated HS the week after my 17th birthday, and my mom was YW president, so I did not want to be in YW anymore.

    LDS Lady- Excellently put! Thank you!

  39. Raymond Takashi Swenson on December 30, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    On the comparison of Young Women program developments and the relatively unchanging Scouting program: I have always thought that one aspect of Scouting that has value is the merit badge and rank program that requires learning things about society, science, and skills. While it is often pretty superficial, when done properly it is a way for a scout to be challenged to learn things he would not necessarily pick up in ordinary education and living.

    Why wouldn’t it be just as valuable for young women to learn First Aid, since they are often baby sitters and will be responsible for their own children? How about Swimming and Lifesaving? Actual camping skills (you need knowledge as much as stuff in your 72-hour emergency kit)? I am sure that young women whose parents are both into camping will pick up a lot of this stuff (which will be the case with one of my granddaughters, who has three brothers and a mom who loves camping and the outdoors), but there is surely much the same value in young women learning the same survival and emergency skills that boys learn as Scouts. The same could be said for the social skills that are promoted by other merit badges, such as public speaking and citizenship in the community.

    When we read scriptures about the Last Days, they are full of warmings about dire circumstances. We are counseled to prepare for emergencies, whether financial or natural disasters. We re-enact Pioneer experiences in the outdoors, but do we teach something beyond how tiring it is to pull a handcart over rough ground?

    It seemed to me that Scouting was a program that sought to teach values in the context of physical challenges. Lord Baden-Powell founded the program because of the lack of mental preparation for difficulties that he found among soldiers. If we are teaching virtues to young women, why not use some of the same opportunities created by challenges to master new skills and gain self-confidence and an attitude of preparation for contingencies?

  40. Ardis Parshall on December 30, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    RTS, that’s pretty much how the Beehive program started in 1915, with spiritual elements filling out the practical, temporal ones. They “filled cells” rather than earning merit badges, and all their iconography was based around the life of the bee, but the week-to-week program was really Scouting-plus-Duty-to-God in skirts. It always looks so fun to me as I go through those old materials and see photos of the girls in action. I don’t know when or why the program devolved to what it was when I was in MIA/AP-YWMIA/YW (or why the program had to change every year or two, for that matter, so that I could never finish the booklets/earn the medallions/complete the program, and had to keep starting over with a new system to be abandoned before I could complete it).

  41. Left Field on December 30, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I was pretty much on track in the early ’70s when BSA completely revamped their requirements. If you started on the old program, they gave you one year to complete your Eagle with the old requirements. Otherwise, you had to basically start over with the new Tenderfoot requirements. I wasn’t far enough along to complete my Eagle in one year, but I was too far along to go back and start over with Tenderfoot. I stalled out as a Star Scout.

  42. Larrin on December 30, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    LDS lady – Amen!

  43. Cameron Nielsen on December 31, 2009 at 3:47 am

    I’m all for making things more concise, simple, and practical. Seems like the Preach My Gospel practical/flexible approach is gradually seeping into other organizational areas. I don’t have a problem with the Ensign refresh, either. Most of the Savior’s sermons weren’t that long, but they were quite a powerful combination of profound and concise. Plus, it further streamlines Liahona stuff, no?

  44. KirkC on December 31, 2009 at 8:17 am

    #4, 21 Ardis

    That information about the Church magizines is very strange. 50 word articles? I guess people want to skip substance and get to the bare facts.

    Maybe they found nobody likes to read longer articles? Not saying that’s a good reason, but it’s the only one I can think of.

  45. Jessica Young on December 31, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Most disheartening change (in my opinion): no more visiting teaching groups. President Beck put the kibosh on them during the Sept 09 general RS meeting when she said “Because visiting teaching focuses on individual sisters, Relief Society leaders do not organize women into groups for the purpose of visiting teaching.”

    I still miss my ward of four years ago that assigned sisters into very small groups. (usually 3 sisters) I heard only good things about it from other women in the ward.

    Can we play “Taps” instead of Bowie’s “Changes” song?

    Now I’m just waiting for (dreading) the day that a general primary presidency leader puts the kibosh on nursery aged toddlers playing in the gym to stretch their legs and break up the 2 hours. You all know it’s coming don’t you?

  46. troubled soul on December 31, 2009 at 10:26 am

    All superficial. Wake me up when they dump the remaining stuff that only had meaning to early Masonic saints. After never going back after my marriage, I gave the temple a second chance in the early 90s, but was still left empty and lapse back to inactivity. I’ll give it a third try if I hear about real change. Saddest thing is raising my kids (2 now grown, two at home) w/o the church because I remember so much good there from my youth, but I can’t lie about how the temple destroyed my faith.

  47. sscenter on December 31, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    I am not sure why so much of this sounds like complaining. I find that my church experience is whatever I want it to be. I use whatever translation of the Bible I want to (my ipod currently has eight translations), study whatever books and subjects I want to, fulfill my callings however I want to. I find that what I do on Sunday is mainly about the sacrament and fulfilling my spiritual need for righteous association. After all these years I really love the people that I worship with. Who cares if the lesson material is familiar? I figure the technical changes are just to keep things flowing.

    I think that some people mistake their desire for change as a mandate for others. Moving to the Preach my Gospel format of missionary work was a very major change, but now we want something new and we want it now. Better it seems to see how the change is working, what might need to be adjusted again and then move on to other areas. I like the slow nature of the church when it comes to radical change.

    Troubled Soul, if I read your post right, it seems that you only went to the temple on two occasions. If that is not true I apologize for misunderstanding. If it is true though, personally I have found great meaning in the symbolism of the temple but it takes many visits and a closeness to the spirit to appreciate and begin to understand it. It would just seem that two visits, apparently years apart and none in the last fifteen years would really not be adequate to judge the validity of any experience.

  48. queuno on December 31, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Regarding the comment on less centralization … there are a great many things in the Church that are improved by centralization. In our effort to retain local control, let’s not get rid of the centralized things that work well…

    I went to a branch last week with one of the worst GD lessons I have ever been forced to sit through. I gave thanks anew for a standardized curriculum.

  49. Ardis Parshall on December 31, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    I suppose this isn’t the place for you to spell it out, queuno, but somewhere I’d love to read about that worst lesson. Superlatives are always worth learning about.

  50. makakona on January 4, 2010 at 2:13 am

    sure enough, NO ONE knew what i was talking about and i was summarily dismissed. they bought in only AFTER the primary secretary and ward clerk spent the second hour manually editing rosters. “ctr4? there’s no ctr4! oh… wait…” they changed all of the classes and had copied and collated the rosters in triplicate before the light bulb came on.

    also? i’m going to scream if anyone else asks me if i’m sure my two year old isn’t three and doesn’t belong in sunbeams.

  51. Stephanie on January 4, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I like all of the changes.

  52. Rebecca J. Carlson on January 5, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    AHHH!

    I am primary president, and we didn’t notice the class number change until they printed out our new rolls for us this year. Now I have to reprint all the teacher binder covers, all the classroom door signs, all the class lists. Maybe we’ll just ignore it and deal with it next year?

  53. Tom on January 12, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    All I hate to break it to you but for some time the Church has been corporate. These seeming arbitrary changes are just indicative of the institutional stupidity of a corporate structured organization.