Monday, July 14, 2008

Sunday School

I really struggled with the lesson in Gospel Doctrine yesterday. I don't exactly consider myself a scriptorian or anything, and the guy who teaches the class teaches institute at the U, so he probably knows the scripture a little better than I do. I just really disagreed with his interpretation of the message in the section we were discussing.
We were talking about Ammon, and his mission. A story I know and love. The teacher asked the class to list characteristics of Ammon, and listed them on the board. People said things like courageous, obedient, humble, strong, name a few.
Then we opened up to Alma, to a few scriptures where Ammon is describing how he feels about himself. The teacher listed these things on the other side of the board. Among those on the list were words like nothing, weak, depressed...

Then he went on to his main theme of the entire lesson that in order to achieve the good things on the left side of the board, then we need to view ourselves as those things on the right side of the board. Basically he said that Heavenly Father wants us to view ourselves in that way, that we are just empty vessels to be used as instruments for God's work.
Don't get me wrong...I totally get where he was going with it. But I just don't agree. Maybe I'm the one who's wrong, because no one else in the room seemed to be as deeply disturbed by it as I was.
At one point in the lesson, I raised my hand and said what I was thinking. That the Lord doesn't want us to think we are nothing, that it is Satan who tells us that we are worthless, and that we just need to acknowledge God's hand in all the good the we have in us.
The teacher then, actually rebuked me, using King Benjamin as an example, who called his congregation "worthless."
After that I kept my mouth shut, but kept stewing anyway through the whole lesson.

As someone who has struggled with depression my whole life, and who is somewhat overcoming it (yeah, it's a work in progess), I just can't see how a loving Father in Heaven would desire his children to feel that low about themselves. There is a huge, HUGE difference between being depressed and having NO self esteem, and being HUMBLE. HUGE!

Am I just so way off base here? Is the Spirit so gone from me that I can't grasp this concept?
Does anyone else see it my way?


Angela said...

Oh boy...
I would have to agree with your point-of-view. Like you, I can see what he was trying to say, but I think he took it too far. Especially in how he reacted to your comments. It drives me nuts when any teacher in the church uses his/her position to try to prove their own views - we are supposed to teach the curriculum as it is written... and I'm pretty sure that teachers aren't told to teach us how meaningless they think we are, even if that is their personal view and they can twist scriptures to "prove" the point.

We should not view ourselves as all of those things, because we all have divine nature and God has an individual plan for each of us! Sure we have a long way to go, but we are of infinite worth!

Anyway, I really could go on and on... my point is that I know what you mean! Sometimes, I am grateful I get to teach Primary where we focus on the basics.

NICHOLS said...

WOW!! I would have had a hard time in that class. I do believe we need to be humble, thats why we get humbled through our trials. But to think of ourselves as nothing is a little too much for me. How can we do anything for anyone else if we don't believe we are something! In YW, I remember trying to make the YW feel so needed and beautiful and on and on and the same in Primary. But whatever dude!! I'm proud that you even raised your hand! I never have done that and may never. Good Job.

Anonymous said...

I am TOTALLY with you on this one. Like the previous comments, I seriously do not think that our Heavenly Father wants us to feel worthless or meaningless. We do have divine nature which means that we have the same qualities as our Father in Heaven. He wants us to be happy in this life. Sometimes that's hard. But knowing that our Heavenly Father loves us and knows us individually he can help us.

You are right on target, Sher! Love ya!!

Elizabeth said...

I totally agree with you. Good for you for saying something. I'm sure others in the class felt the same way, and were glad to hear your comment. :)

Peggy said...

I'm in agreeance with you too. There is a huge difference between humility and thinking you are worthless. And Satan is the one who tries to make us feel like crap, not our Heavenly Father. He's our Father, after all! Good for you, for saying something in class!

Clean Cut said...

Ouch. Sorry about the rebuke. I'm with you on this one too. (The Sunday School post title caught my attention because I've had similar experiences in Gospel Doctrine).