“How does a person know which Sunday School class to attend?” Ensign, Dec. 1975, 40
Joe J. Christensen, second counselor in the general Sunday School presidency, and associate commissioner of Church Education responsible for seminaries and institutes of religion
The basic Sunday School course of study for adults is the Gospel Doctrine course. This is a stimulating, on-going, eight-year curriculum based on the standard works of the Church. The Gospel Doctrine class in a ward may be divided into several groups, depending upon the number of adults and the availability of qualified teachers and classrooms.
In addition to the Gospel Doctrine class, three other adult courses are offered: Gospel Essentials, Family Relations, and Genealogy. These are twelve-week optional courses designed to supplement the Gospel Doctrine course and meet specific individual needs of investigators, parents, and other adult members. (Teacher Development Basic Course, a class for the training of present and prospective teachers, may also be conducted during Sunday School time.)
It should be emphasized that these courses are temporary options only. It is intended that participants who are recommended for these classes attend for the specified twelve weeks and then return to the Gospel Doctrine class. The optional courses, intentionally limited to small groups of students at a time for the sake of increased effectiveness, are offered as often as necessary to meet the needs of the ward. Since we consider the Gospel Doctrine course to be the mainstream of the adult Sunday School, these might be considered twelve-week diversions to obtain specific training, after which the participants would be returned to the mainstream.
It is not the intent that any of these optional courses be taught as ongoing classes to compete with the Gospel Doctrine class. After twelve weeks, new groups of participants are formed and the course work repeated; therefore, it would be a duplication of instruction for a student to continue to attend beyond the twelve-week period.
It is the desire of the General Authorities that we all become serious students of the scriptures, and for this reason we are counseled to attend the Gospel Doctrine class and complete the eight-year curriculum based on the standard works. President Kimball has also stressed the importance of each member bringing the standard works to all Church meetings.
Which class should you attend? The Gospel Doctrine class, except for those twelve-week intervals when you are a member of one of the optional courses.