“Improving Gospel Understanding through Study and Discussion,” Ensign, Feb. 1999, 72
In late 1997 the First Presidency announced that Melchizedek Priesthood brethren and Relief Society sisters would have a parallel schedule for curriculum and instruction. This parallel schedule was designed to improve gospel understanding by encouraging gospel study and discussion in family settings as well as in Sunday services.
To achieve these purposes, it is important that the Melchizedek Priesthood groups in each ward or branch discuss the same lesson topics as the Relief Society classes on the second, third, and fourth Sundays of each month. Stake presidencies and bishoprics should coordinate the lesson topics discussed.
On the second and third Sundays, instructors should focus discussion on the principles and doctrines taught by President Brigham Young in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young—rather than bringing in outside materials. The text provided in the manual, accompanied by the scriptures, is sufficient for instruction. Questions at the end of each lesson encourage thoughtful contemplation, personal application, and meaningful discussion of President Young’s teachings. Members should refer to and carefully read President Young’s words on the gospel doctrines and principles being discussed. The publication of Brigham Young’s teachings reflects the desire of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to deepen the doctrinal understanding of Church members and to awaken within them a greater desire to know the things of God. This manual and others that will follow in a series will be significant additions to each home library.
On the fourth Sunday, instructors should choose only from the resources designated in Teachings for Our Time. These resources are adequate for the topic being discussed.
Members are encouraged to discuss these Sunday lessons in their homes following the classroom instruction. As we reflect together on the doctrines and principles addressed in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young and in Teachings for Our Time, gospel understanding will increase and we will be inspired to greater dedication and spirituality.