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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced its curricula for attendees in 2016. The Church News describes this as for “members,” but come on. A Freudian slip. You shall not be barred from class participation if not on the records of the Church.

I’ve been following this one closely for one very particular reason – Sunday School Bonanza. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Sunday School Bonanza (SSB) is our 15-ish minute Gospel Doctrine podcast that we started years ago as a supplement to the student manuals that no one reads. We figured maybe listening to a quick podcast on the way to church would do some good and help provide more robust lessons.

SSB’s role has expanded a bit since then, as we know teachers use it to prepare their lessons, and some listen to it when they can’t attend meetings for whatever reason. And seriously, it warms our hearts when we get an email from a Sunday school teacher in a small branch in Bulgaria that uses the show to help with class. Seriously, that happened.

But a few things have happened in recent years to make us wonder about the future course for SSB. In the April 2014 General Conference, Tad R. Callister was released from his calling within the Presidency of the Seventy and became the General Sunday School President. About a year ago he went on record saying that Gospel Doctrine was going to be revamped in the same style as the online-only, discussion-focused Young Women/Young Men lessons, which have been a huge improvement over years past and would make a logical next step for Gospel Doctrine.

We didn’t figure this change would come immediately, thus allowing our New Testament series of episodes to run unopposed. But with 18 months to develop new stuff and the Book of Mormon lessons looming on the horizon, we thought the change would come in 2016 and we’d miss an opportunity to turn back around on our old Book of Mormon episodes because new curriculum would replace it. Alas.

It appears that next year’s Gospel Doctrine classes will center on the same ol’ Book of Mormon manual as in years past. This is especially good for us at Sunday School Bonanza because it means I never have to give up extra evening again to record! Recycling! OK, unless we realize the episodes are peppered with timely references to the Mitt Romney campaign, Costa Concordia, the return of a Putin regime, and Skyfall and need to readjust.

Either way, the chance for new discussions even around the same guidelines is great, and we hope you take the time to make your second hour worthwhile.

But enough of our own hubris. Here’s the 2016 curriculum, courtesy of Church News.

Sunday School

Adults

  • Book of Mormon Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual
  • Book of Mormon Class Member Study Guide

New Members, Investigators, et al

  • Gospel Principles

Youth

  • Come, Follow Me

Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society

  • Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter

Young Women/Young Men

Theme:

“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:20; emphasis added).

Primary

  • The usual
  • Where the Wild Things Are