“Relief Society Curriculum Changes,” Ensign, Aug. 1986, 75
The 1987 Relief Society course of study, Learn of Me, will differ from previous manuals, having new lesson categories and a new lesson format, no visiting teaching messages, and a smaller size.
The new manual will contain twice as many Spiritual Living lessons as before, with two scheduled monthly. Mother Education, a previous category, has been broadened to Home and Family Education. The Social Relations and Compassionate Service areas have been combined. And the Cultural Refinement category has been eliminated. Home Management lessons, taught during the monthly homemaking meeting, are included in the manual, with an emphasis on personal and family preparedness. The manual also contains supplemental lessons on topics of current concern, including pornography, abortion, and drug abuse.
The fifty lessons may be given in the sequence listed or, at the discretion of ward or branch leaders, may be adjusted to fit local conference schedules and special needs. The number of teachers will be determined by the bishop and Relief Society president to fit the varying sizes of local units and number of women available to teach.
Beginning in January 1987, visiting teaching messages will appear in the Ensign and international magazines instead of in the Relief Society manual. January 1987 issues of the Church magazines will carry an overview and suggestions for presentation. Next year’s theme for visiting teaching messages will center on personal and family preparedness, to augment the Home Management lessons.
Several of the lessons in the Relief Society study guide are addresses by members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, giving sisters the opportunity to study these inspired messages in depth. The Teacher’s Guide gives instructions for adapting lessons from the talks and suggestions for class participation. Instructors are encouraged to adapt the lessons to the needs of their sisters—their cultures, circumstances, and ages.
Cultural arts and additional parenting lessons—as well as other topics of interest—may be the subject of optional midweek enrichment meetings. (See Relief Society Handbook, p. 4.)
The smaller size of the manual, similar to that of the Melchizedek Priesthood manual, is to make it more convenient and to encourage its use as a personal study guide and companion to the scriptures. The cover features “Mary and Martha,” a painting of Jesus Christ teaching the two sisters, by Del Parson.
The 1987 course of study focuses on teaching the threefold mission of the Church—strengthening members, redeeming the dead, sharing the gospel with the world—and the four-part mission of Relief Society—increasing individual faith, strengthening families, engaging in compassionate service, and sustaining the priesthood.