Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday School Answer

Timmy Before All The Therapy

I used to dread the Sunday School Answer as a Gospel Doctrine Teacher in my ward. They were inevitable. They could be used upon which to set ones watch, however un-original.

Question: How could Timmy have avoided this dangerous situation in the first place?

SS Answer: He could have read his scriptures, gone to church regularly and kept a prayer in his heart. And payed his tithing.

Me the teacher: Yes thank you. All Good answers. Also, he probably should have not gone into the freakin' bar in the first place.

The longer I teach, the longer I try to be a good parent, the longer my goal is to live the gospel, the more I am learning to appreciate the Sunday School Answer.

As a people, we want a good Sunday School answer to fix our problem. We want to know what the blanket answer to our dilemma is. We ache to pull all situations into one tight little space that can be covered by “Live the Gospel, or “Love the Lord” or even “Read the Scriptures”. There is certainty in knowing the Sunday School Answer.

The trouble is that we don't believe them. We hear the story of Timmy and the Really Bad Decision and we think, if only his girlfriend had not worn that tube top it would have all ended up right. Or if Timmy's parents had just given him the truck in the first place then he would never been in a place to refuse to pay child support and he would not be in jail now. Somehow, "Read Your Scriptures" doesn't seem to cover poor Timmy and his dilemma and by the same token, we don't really believe it will cover us.

So we go on spouting the SSA - not that one – so we can get a good grade in Sunday School class (?), or so we can look good, or sound good, or just because it comes natural to us. And then we go home and want to know what to do. We continue to look for a real answer to our everyday questions.

There is a reason Sunday School Answers come easy in a classroom situation. Reason one is the ease of looking at life through the one way mirror into the observation room. Easy to fix someone elses problems from a safe distance. Just ask me. I know what your problem is from here.

Two is that the answers are repeated over and over until we can recite them in our sleep – which has happened in my class.

Three is that life is simpler than we make it. I go to the bishop in pain and guilt and he says to pray. Are you kidding me? Prayer is not going to solve my hugely personal and complex challenge. Prayer may fix Timmy's problem, but mine is more complicated and intricate.

Yes, it is complicated and intricate.
Now it is. It may not have been so if I had tried a Sunday School Answer before the lab blew-up and the police showed up. Even now, a suggestion to focus on others instead of lamenting my life may do the trick. Maybe listening to the promptings of the spirit will assist me now to weave my way out of trouble. Maybe instruction to stop eating excessively, seeing a doctor and exercising more would be just the ticket to losing weight. Not popular, true. Many a dollar has been made on the marshmallow and Honduran avocado diets of the moment. Fad diets feed our need to be unique.

Of course there are times - plenty of them - where more help is needed. And don't I know it. And just as there is more to a weight problem or a truly troubling trial, many times we are able to deal with given troubles by following the old and sage - right down to watching what we eat. Or exercising. Or prayerfully considering. Or asking the lord, reading your scriptures and/or focusing on others instead of ourselves.

And, for heavens sake Timmy, stay out of the bar.


  1. I like to read this blog because I know what your agenda is - I know where you are going and what you are trying to accomplish. It is hard to find support for homosexuality from the right, which I think you are. How out are you in your ward?

  2. I think that sometimes the most simple is the best. I understand this, which is why I will keep reading.

  3. I fall into the catagory of wanting to know why? to the point of madness. I, like Church before me, am understanding the nature of simple. Thank you for this blog. Many take away. This gives.

  4. Timmy after the therapy? Who paies for the therapy. Is it my tithing money? Why does he look so happy?